Shopping woes: 'The 'lucky draw' cost us 1 lakh!'
Shopping is supposed to be fun, but for these folks it turned out to be anything but!
We recently carried the tale of a reader's unpleasant shopping experience and invited you to write in with yours. Here is the next set of responses!
First up is Shwetha Pawar's story:
Last October, I received a call from a person named Mohammed Noor, saying I had won a gift voucher worth 25K in a lucky draw at Bangalore Central shopping mall. He asked me to collect the gift next day, so I went with my husband and found out that we would have to attend a 30-minute presentation by Country Vacations, a division of the Country Club, after which I would receive my gift.
We were willing and so a lady named Vasantha and one Praveen kumar started briefing us about the membership. Upon a payment of Rs 1 lakh, they told us, we would receive:
- A lifetime membership of the Country Club.
- Free couples' flight tickets to either Goa or Kerala.
- A free two-week vacation at any Country Club across India every year -- we would just have to book our stay.
As we wanted a club membership and were planning a vacation at the time, we thought it a good deal and paid up. That's when our nightmare started.
It has been four months now and we still haven't received our membership card. Whenever we try to book our vacation, they tell us it is full, even though we're doing so a month in advance. The customer service is third class. No one answers our phone calls and on the rare occasions that they do, they are rude. We are tired of calling and even visited the office several times, asking them to refund our money. They are backtracking on all the promises they made at the time of the presentation and are not ready to return it. It was no help talking to the Country Vacations management either -- they're all involved in the fraud.
Country Vacations Bangalore is a fraudulent company and it has played with both our hard-earned money and the sentiments of our family.
Next we have two tales from Jitendra Thakkar of Nagpur:
I have had two very bad shopping experiences. The first was with the Planet M store in Chhapru Nagar, Nagpur, from where I purchased a Videocon DVD player in December 2009. The model was VAD 11, which was said to be compatible with both MP4 and MPEG formats.
After two months, I got to know that it did not support the formats I wanted, so I lodged a complaint with Videocon Customer Services. They sent across a technician, who examined the player, said that a particular software would have to be installed and then failed to return.
So we contacted Videocon Customer Services again, only to be told that the complaint had been resolved by the technician's visit! We had to register another complaint, after which the same thing repeated itself -- another technician came, checked the player, told us another software was needed and didn't return.
After lots of follow-ups, a replacement was approved, but not a single player that supported the formats was available at Planet M. When we asked for a refund of our money, the store manager told us it was not possible. So we appoached the area manager, who told they would check the player using one of my MP4 DVDs and assured us that the problem would be resolved. The only response we got after that was when they informed us that the DVD was pirated -- nothing further.
The onsumer forum process is too lengthy and time-consuming, hence there have been no results.
This experience has put me off the Planet M store and the Videocon brand and I am sure I will never purchase anything
from them ever again.
The second incident involved Jaimal TVS in Nagpur, from where I purchased a TVS Scooty Pep in July 2009.
We were carrying out proper, regular servicing and maintenance as per the instruction booklet, but the battery was exhausted within 16 months, when it should have lasted for two to three years.
When I approached Jaimal TVS, they said that since the one-year guarantee was over, they coludn't help me. I also approached TVS, but they diverted the compaint back to Jaimal TVS and so my efforts were in vain -- there was no result.
I finally had to purchase another battery costing Rs 1,100.
And here is Sanjay Singh Rawat's tale of woe:
I purchased a Nokia E5 cellphone from eBay on November 21, 2010. Based on the price I was paying for it, they had a scheme running wherein I was entitled to receive a free Micromax Q1 mobile along with my purchase. So while placing my order, I also entered the code for my free gift.
I received the mobile I purchased from an eBay vendor in good time, but as per the offer, the free gift was being provided by eBay. I still haven't received it, though. I have shot a number of mails to their support and even chatted with their online customer support guys. They keep giving me a new date, with some excuse for the delay -- they keep promising the issue will be sorted out, but it's been two months now and I still haven't received the Micromax Q1.
I trusted eBay, as I thought it's a reputed online shopping portal, but these offers just seem to be a fraudulent way of promoting their sales. I am still waiting to see what will happen on the next date they gave me, January 25.
Have you ever been misled by any store? Or, had a bad customer service experience? Write in to us about your worst shopping experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: 'My shopping nightmare') and we'll publish your entries right here.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh