Online shopping in India.

GV Rama Rao By GV Rama Rao, 12th Dec 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Business>Ethics

Today is "The Great Online Shopping Festival." There is much hype about online shopping, but Iin India, the customer is not the king but a victim.

A word about myself.

Before I narrate my horrid experience of online shopping in India, I would like to invite readers to my website I am 73, a retired naval officer and a ship captain of the Mercantile Marine. During my service in the Navy, I was operated on my spinal cord by a well qualified surgeon who had botched it up and left me with little control over my lower limbs. I had been fighting a constant battle for several years to keep my lower limbs functional but slowly yielding ground. Today, I cannot walk without the aid of a stroller which helps my balance. I am also a writer of sorts, with three books, several articles and short stories published to my credit.

The Machine.

When I noticed an advertisement for a CRAZY FIT MASSAGE machine in TVteleshopping site, I found an opportunity to keep myself fit without taking the trouble of going to a gym. I had paid Rs 14,990 for it online on 9th July and ordered the machine. TVteleshopping had promptly sent the machine to Viskahaptnam through a reputed courier. I was extremely happy when I saw the parcel on my doorstep on 14th July. The story should have ended happily at that moment. Instead, my harrowing tale started.

Start of my troubles.

The parcel, a gunny bag with hay inside and in tatters looked pathetic and showed that neither the packer nor the transporter took adequate care of it. The courier staff, finding something amiss, opened the parcel and found the machine in a broken condition. They, therefore, took the machine back without delivering it to me.
When I reported the matter to TVteleshopping, they promptly acknowledged my complaint, assigned a complaint number and assured that my complaint would be attended to within three days. Unfortunately, they did not keep their word.
Here, the response of the call center people of TVteleshopping merits mention. When I repeatedly complained about the lack of response, they would keep my call on hold for long and disconnect. Whenever, I wanted to speak to someone higher up in their hierarchy, I was invariably told they were all busy in a meeting. Their behaviour on the chat line in their website confirmed to the same pattern.
After a fortnight, one of the executives told me that the machine was delivered as per his records, and he was not duty bound to take further action.

Journey of the machine.

I then contacted the courier people, on my own initiative, and found to my horror the machine was lying in Visakhapatnam Godown of the courier unattended to and with no instructions for its disposal. Here, it would not be wrong to presume the courier should have informed the supplier the item was not delivered and asked for further instructions. No such action was taken.
I then went, from pillar to post, contacting several people in the courier hierarchy, and to my surprise, everyone, disowned any responsibility for the inaction and said it was not his concern. One young executive even told me to stuff my complaint wherever I pleased. After repeated emails and phone calls, the courier people finally agreed to return the machine to the supplier.
Here again, they delayed the execution and moved the machine at a snail’s pace from Visakhapatnam to New Delhi with a halt at Hyderabad for a fortnight. Finally, it reached New Delhi but not the supplier’s office.

Attitude in India.

TVteleshopping, the supplier, never thought it fit to check (a) the veracity of my complaint (b) the status of the machine and (c) proof of delivery from the courier agency. Instead, they presumed the machine was delivered and stonewalled my complaints. They had the temerity to tell me to go to the police, consumer court or any place of my choice.
The last leg of the return journey of the machine from the courier office to TVteleshopping, both in New Delhi, took another ten days only after repeated emails and phone calls from me. The machine, which arrived at Viskahapatnam on 14th July, finally returned to TVTelshopping on 30th Aug i.e., after one and half months.
TVteleshopping even after receiving the machine kept denying the receipt and refused to refund my money.

Pressure alone works in India.

Meanwhile, I moved heaven and earth and contacted my several friends at Bangalore, Hyderabad and New Delhi. Finally, when one senior bureaucrat in a high position at New Delhi contacted, the Managing Director of TVteleshopping condescended to refund the money minus the courier charges. When I protested, he, as is the wont of the company, promptly cut off the connection and refused to talk to me thereafter.
Finally, not due to my efforts but due to pressure from a higher authority, TVTeleshopping had dispatched me a cheque for Rs 12,270 deducting the courier charges.


Since the machine reached Visakhapatnam in a broken condition, it stands to logic that either the supplier sent a broken machine or(b) the courier people damaged it in transit. However, in India, It is the customer who is screwed (a rather crude but apt word) for the damage.
I have been demanding TVteleshopping to sort this matter with the courier service and not to penalize me. But my complaint is meeting the same fate as of my earlier ones.
I intended to pursue this matter relentlessly in all fora and Consumer Courts not for my sake but for the sake of several consumers getting cheated by the online marketing comapnies and courier services. Unfortunately, I could not pursue the matter as my wife’s health took a tun for the worse, and she passed away on 9th Nov.

Ethics and pratices in India.

Some distinct points about the attitude of the staff of the supplier and the courier.
1. They do not answer phone calls most of the time.
2. They block some numbers, particularly of the complainants. I had to use different telephones to get their attention.
3. They reply to the emails only after repeated phone calls. My emails to the Directors customer care in the head Office and three regions are still to be responded. My registered letter to the Director Customer care center South had been ignored the same way.
4. The staff at every echelon of both these organizations, in general, is indifferent, brusque and often rude.
5. In India, nothing works unless some bigwig with authority lifts his telephone and demands an answer.
Now, coming to the curious case of the courier service, their acts of omission and commission beggar belief. Although their website says, “their business model is based on social causes and a strong value system,” I did not find any evidence of it.
According to their website, their Guru, “is known for his simplicity, humble nature, caring attitude, wisdom, intelligence along with experience and stamina that is hard to match,” but the staff hardly show any of these qualities.

I for one, will never buy online from TVteleshopping, nor will I send any parcel through DTDC couriers, in my life.


Attitude, Attitudes, Care, Couriers, Customer, Customer Care, Customer Feedback, Customer Service, Deliverer, Delivery, Delivery Problem, Ethics, Ethics In Business, India, Indians, Logic, Logical, Logical Sequence, Logical Thinking, Online Business, Online Marketing, Online Shopping, Sales, Sales And Marketing, Salespeople

Meet the author

author avatar GV Rama Rao
I am a retired naval officer and a published author with three books to my credit. I am a winner of nanowrimo competition for 2008,9, &10. I like humor best..

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
12th Dec 2012 (#)

Really made to run from pillar to post. Looks like only the start of a marathon that requires immense stamina! I can understand your pain GVR having been taken for a real ride, merry go around except it has caused only heart-aches - siva

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
22nd Dec 2012 (#)

Thanks Siva for your comment. I am still mourning and will rejoin here soon.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
20th Dec 2012 (#)

so sorry this had to happen to you GVR..makes us wary to order on the net...peace, healing and blessings to you

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
22nd Dec 2012 (#)

My dear crwriter,
Thanks for your comment and blessings.

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
7th Jan 2013 (#)

Great development so far India has been achieved. I wish Bangladesh would do the same very shortly. Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
9th Jan 2013 (#)

Md Karim,
Thanks for your comment.

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author avatar Ptrikha
20th Feb 2013 (#)

I too have faced apathy of some companies at times. In once case, it was an email I wrote to a very high up person in that company which helped.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
20th Aug 2014 (#)

I will start by saying I'm so sorry for the loss of your wife. This was truly a terrible experience for you. Thank you for sharing what happened to you because I will definitely think twice or maybe three times before ever buying from India. I feel so sorry for all the people that have been taken advantage of. This is plain and simply not right.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
22nd Aug 2014 (#)

My dear Nancy,
Thanx for your visit and comment. Don't trust them too much.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
22nd Aug 2014 (#)

I welcome your review and I certainly won't trust them at all.

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