: Tall claims, bitter realities

This is for all tech savvies who like to shop online, my personal experience with who claim themselves to be the “finest virtual supermarket” of India. I bought few gift items online to be delivered as Rakhi gift to my little sister. The order had items destined for different shipment locations. The items for Bangalore reached to me within a week. But items which were destined for smaller towns in Orissa went through a lot of turbulence and finally never really reached. Below is a recount of the sequence of events that unfolded in the process of getting my items delivered, before finally i give up on it and lost the entire money.

I placed the order on 23rd Aug 2007. The sequence of events since then,

  1. There was no communication regarding the order for about two weeks. I sent a mail to customer care.
  2. I do not have the exact mail chain of what happened in the initial one month. So i am not mentioning explicitely here. But if i remember correctly there were conflicting statements from different people in customer care about the status of order. In any case, they raised another order for the same item and sent me a mail of shipment on 20th Sep.
  3. I waited for three weeks without any communication from them. So i sent another mail on 16 Oct asking the status.
  4. I received a response next day. “Our sincere apologies for the delay and inconvenience caused. We have shipped the item Junior Tv Game of the order # 200920070030 through TNT courier. TNT does not have the service at your location and the item returned to its origin. We will ship the item through First Flight courier within 2 days. The same will reach to you within 3 days of reshipment.”
  5. Six days passed without any communication. I sent a stinker this time on 21st Oct.
  6. Got this response next day – “Please accept our sincere apologies for the delay and inconvenience caused. we would like to inform you that, The matter has been taken on priority and the same is being investigated. Kindly provide us time for a day to update you on the same. We request you to kindly treat this case in isolation and not as a true reflection of indiaplaza services to it’s valued Customers. Please feel free to revert for any information or clarifications.” They seem to be finally taking the matter in urgency. I have waited for two months anyways, so no harm in another few days.
  7. A couple of days later (Oct 25) they sent another mail. “Your order # 200920070030 for the ?Junior Tv Game? is delayed in delivery as the address is incomplete. We request you to revert to us with a complete or alternate address, so that we shall reship the above order. We apologize for the delay and inconvenience caused.” Ha ha ha. I have been sending parcels to that address through different courier companies. It suddenly became incomplete for this people.
  8. On Oct 26 i provided them an alternate address in a nearby bigger city.
  9. I got the following response the same day – “We would like to inform you that the order for the item ‘Junior Tv Game’ placed under order #200920070030 will be reshipped to the given alternate address.We have already instructed our shipment department to ship the item to the alternate address given.Shipment details will be given once the order is reshipped.” See the matter-of-fact tone in the email. There is still no urgency from their part even though they earlier promised that the matter will be taken up with urgency.
  10. I sent a reply to above mail on Oct 30 showing my frustration and asking for a refund.
  11. Another two weeks gone without any response from them.
  12. I sent a mail on Nov 14th asking the status.
  13. I got a response on Nov 22 that the item has been returned undelivered even at the new address. 🙂 Looks like i need to find one address where they WANT to deliver. Nonetheless, the email said that they will refund the order price and deduct the shipment amount paid by me. So i made up my mind to at least recover the money and forget about delivery of gift to my sister.
  14. At this point enter their manager Lalita Jain (Customer Service), who sent me an apology mail (nov 16) about all the mess and promised to take a detail look into the problem and get back by Nov 19. She was the only person whose mails made me feel like a customer again, otherwise i was feeling like a prisnor fallen in a trap. I had my hopes raised again, but only for a short period.
  15. I did not get any mail from her. I waited till Nov 22 before sending another mail to know the status.
  16. She responded back on nov 22. “My apologies for the delay . We have canceled the order and the refund will reflect in your account in 5 business days.”.
  17. I got a mail next day mentioning that some xxx amount will be credited to my credit card. The refund amount mentioned was way below my order amount.
  18. I replied asking for clarification.
  19. Two days letter i got a response. My order was paid using a gift certificate and balance using credit card. So the gift certificate money will be credited to me as gift certificate and the rest as refund to my credit card. This was opposite of what i was told by Lalita Jain. She mentioned about refunding the entire order money to my credit card.
  20. I forwarded the mail to Lalita Jain. She replied on nov 26- “The below is an automated mail and since you had used a gift certificate to pay for the order, according to our refund policy the refund first goes into gift certificate. But in your case , the entire money will be refunded into your credit card.” First time it looked like they will go out of process in my case (they seem to accept troubling me) and do me a favor by paying entire money in cash/credit.
  21. Another mail from her on nov 30 – “The refund was rejected by the bank as the transaction was old. We will issue a cheque to you by monday.”.
  22. I did not want to get into another loop now. I requested her to deposite the money to my IndiaPlaza account. And she agreed to do so.
  23. I kept checking my IndiaPlaza account since their was no confirmation from them regarding any credit. However, they did deposit some amount on Dec 06. It was again less that what i was supposed to get.
  24. That was the last nail in the coffin. I decided to close the matter here itself and forget about the whole episode. So i sent this mail to Lalita Jain – “INR xxx/- is credited to my IndiaPLaza account, not INR yyy/-. Looks like there is a big disconnect between you and the team which supports the accounts. Unless i keep a constant watch, errors seem to keep happening. I pity the sorry state of affairs in an Indian Online shop. I am IT professional myself and have created many such websites for our international customers. But it feels bad when the sites are NOT supported by adequate/qualified backend staff and hence poeple do not rely on Indian sites. Its not that yyy rupees will make any difference to me. But i persisted with this loop to know exactly how an Indian online shopping site operates. I have a fare idea now and enough material for an article. You have been the only good thing in the entire episode.
  25. She responded – “I am sorry that your account was not credited with entire Rs.yyy. I will ensure that the difference of Rs.zzz is credited today itself. I have to agree with you that a good back end support team is required in a business like ours. This is our focus area and on a constant basis we keep improvising our processes and systems to improves or services.  I cannot assure you flawless execution but I can assure you at this point 110% redressal.. If you do happen to write an article on online shopping experience can I request you to send me the link or where it is published , so that I can read it too.”
  26. I have checked my account multiple times since then and it still reflects the reduced refund amount, not the amount i am entitled for.
I have left the matter here without any further persual. It took me 15 weeks, at least 30 emails and numerous phone calls to my sister during this entire unresolved saga. They credited a gift voucher to me which had very little time left for expiry. It stands expired now, which means that i did not get a single penny out of the order which was never delivered 🙂

