Shopping woes: 'The diamond ring racket!'
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 Bangalore-based Kiran Kumar's story:
I would like to share the experience I had with BagItToday.com of the India Today Group. I received an offer to purchase books along with Numero Uno goggles worth Rs 800, inclusive of courier charges and I would receive one diamond ring worth Rs 5,000 along with the package.
I received the books and the goggles, but no ring. For the special gift offer ie the diamond ring, I was given some 'unique number' and I was supposed to log it into the website to redeem the gift. Every time I tried, I got an error message stating, 'The unique number is invalid'.
Upon calling the customer care continuously for almost 15 days, my unique number was activated and when I was finally able to enter it, I received a holiday package worth Rs 5,000, not the ring. There were too many conditions and regulations I would have had to adhere to if I wanted to utilise it and moreover, it was not the gift offer I received.
I would like to highlight that their call centre service is the worst and these people don't know how to deal with customers. Don't fall for these online offers. I thought BagItToday.com was reputable, but they cheated me.
Next we have this experience from Nitin Raj Gupta:
I set out to buy a modem cum Wi-Fi router and I found two-three products at the Reliance Digital store on Cunningham Road in Bangalore. I was confused as to which to pick and was also concerned whether they were just routers or had inbuilt modems too. A salesman told me that one had an inbuilt modem. I was still not sure and wanted to check on the web, but he assured me that he was right and in case I found out otherwise, I could get it replaced. So I purchased it at a discount for Rs 2,199 -- the MRP was Rs 2,400.
When I tried to install it at home, I found that it required an external modem. I was very upset and angry with the salesman. The next day, I went to exchange the product but I could not find him. Other salespeople told me that the product could not be exchanged as the packaging was opened.
A lady standing near the modem section then approached and told me that she was the only one who handled that department and that if I had purchased it from there, she must have told me straight away that the model purchased did not have an inbuilt modem. I was shocked to hear this and told her that she wasn't there the day before, but she ignored that.
Finally my router was not exchanged and I had to buy a modem from a shop in Marathalli. To my utter shock, the same router that I had purchased for Rs 2,199 was available there for just Rs 1,550. I have vowed never to buy anything from Reliance Digital again. They simply inflate the prices and lure customers by giving fake discounts.
And here is Chandrasekhar Nandigama's tale of woe:
Recently, I purchased a two-wheeler, the Honda CB Twister, from a local dealer called Prassana Honda in Coimbatore, TN. The whole shopping experience can simply be termed 'my worst woe'.
The sales people doesn't have any knowledge of the product, its features, sales tactics, financing rules or anything else when it comes to their dealing processes. It took me three weeks to to buy the product from them and in the end I was very dissatisfied. Initially, I opted for financing from HDFC through the dealer itself -- the sales lady couldn't explain the whole process of financing, like the hidden charges, installment amounts, loan tenure etc. Every time I went to the dealer, the financing rules changed -- no standard process at all. The hidden charges came to around Rs 7,000, which is simply looting. One of the charges was for Rs 1,500 and when I asked her what it was for, she couldn't even tell me. That's the level of professionalism that dealer has.
Finally, I decided to pay the whole amount in one go and at the last minute they said I had to pay more for notary charges, accessories, registration etc -- this after we had negotiated the deal to include everything within the price agreed upon. I refused to pay and finally agreed to only notary charges. No respect for customers at all.
After all the hassles, I took delivery of the vehicle. No temporary registration number, no invoice, no manual etc -- nothing was given to me along with it! It contained 0 litres of petrol. And it was supposed to be brand new, but it was dusty, with tree leaves stuck on it -- very dirty. I refused to take the vehicle and categorically told them I was buying a new vehicle, not a used one. Apparently, they store new vehicles under a tree -- they don't have a garage for them.
The vehicle worked well for four days and then on the morning of the fifth day, a Saturday, it just wouldn't start. I got so pissed off, as all my weekend plans had to be shelved. On Monday, I took the vehicle to the same dealer service centre and initially they didn't have a clue what was wrong. They dilly-dallied and then finally told me that some wire did not have enough contact with the ignition and repaired it. I was so angry that my new vehicle, which was less than one week old, had such a problem!
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