Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Flipkart Scam: How to sell an item you dont possess!

I pre-ordered a Xiomi 10400mAh Powerbank (hereinafter referred to as 'the item' or 'the product') on 23rd August. The price (Rs 999) was paid upfront. At that time it was displayed that the item will be released in the last week of August. Even though 12 days have passed since 'the last week of August', I haven't, yet, received any information from Flipkart regarding possible release date or shipment date of the Product. So I got little curious and decided to do some digging around. Here are the findings:

In the product page, the item is shown as "Out of stock". See for yourself. This indicates that the item has already been released.

In the product review page, there are some reviews posted by "Certified Buyers". As per Flipkart, "The Certified Buyer badge indicates that the user has purchased the this product on". One such review is by a customer who has received the item latest by September 1st (as indicated by date of review). The Screenshot is given below. From the review, it is clear that the item was indeed released in the last week of August as announced earlier by Flipkart. 

If some customers have got the item, naturally the item has been released. So I checked my "Order Status". But curiously, in the order status page it is still shown as "will ship once released" indicating that the product has not yet been released. Since information given in the Product Page and Product Review page indicate that the item has been released, it is safe to assume that Flipkart is just playing dumb by flashing such a message in the order status page.

What does all this mean? Here is my conclusion:
Flipkart began to accept pre-Orders for the product by mid August and like the Xiomi Mi3 mobile phone, this item also had a heavy demand. So they over booked the item with full knowledge that they cant deliver the item for everyone who has ordered. When they received the first lot, some time in the last week of August, they shipped to customers who have pre-ordered on First Come, First Serve basis. For the remaining pre-ordered, pre-paid customers, Flipkart continue to flash the message "will ship once released" message. In short, Flipkart is scamming customers by making them pay for a product which they know they cant deliver on date promised. Failure to deliver the item sold as per mutually accepted terms is a violation of Sale of Goods Act and as such accepting order without ensuring supply is simply Unethical. 

I contacted the customer care and when asked about possible delivery date, the rep kept repeating that the product is currently out of stock. The agent was unable to give even an estimated delivery item. As far as the Customer Care is concerned, they dont have any information regarding when the item will be 'back in stock'.

Since the call didnt give me the answer I wanted, I sen an email explaining the anomalies and attaching the screenshots on 08-09-12 at 1915hrs for which I got following reply at 1920hrs on the same day. So far, nobody has contacted me as promised in the following 'professionally correct' worded reply.
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was a 'Flipkart Fist' user (my subscription ended a couple of days back) and if this is the response they give for shelling out Rs 500 for a year, I want to know how many people will be renewing the subscription.

I have had a satisfactory relationship with Flipkart for the last couple of years. But a single incident like this begs me to reconsider my loyalties and the current e-Commerce scene in India does offer some better alternatives in terms of Customer Service.

Update: 17-09-14 12:30 PM
After messaging through Facebook & Twitter, couple of e-Mails and 9 days later, Finally today morning I received an e-Mail reply from Flipkart assuring that the item will be shipped within September 22nd. The Product Page still list the item as 'Out Of Stock'. So I am guessing they are expecting a fresh consignment within the next 2-3 days.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014