My Ecommerce Experience

I'm an online guy, working in Sulekha.com. And an avid ecommerce shopper. I have shopped from most of the sites in India - Flipkart, Letsbuy, eBay, Makemytrip, Cleartrip, Homeshop18, Fashnvia, Timtara, Infibeam - almost everything. And this is my story of how I lost Rs.5000 with Timtara.com, how I got screwed up by eBay and why I wonder company like Homeshop18.com couldn't even handle a simple change of address request for a one-year magazine subscription.

First Timtara. I bought two original softwares (my friends do tease me for this) - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Basic to Home Premium Anytime Upgrade & Microsoft Office 2010 Home and Student from Timtara.com spending Rs.5050, along with a discount coupon. The order was made on 12th of March, 2012. And today, the date is 5th of May, 2012, and I haven't received my products yet. The worst part is, everyday am trying to reach their customer care but either the call doesn't go through or even if the call goes - nobody picks up. I have been doing this routinely for almost everyday now and till now I was never ever able to reach anybody in Timtara.com. Being an online guy, and feeling cheated, I approached Vakilsearch.com to prepare a legal complaint against Timtara and have mailed to them with no response from their end. Now a days, am afraid to do online shopping - Thanks to Timtara.com, they have scared even an online guy itself.

Second is eBay. I bought a 19.5" LED Viewsonic Monitor from eBay and got it delivered correctly. The product was not working. I called the eBay seller and he asked me to route the complaint through eBay. So I called and lodged an issue. Then the seller called to tell that I should lodge a complaint with Viewsonic (the manufacturer) as well which I did. The service rep from Viewsonic came and said the Product I got was DOA (Dead on Arrival) and asked if am ok to go for a replacement which Viewsonic will provide. Since I bought from eBay, I thought eBay Guarantee Program will safeguard my purchase and hence I said no to the service guy and called the seller again. The seller asked me to call eBay and check the process with them directly. I again called eBay and they said they will get in touch with me shortly. I waited for almost 30 days, though I did call eBay in between but nobody spoke whats the procedure for replacement. Then I said I wanna go for refund and not replacement because I have wasted enough time to put up with this. Then one claims rep from eBay called and told that refund will not be given because this is a Manufacture Warranty item. All my dealings should have been with the manufacturer and eBay is not responsible for this. I said fine, but why was I not informed about this for 30 days? Have I been informed, I would have gone with replacement with Viewsonic directly. And when I finish asking my questions, the eBay guy has kept the call already. No care, no empathy, nothing.

Third Homeshop18. I have a one year magazine subscription bought from HS18 last October. Last month I shifted my home and hence called their customer care for a change of address request. They said I have to mail the details to books@homeshop18.com. And so I did. The reply I got was shocking. It said I have to buy a new subscription with new address and then the magazine will be delivered to new address properly. I replied asking why I have to buy a new subscription and what happens to old one. Then I got a mail saying: "Please ignore our previous mail. We deal only with books, for magazines you have to call our customer care". What a joke. I got that email id from customer care only. 15 days on - and still my new address is not updated and I already lost this month issue with my old address.

Though I have mentioned only the bad experiences - there are lots of good one also with Flipkart, Letsbuy and Infibeam. But the point I want to make is - ecommerce is a growing this and companies like these makes the growth miserable. There should be a strong way to tackle bad things happening and safe guard the consumer. Even today, I don't know how am going to recover the money I lost with Timtara.com and after that what happened - I started ordering Cash On Delivery, which I don't want to do. But I have no other choice if I want to protect my hard earned money.

I would appreciate any kind of help from this forum in recovering the lost money as well as teaching a lesson for companies like these.  

Comments

  • Dear Prasanna

       Thanks for sharing your experiences over here . and from my side

    1) Regarding timtara.com  file up a case in consumer court with all proofs you are having, see not only you few more consumers also faced the same problem with timtara. the way you wanted to tell this to all is to help others to be away from timtara right ? then rather than typing and leaving the concept file up a case, get that shit close down so that other eCommerce players rethink of there strategies.. if its your hard earned money get that shit to court, get your refund

    2) Regarding Ebay, see all eCommerce players are mediators. they get the product from manufacturers for some low cost add there margin and put it in website. once order generates they will inform the manufacturer and get that product shipped in time.. My Recommendation for costly products go to nearest store, touch and feel the product and then buy it because if any repair comes down the nearest store or nearest service person will take care with out time waste

    3) Regarding Address change in HS. all companies do maintain a standard core customer support. thats the reason most of the problems wont reach the right person in time.

    My Suggestion.. Use COD option otherwise buy from nearest store if that product is some what high cost one. see Time is Money.  and if a eCommerce company wastes your time get that shit to court. see the problem is not only with you. if consumers are united we can see only few good players playing around and that really helps for good shopping

    Thanks

    Sai
  • Hey, 

    I totally agree with Sai. You should always use an COD option.! Its the safest bet you can ever make. Please talk a lot about COD being bad for e-commerce companies but its the best option to make sure that the goods you are receiving are the right ones and in perfect condition. 

