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Dubious sellers are banking on flipkart's loophole
30 days ago 3153 Views
(Updated 30 days ago)

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Hi folks!


Here's an online shopping experience which left me with a bitter taste. This is regarding a purchase I made in the just concluded Flipkart's Diwali festival sale period. This scenario is not limited to just sale period though. It can happen even otherwise but the sale period seems to be the most conducive period for unscrupulous sellers for disposing off their defective merchandise. Because the benefits like cash-backs offered during these period serve as "sweet bait" and "too hard" to resist!


To begin with, I was looking for a particular model of a voltage stabilizer "VGuard VGX 400" which I couldn't find anywhere else other than Flipkart. Otherwise my first choice would be Amazon.


Luckily on Flipkart, I found four of its listings. But the confusing part about these listings was that each of them were posted by the SAME seller who goes by the title "DKFOREVER". All four of them were of the exact SAME model and SAME color with no mention of their individual status which causes me to assume that they must all be "NEW". However, two of them were assured by Flipkart and two were not. The assured ones were priced considerably higher compared to their non-assured counterparts. Another difference I noticed was that each of them were listed with a slightly modified title heading, which I believe may be an attempt by seller to make it appear that they are from different sellers!


Why would a seller do that? I tried to contact the seller but unfortunately Flipkart doesn't have such provision in place. This has even been confirmed by Flipkart's senior customer service managers. Keep this in mind:


FLIPKART DOESN'T HAVE A PROVISION FOR A BUYER TO CONTACT SELLER!


Now, here's the catch. At a first glance for someone who's looking at the product's listing, it gives an impression that all four of them could be from different sellers! And as the human nature has it, we tend to pick the cheapest one just as I did. The reason I did that is because I thought even if I had ordered higher priced ones, I may end up getting the same product regardless because the seller is same across all four listings!


But right from the point I clicked "Buy", I have been doubting that there must be something not-so-right with the low priced ones like they might have been damaged / refurbished / used / returned or something like that.


Not-for nothing! As suspected, the item I received turned out to be a defective and a used one. There were signs of physical damage on the metal casing - the rear of the metal chassis was recessed slightly into the frame and the corner was clearly seen to be dented. Even the power cord was chipped a little to make it appear that it was an UNUSED one. All these tell tale signs suggest that the product was a used one and that it either must have suffered a severe fall or got pounded badly. This for me, is not acceptable. I immediately requested a replacement.


The story doesn't end here. The item was rescheduled for pickup four times! Every time, the pickup was scheduled, the pick up person would cite some inappropriate reason like "mismatch" and by doing so, it would render the replacement request cancelled. No wonder why Flipkart calls them "wish-masters"! Everything happens at their whim and wish! This pickup guy whose name is "KRANTHI" was somewhat reckless in his attitude. The first time he came to my place, he told me that he could not accommodate the item in his vehicle. At other times, he skipped the pickup altogether without a reason and would close the process citing the aforementioned reason! I raised complaints against him with Flipkart. I don't know if they ever bother to take action against him.


What this implies is that if you don't notice this on time and don't take any action during the stipulated 10-day return period, like re-initiating the replacement / refund request, the status stands cancelled and you get to keep the item with you.


My question is who on earth authorized a pickup guy to cancel the replacement request without actually visiting the premises where the pickup is scheduled? This is clearly a loophole in the logistics operations. No online retailer should allow this to happen. Ultimately it is the customer who will lose.


After speaking to numerous executives and some senior ones, at last, I was told that the seller did not have another piece for replacement and that I didn't have any option but to seek refund. At the behest of the senior executive who passed on this information, I sought refund.


But what happened in the end? I lost out on other potential purchases which could have offered me equally impressive discounts. When I raised this point with senior managers, they said that they couldn't help it as the Diwali festival offer had already concluded.


So, to summarize, I was trying in vain to get a replacement for over a week all to hear that the replacement wasn't possible and lost out on the 10% cashback had I bought a similar item elsewhere.


Folks, enough of these festival offers. In reality, there are NO FREE LUNCHES and THERE CANNOT BE SOMETHING FOR NOTHING or SOMETHING THAT IS CHEAP AND BEST.


Even I had availed better offers in the past but the pricing was reasonable. This is not for the first time I'm shopping from Flipkart either. I've been purchasing items online since 2007. A good many of them were also from China, Singapore & US. I've also imported items by paying duties. I'm telling you all this to establish that I'm not new to online purchases.


Next time when you spot a listing with unusually low price, suspect that it could be defective.


So, Flipkart has become a conducive platform for dubious sellers especially during the festival sales period. I urge customers not to be penny wise and pound foolish; we safeguard and count pennies while pounds slip away from pockets - just like that! Be a cautious buyer.


PS: I even intimated a senior customer service manager from Flipkart in my last communication with him/her that I would be posting this review on mouthshut.com.


Thank you all,


Regards,


Hemanth.


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