Thursday, July 12, 2012

An Online Shopper's Guide – Part 4: Dealing with One-off Cases

This is the final part of this guide and I am going to cover some rare case scenarios related to online shopping. This will make you all the more strong and confident, and help you shed all your fears related to shopping online.

Wrong item shipped:

While receiving your order and opening it is as exciting is opening your birthday gift, please be sure NOT TO tear off the packing carelessly. I will explain later, why. The courier will not wait for you to open it and check. All good sites send your order in sturdy packaging with tapes all over the cardboard box. Just slit open the tapes and make sure the courier receipt and the bill pasted there do not get teared.

In a rare case, if you find that a wrong item has been shipped to you, do not panic. Inform customer care immediately through email/phone/live chat. They will tell you what to do. The process is explained in the shipping and return policy of every website, but good businesses may go out of their way to make it a happy experience for you and fix this without causing you much trouble.

Sometimes customer is asked to ship back the item and the company reimburses the courier cost at Rs 100 or a fraction of the item cost, whichever lower. Most good businesses arrange for a reverse pickup. If the reverse pickup turns out costlier for the company, they may just send you another shipment with the correct item and will not ask to send back the first one.

If the correct item is not available with the company, they will refund your money. Refunds take some 10-15 days to process and is a lengthy procedure, so just be patient. Some companies offer you shopping coupons for the same amount instead of money. If that does not suit you, REFUSE and insist for your money.  Money is returned by the same payment method that you used to pay. Just make sure to read all the policies before making your purchase. The reason I keep harping on and is because of their excellent treatment of customers in such rare cases.

Always insist that the company arranges a reverse pickup, since this is not your fault. This is a little lengthy process so you need to be patient.

If an item needs to be sent back, you actually need to send it back in the original packing, with the original bill and all the tags. This is why you should be careful when opening the order package.

Another variation of item received:

Sometimes you may think that a wrong item has been shipped to you but actually that is not the case. This happens mostly in the case of buying clothes or toys, where you need to choose the ‘Size’ for adult clothes, ‘Age’ for kids clothes and ‘Type or Variation’ for kids’ toys. In case of toys, sometimes it is clearly specified that this item comes in so and so colors and the one which is available will be sent to you. You cannot choose in that case. Businesses like have an instruction box during the checkout process, where you can mention which one do you want, in case the selection option does not show up with the item. If they do not have that color available, they will call/email you to tell you about it.

If selection options are not clear on the website, first email/contact customer care with the item code and check how to go about it. From personal experience, the response time is really good even for the worst online businesses. Everybody wants sales, so they reply to you promptly in cases where you are facing problem placing the order.

Damaged Item Received:

When the courier brings your package, if the box looks badly damaged or torn open and repacked, DO NOT accept it. Make the courier guy wait and call customer care immediately. They will tell you what to do.

Similarly, if the box was fine, but after the courier guy left, you opened and found that an item is broken or damaged, shoot an email to customer care. If possible attach a picture of the item. Even if you contact them on phone, make sure to send an email as well. Sending an email will be written ‘Proof’ that you must have to safeguard your interests as a customer.

Expired item received:

Take clear pictures of the label showing the dates and shoot an email immediately. The company should send you a replacement order immediately or should offer you a refund. Again, this is a lengthy process, so be patient. If you do not get timely responses from a business in such cases, keep following up promptly and leave feedback on Facebook page to let others know. Save all emails for record.

Can’t Track Order:

Almost all online businesses send you an email/SMS or both, with the courier name and tracking code for your order. If you do not receive an email within 24 hours, contact customer care with your order number. does not send you tracking details. When you are logged in, you can put your order number in a box there and can track it.

Many times, courier companies do not update the order details at all and many times they even enter wrong details like ‘order cancelled’, or ‘incorrect destination, reshipped’ etc. Don’t panic. Just email/call customer care and they will help you track it. I face this almost every time I order from goodlife or medplusbeauty and every time it turns out to be courier’s fault.

Order Lost in Transit:

I have faced this the only time I shopped from an international site. In a rare case, if you do not receive your order in the expected time frame and later the business tells you that your order was lost by the courier company, it is the business’s responsibility to send you another order or give you your money back. Most times, companies would only offer shopping coupon for the same amount or a replacement of the same order. A good business may still agree to return your money.

I have covered every rare scenario that comes to my mind. If you think something is left out, or have experienced other cases, do let me know in the comments below. It will help make others’ shopping experience better.
I have given examples only on online shopping websites from India, because that’s where I mainly shop from. But all the cases covered apply to all international shoppers too.

I would also love to hear from you your good/bad/exceptional shopping experience(s) with these or any other online businesses. Please leave your valuable comments.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be visible once I approve them manually.

Anonymous comments will not be answered. So either use a profile or the Name/URL option to comment (can leave the URL box blank).

In Google Chrome, you can tick mark the 'Notify Me' box in the bottom right to get notified when I reply to your comment.