10 days of GST: GST systems working, but Retailers and Brands not fully ready
- • Supplies not affected as much as initially anticipated by experts
- • Post GST, 9% consumers report lower grocery bills, 22% report an increase
11 July, 2017, New Delhi: The introduction of GST has been one of the biggest reforms in the Indian taxation system. Post 1st July 2017, retailers have had to make quite a few changes to their billing system to comply with the new norms. This has led to confusion in billing above MRPs and others challenges. Many consumers reported on LocalCircles’ Connected Consumers circle that they were being charged above the MRP by some retailers and also uploaded the bills of the purchase as proof. As a result the issue was caught early by the Department of Consumer Affairs and legal metrology inspectors are now in the field creating awareness and taking actions as necessary.
LocalCircles has conducted multiple polls to ascertain the introduction of GST and its affect on consumers. In the first poll, consumers were asked about change in grocery bills post GST as taxes on most grocery items have gone down. Only 9% consumers said that their bill has reduced. Around 31% said their grocery bill has not reduced so far and 22% said their bill had actually increased. 38% were not sure about it. A total of 9,012 votes were received on this poll. It is possible that items where prices have reduced GST are selling at old MRPs while items where GST has led to price increases are being passed to the consumer. Also, some of it may be due to the fact that recalibration in the retail billing software to account for a lower GST is not complete.
The second poll received 9,201 votes, around 22% consumers reported a deterioration in the supply of packaged goods post GST. 71% said the supply is same as before and 7% said it has improved in some cases. This means that only a minor disruption has happened so far in the supply chain of packaged goods.
The third poll asked consumers if the availability of medicines was affected in their area since July 1st. Of the 9,254 responses received, 14% replied saying they were unabble to find quite a few medicines in their area whereas 24% said they were able to find most of the medicines.26% said they were able to find all the medicines that were needed and 36% were not sure about it. Consumers have also reported that medical store have seen a shortage in supply of medicines from the distributors in the last week.
The fourth poll asked if after sale, AMC and related services from vendors had been impacted post GST coming into effect. In response? 23% consumers reported delay in receiving services due to delay in billing where as 40% said there was no impact. 9% said there was no delay in receiving services but a delay in billing and 28% were not sure about it. 8,871 consumers voted on this. Consumers have reported that several companies contacted by them for after sale service took the service request but citing GST for much longer than usual processing times. Consumers have reported that companies like Samsung have been taking 5-6 days to attend to service calls which would typically be addressed in 1-2 days.
In a separate LocalCircles poll of 8800 consumers conducted last week (enclosed below), 31% said have been charged GST over and above the MRP of the product. 23% said they were charged MRP only. 20% said they were charged GST above the discounted price and 26% had made receipt-less purchases or no purchases. Many consumers had shared receipts and an analysis by LocalCircles indicates that while in some cases GST is being charged above MRP or discounted prices, in many cases, the detailed information of tax charged in the invoices is also leading to consumer confusion. Many consumers are thinking that GST has been charged above the MRP but in reality it is just the tax break down and the final invoice amount is sum of all MRPs.