    I have bought over 300 products online. ALL of them via C.O.D and guess what there were about 15 failures. The website showed the product was available, but after about 15 days i get a mail telling that it was not available with any of their vendors. So, what lesson did i learn? I learnt that, i didnt have to put myself under deep trouble by purchasing goods using online payment. I didn't have to undergo the head ache of asking them to re-imburse my money etc. 


  • Let me share some of my experiences regarding online services. :)

    1) FlipKart - Some times back my room mate ordered a book from FlipKart using C.O.D. The book arrived. Printing of 1-2 pages were not good. So my friend complained. Another book arrived. But they didn't take back the old book. Now we have one book for free. :)

    2) PayTm - Once I tried to recharge through PayTm of Rs 100/- . Recharge failed but the amount was deducted from my account. I complained about it. And after 2 months they returned the amount. But for my surprise they sent me another Rs100/- after few day. :)

    3) EBay - Once I listed 3 items on ebay. Two of them get sold. I received payment for 1 item and the other item went missing due to ebay's technical error. I reported them. But they were unable to rectify it. Hell happened when they kept sending me invoice for Seller's fee of unsold Item. I reported them numerously but they were unable to rectify it. I told them that I will pay fees only for the sold item not for the missing item, until you guys rectify the error I won't pay the fees. And they didn't do anything. Till now they are sending me the same invoice. Who is gonna pay huh. They have banned my account. Okay! No problem. I am not interested with ebay anymore.


    Can anybody tell me now who is the ultimate loser here..:)
  • hi prasanna,

    expecting homeshop to update your changed address seems unreasonable. why did you not approach the magazine publisher. after all, the magazine is mailed by the publisher directly to you.

    i wonder why you refused viewsonic offer to replace the monitor. that would have solved the issue.
  • The main problem comes with communication. see basically if we take Samsung product for example.

    1)  if you buy it from online, if any problem with it you have to call the eCommerce company, they will tell you to contact Samsung company its what happened with prasanna .

    2) if the same product you buy from nearest store, give the bad product back to store, either the store will or the store suggest you the nearest Samsung service point, get the problem solved by company. it saves time and money


      funny thing is that from shoe socks to big big articles we can buy them online. in my view its a bad signal for future generation. people will lost of feeling of touching the product, put that product in hand view it, feel it, ask questions with sales boy, buy it and get a receipt.. its secured feeling that you came and you spent some time and you finally buy it.. 

     Lots of problems out there created by us and we only suffer with those problems be it waste management, be it pollution.. be it any thing other than virtual.  we wont concentrate on it because we vote for waste people who loot our money and taxes

    Finally last word .. i wont say that all people do face problem with eCommerce companies. but do come outside, virtual life is not the life and we have to protect the next coming generations to practice it.

    Thanks

    Sai




  • Prasanna - Expecting HomeShop18 to update address for your magazine subscription may not be the right expectation . If you had taken the subscription from an offline store , would you have approached the offline store or magazine office for updating the address. Same is the case with ebay. When you buy anything from an online store , most  stores give a dead on arrival warranty and ask customer to return the product if there is any issue with in 2-3 days. However after that if a customer experience any problem then the store will ask them to contact brand store, the same practice if followed in offline stores as well.  The model of online ecommerce is in such a way that returns will take  time and as the customer is in a state of angst and the processes are not well defined it accentuates the problem.

    It seems there is a tendency to blame online shopping sites for any issue that occurs even because of a genuine malfunctioning of a product  which should be handled by a brand. You can also check an article by a moron here who does a similar blame of Yebhi 2 http://asiancorrespondent.com/76142/the-dark-side-of-ecommerce-in-india-my-tryst-with-yebhi-com/ where he should have contacted samsung instead of yebhi.

    Just my two cents :) .

  • In the long run, the e-commerce that would succeed in India would be customer-focused. The ones that have the attitude of "how I can help customer out of this problem" rather that "finding out whose problem is this".

    The suggestions above that e-commerce companies are just mediators or it's an online world are just insane. Why would a shopper want to understand your side of business, he is just a shopper!  
    The e-commerce has to provide better experience than an offline physical store to build its market - you don't have a physical store to even start the trust building, build it up on out of the way customer "care".
  • My Straight Question : how many eCommerce Companies providing the right customer " Care "  ?

    Who is Shopper ?  Us  or We or Some Aliens ?

    Better Experience in ?  UI?  Service ? Logistics ? Customer Care ?

    Time Taken to Solve Problem ?  Immediate !  week time!  month time!  Money refund if any thing late!