My lessons from this episode are,

> There is a big disconnect between the different internal departments of the company. And you as a customer will not have enough time, energy and insight to keep all of them in loop and on same track. So always try to avoid to get into a situation where you would need their SERVICES(if at all you call it service). One of them being, DO NOT ship items to smaller towns.
> Their customer service is very very bad. You can see the mails above anyway. Also surprisingly i only got ONE call from them during this entire 15 weeks and it was to confirm that someone has responded to my eamils. No one from them took any initiative to talk to me about it, let alone verbal apologies. Run though the above sequence again. Twenty six steps and no results. Gosh….!!!
> They keep spamming your mailbox with new offers on their website even though you never asked them to do so.
Thats all. I have narreted my experince and bid a GoodBye to this website. God bless customers of this “FINEST virtual supermarket”.


  1. Uh! And I thought it’s only me who’d a bad experience with indiaplaza. Now it proves that they work really hard to be this _efficient_.

    I won’t elaborate. Just that I’d to contact them again and again, and then finally had to collect the item from the courier office *personally*.
    …and it wasn’t some small town. It was in Hyderabad. 😐

    BTW, I always prefer for books, but my previous purchase with them hasn’t been good either. It was delivered after 1.5 months. 😦

  2. I was surprised to see this since I have been using the website frequently – 99% of my deliveries were in Bangalore (head-quarters of the company). That is the reason why I was satisfied 🙂

    I remember on those instances where the order had to be cancelled, I had to do quite a bit of follow-up to get the amount back.

    Looks like the online companies in India need to go quite a distance before they can provide efficient services. Customer Service is one area which is their favorite to be neglected 😦

  3. I too am surprised. Ive long been a (and ex customer – though my deliveries also have almost all been for Bangalore.

    Ive had a couple of cases which had to go through customer support – but I always – always got my money back / got a replacement. In two instances they even sent a courier to pick-up the items (once for wrong item shipped and once for damaged items) ! Yes – believe me…. I was so very impressed then!

    I guess, as you summarized, it was perhaps due to a combination of shipping to a smaller town and the fact that it was a combination of gift-certificates and cash.

    Tough luck mate!
    [Why do these things end up happening to you? 🙂 ]

  4. I made a purchase of a perfume from IndiaPlaza a few days back. I ordered for a Carolina Herrara 212. The mkt price is Rs 2850 and they offered me a price of Rs 2000.

    Its very shocking and disappointing to know that I got a fake perfume ! I could make it from the fragrance.

    Other things which made it suspicious were
    -> Tampered bottle
    -> Scratches on the bottle’s bottom
    -> Leakage of the perfume from the bottle.

    I have returned back the product as they have promised me a new and original one this time.

    Lets see how it goes further !

    In all, Indiaplaza sucks !!

    Hitesh Wadhwa

  5. Indiaplaza people havent replaced the perfume yet. Neither are they trying to make an effort to replace it.

    I have anyhow approached the consumer court on this.

    I wish I could sue them

  6. I face the problem with the courier people. Even the ICICI parcels for cheque book, plastics don’t get delivered. It is in J.P. Nagar 8th Ph – Bangalore. Why these sites are not trying Indian Postal Service – The age old proven courier guy…..

    Or give us a option on which courier you want to use. We know BlueDart is a better option for that Orissa Place and charge the bill accordingly.

  7. I surely agree with Amit, its the worst customer service availble in the whole world. I had purchased a pend drive of 8 GB and i found that its a defective piece. I have made numerous calls and emails without any resolution. lastly i had to courier the parcel to the bangalore local bangalore office as even their courier guy didnt turn up even after a week. hope so that i may get a repalcement.

    Request all not to buy a product from this site.

    please note indiaplaza and hindushopping are the same site.

  8. I was planning on buying a few items on the Indiaplaza / Hindushopping site, starting with the 124% savings offer on ‘The Lost Symbol’ by Dan Brown.
    But, I wasnt sure about the customer service & promptness in delivery. I was looking around for a review/ experience/ opinion of others and fortunately I found this piece.
    On the site, they are promising shipping starting with the release date of the book on September 15, 2009.
    But, going by the experience of the few guys that have posted here, it would be prudent to give this site a miss. Although I am located in Chennai, it might very well happen that the book would reach me very late or not at all. And I’m in no mood to keep chasing after their customer service.
    I would rather walk into my local Crossword or Landmark and pick up the book on the release date by paying MRP rather than sit around twiddling my fingers in my bid to save ‘124%’.
    Thanks folks!

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