I have been a supporter of eCommerce. I still am. However, some loopholes in our system are leading to disasters. I remember when I was about to start my eCommerce company in 2012, one of my mentors had told me that in India many vendors tend to cheat customers. This tendency didn’t affect the end customer because eCommerce marketplaces took the hit and offered no question asked return and refund.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. After acquisition of majority stake in big eCommerce platforms, the foreign investors are now forcing Indian eCommerce companies to reduce the losses and make money. As a result, their return / refund policies have changed. Now companies like Myntra don’t want to take the responsibility of delivering wrong products. They also don’t fear the law because the experience has taught them that most of the customers who are being cheated don’t take legal action. Very few who take such action would either win the case or lose. If the customer wins the case, there would be a small fine to the company.
In a country like India where public systems are already overwhelmed, and millions of court cases are pending, it is rare and time consuming to get justice. Learning this truth, companies like Myntra have become thick skinned and started refusing any valid return / refund requests of the customers. This is about to give birth to a wide scale eCommerce scam in which slowly and over the period millions of Indians will collectively lose billions of rupees.
The government agencies must take a closer look at this situation and close this loophole in the eCommerce business model. One of the solutions could be – making it mandatory for eCommerce companies to take confirmation from the customer at the time of delivery about delivering the right product. Further customer should still have the freedom to raise return / refund request if they are not satisfied with the product quality.
Hope the changing and ugly face of Indian eCommerce doesn’t kill the spirit and customers don’t lose their trust in eCommerce.