    My Point is Don't act as copycats, Create Some thing Unique, Provide the best service you can

    This is what Prasanna Quoted in his last sentence

    "Though I have mentioned only the bad experiences - there are lots of
    good one also with Flipkart, Letsbuy and Infibeam. But the point I want
    to make is - ecommerce is a growing this and companies like these makes
    the growth miserable. There should be a strong way to tackle bad things
    happening and safe guard the consumer."

      So to get this solved drag the shit to court and get that shit closed. at least we can play with good players for long time. Other than this the next option is offline shopping, get outside, take fresh air, visit nearest store view the new products, discuss with them if you wanna buy buy it other wise wont buy

      if you order a bulk item like big TV or some refrigerator from a Town, will it will be possible to deliver that item to a town without damage?  with the help of bsnl one can buy any thing online either from cosmopolitan city, metro city, normal city, corporation, municipality  or town  through online with some SBI debit or credit card .  will that eCommerce player can deliver that product with out damage and with in time .

      So buying, waiting, getting the product if good luck good mode otherwise damage product. then customer care, then product support otherwise refund. will this going to solve the main problem rather than this visiting a nearest store and getting the product you love is better?

    Thanks

    Sai


  • E commerce is like a coin, it has advantages as well as disadvantages, so we have to be careful while we do online shopping ie we only have to take the better side and not fall into the fault side.    
  • Thanks for this really amazing and worthwhile experience shared with us regarding the e-commerce, i m really impressed and looking forward to it as it one of the important part for online shopping, will you please explain more details regarding palypal accounts and paying with credit cards.
  • well  in case you think you want to press ahead a legal battle and still don't want to do all the dirty work (like going thru legal search engines) try Akosha. They help resolve your complaints with companies and they file complaints in consumer forum for you. Try it, it may work.

    It is paid though.
  • As e-commerce business really booming and becoming popular all over the world, many investors are entering in it, i think this is the best option for business development, please give me more detailed information regarding starting the online business.

    http://www.ergode.com
  • Hi,
        Worst shopping experience is really pathetic.Yet,these are a few exceptional circumstances we will have to encounter.
        I would like to say,users shopping in flipcart and buytheprice can really have good shopping experience.

    Thanks.

  • The reason I am commenting here is because, I've been part of the core team of a leading eCommerce company, for their product development, marketing & customer UI.

    To begin with,I am not an e-Shoppaholic still I have my own views on it.

    Question is not whether we should buy online or through shop ( if we remove the travel tickets, the current e-commerce is negligible compared to unorganized retail in India )  , nor it is about the online payment or COD ( it is completely up to you to make that decision, it is a feature offered by the site ).

    It is about way anybody is running their business. 

    1. Do they have smooth processes for clearing customer requests at fast pace. Be it order processing, delivering or post sale queries.

    2. Is the company sensitive towards its market image?

    3. Are they changing with times by following customer's feedback?

    4. Are they correcting or repeating their mistakes made in the past?

    You are the customer and you should be happy since you have so many options to chose from.

    If you do not like any shop, go to the next one. Stop blaiming the experience.  

     

  • My e commerce experience is quite good because i save money  buy using online coupons and offers which i think i will never get in physical shopping.
  • Well, My experience includes impressive list of sites like Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong and Homeshop18.

    Also some negative experience like Timtara

    Latest Homeshop18 Coupons
  • edited February 2013
    We agree with Gregory, that coupons and offers make the online shopping worthwhile, as often the cheapest items are online, if you research them properly.

    In our opinion, as E-commerce players become more mature, and focus on repeat customers, you would start seeing customer care becoming more important and a key differentiator.

  • I had a really bad experience with indiatimes shopping.com I ordered a mobile phone in August 2012 but they delivered a blue tooth handset. When I complained, they said it is their policy to first collect back the delivered product and then replace it. I said you should disclose this to the customer while purchasing. But still i said fine. The courier guy who is supposed to collect the product tells me that he will come only between 7 and 8 pm since he has other jobs to do. I said hell with you. And complained with india times shopping. they agreed that it was the courier guy's mistake.

    Till now, it is almost 6 months since they have not delivered the product. Many of my friends have resorted similar incidents with india times shopping.
    But on the other side, many people had great experience with flipkart.com

  • Hi Prasanna,

    To get your refund you can file up a complaint in consumer forum adn also COD is the only best and safe options while buying products online.
  • I agree with gregorypeter! Coupons are great to save money. Last time I tried Couponia.in, a quite new portal but nice. but you can find loads of discount coupons by googling. very easy and helps saving money. anyway, online shopping is great to save time as well...and it's simply too comfy! Never had any bad experiences with that.
  • As a deal and coupon focused site,  we often order products from a broad variety of e-commerce shops, for our own use or marketing purposes. We also have had our share of issues - missing item in packaging, faulty products.  At times the customer support isn't the best, and some companies have restrictive policies like return in 72 hours. 

    What we have found is that persistence pays in resolving these issues. A social media post, a tweet, or a follow up with a senior officer at the company, we have been able to resolve most issues. 
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