rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Getahead » New to shopping online? Beware of these traps

New to shopping online? Beware of these traps

Last updated on: September 18, 2012 11:11 IST

New to shopping online? Beware of these traps

     Next

Next
Noopur Runjhun, Akosha.com

E-commerce is the latest catchword in Indian consumers' world. Online shopping is a phenomenon that is fast catching up with the masses. And why not? It is fast, convenient and most importantly, cheap. With heavy discounts, attractive schemes and offers, online shopping is evidently the best bet for the rapidly emerging net savvy generation of Indian consumers.

We have nothing against online shopping as a concept. As a matter of fact, we love it. In an ideal world, it is by far the most consumer-friendly system that has emerged in the recent times. Unfortunately, 'ideal world' here is the operative phrase, completely inapplicable to the part of the world that we live in.

Undoubtedly, we as a country have evolved and it is only because of this remarkable progress that we have witnessed the emergence of e-commerce in India. However, we are still evolving and in this transient state, not all systems in the country are sufficiently equipped to ensure a smooth consumer experience when it comes to online shopping.

Our legal system does not have enough safeguards or systems in place to address issues like identity theft, unfair credit charges and other such problems which are essential ancillary issues that are associated with online shopping.

In such prevailing circumstances, caution is a consumer's best safeguard. While we understand that it is not a practically viable solution to completely do away with online transactions, it is always advisable to the consumers to exercise additional caution with online transactions.

Based on the numerous complaints that land on Akosha's desk every week, we have listed below a couple of most common and/or outrageous issues that are faced by consumers with respect to online shopping.



Tags:

     Next

New to shopping online? Beware of these traps

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

What you see is not what you get

My mother inevitably refuses to buy stuff for me in my absence. 'Try before you buy' is an age old piece of shopping common sense that has been completely done away with by the online shopping phenomenon. And unfortunately, it is not always for the best. The delivered product being different from the one displayed on the web site is the one of the most common complaints that we get when it comes to online shopping.

The issues range from substantial variation in physical appearance to delivery of product that is of a different size then ordered. In one of the extreme instances, a complainant who approached us had ordered a Nikon Coolpix but the portal delivered him a Nikon L23, a completely different product.

A lot of complaints also involve delivery of defective/broken products.

The consumers at large can take heart in the fact that this happens with consumers across the globe and is a necessary evil that may or may not befall on you depending on how lucky (or unlucky) you are. What an average consumer can do is to exercise utmost caution, buy only from portals that generally have a good reputation (user reviews though not always fair, still give you a good idea of the general reputation) and read the policies of the portal carefully before ordering.




Prev     Next

New to shopping online? Beware of these traps

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Unfair refund and replacement policies

Unfair as it may sound, most online shopping portals tend to charge the consumers even for the issues that arise solely at their end. The charge is not direct but the consumers are supposed to bear the cost of shipping the defective product back if they want a refund or replacement. It is almost like a double whammy for a consumer already harassed by wrong delivery of products.

In cases of refund, quite a lot of portals have an unreasonably long duration in which they process the refund, if at all. As a harassed consumer rightly pointed out, in the times of online money transfer, where a consumer can pay the portal in a couple of minutes, the portal needing 7 to 21 days to refund that very amount is beyond any logical justification.

As we mentioned before, delivery of wrong/defective product is an inevitable fallout of a concept that has done away with physical trial or testing products before finally buying them, a lot of trouble can be avoided if you study the refund/replacement policy of the shopping portal in question carefully before deciding to buy anything from them.

Avoid portals that have too complicated or long winding refund procedure. Also, take note of the fact of who is responsible for paying the shipping cost when the product is returned. While this may not be viable at all times, as far as possible try and choose a portal that does not impose the shipping charges of returning a product on the consumer.

The consumers should also pay close attention to the time span required by the portal to not only deliver your order but also process the refund/replacement if such an instance arises.



Tags:

Prev     Next

New to shopping online? Beware of these traps

Prev     More
Prev

More

Promotional scheme alert!

Promotional schemes and attractive discounts are one of the biggest attractions of online shopping. And undoubtedly, more often than not, the best deals are available online. But consumers need to be vary of schemes that seem too good to be true. As happened with one of the consumers who filed his complaint with Akosha.

A prominent online shooping portal offered him diamonds worth Rs 30,000 for half their price. Too good to be true but the consumer fell for it. When the diamonds arrived, the consumer figured that they were not even worth Rs 1,000.

The consumer in question eventually succeeded in getting a refund and compensation through a consumer forum. But not all of us are that lucky or persistent. It is best for an average consumer to let a dream scheme be just that -- a dream scheme.

It is not our intent to scare the consumers away from online shopping. As we mentioned before, we love it as a concept. But what we do intend to highlight through this list is the number of issues that are inherent in the system which may surface anytime to haunt the consumers. All that consumers are required to do is to exercise a little more caution than an average shopper, read and understand the relevant policies and do a background check for the portal's reputation before taking the plunge.

Most importantly, as far as possible, opt for cash on delivery. That is one sure shot way of retaining control and ensuring that your grievances, whether about a late delivery or wrong one, are redressed. This way, even if the grievance is not redressed, the financial hassle is conveniently avoided.



Tags: Akosha

Prev     More