As convenient as online shopping, especially during the festive sale season, getting cheated is a risk that people have to assume. Recently, a man ordered a laptop from Flipkart but received several bars of soap in the package.

In another incident, a businessman in Bihar had ordered a drone from the e-commerce platform Meesho but instead received some potatoes.

It is natural to get a little lonely whenever something like this happens. We also fear that we have been cheated out of a lot of money, which, at the time, at least seems impossible to recover. You may also feel like calling the platform’s customer service helpline and giving them an earful. Realistically, that wouldn’t be helpful. But there are other things that you can do.

Believe it or not, it is possible to make your case correctly and get your money back, or the actual product you had paid for. However, the critical thing to note is to let cooler heads prevail, take a deep breath, and approach this step by step.

Before we discuss that, here are a few practices that you should follow when taking delivery of any package that you may receive from an e-commerce platform:

Document everything
First and foremost, start recording a video of the package as you receive it. Platforms like Flipkart claim that they have processes such as Open Box Delivery, wherein the delivery person will open the box in front of you while delivering it. The reality is this is a practice that exists only on paper. Rarely will you see a delivery person waiting for you to unbox it in front of them?

Wait before sharing your delivery OTP
Most e-commerce platforms now require the user to share a delivery OTP with the delivery person. The purpose of this OTP is usually to ascertain that the package is being delivered to the right person and that the packet received was in proper shape and hadn’t been tampered with. Open the box in front of the delivery person, and ensure that the package unboxing or opening is recorded. Only then provide the delivery OTP.

Now, no matter how hard you try, there will be times when you won’t get the chance to open up and inspect your package in front of the delivery person.

Here’s what you should do if you receive a package from an e-commerce platform like Flipkart, Meesho, or even Amazon, which does not contain your product, but some other stuff.

Make an unboxing video and take pictures.
First and foremost, make an unboxing video while you’re opening the package. You should do this in case you suspect your container was tampered with or if you have purchased a high-value item, like a phone, laptop, etc. If you haven’t taken a video, do take a ton of pictures, especially of the box and the content you received. Take photos of any damages that the box might have had.

Gather all the information and evidence that you might need
Gather every tiny bit of knowledge and keep them handy. From the date, you placed your order to the day and time you received your order. It would also be great if you had the name of the delivery person who delivered your package. Also, ensure that you have the transaction ID readily available if you have already paid for your order.

Approach the customer service center
Once you have all your videos, photos, and other evidence ready, call the customer service center. They might ask you to share a few videos, pictures, and a few additional information, so share whatever you are asked to, barring your banking details. Also, this would be an excellent time to ask the customer service representative for your complaint or ticket number. You can refer to this call if things need to be taken forward. Suppose your customer service representative can resolve your issue on the spot, then well and good. If they ask you for a couple of days, ask them to put it in writing and to send you an email regarding the same.

Send the company an email.
In case your customer service representative was not able to resolve the issue, or if they said that they would email you about the problem you raised but haven’t, send an email to the customer service department with all your photos, videos and mention the complaint number, or the ticket number that you had received. It would help if you were getting a response within one or two working days.

Flag them on social media, especially on Twitter
Get on social media if you don’t get a response, even after sending an email. We have seen that Twitter works better compared to Instagram or Facebook. First, tweet out to the company, stating your issue, share the photo and the video and ensure you use the correct hashtags, especially if the e-commerce platform is running a campaign. There’s a good chance that you might get a response, but if you don’t, Tweet out to a few influencers that the e-commerce platform has worked with previously. You can also try reply tweeting on a few posts of the influencer. This increases your chance of getting a response from the e-commerce platform. This is also the chance for your story to get viral on social media, in which case you will get an answer.

File a complaint with your local consumer forum
Now, even after doing all this and trying everything, if you’re still not getting a satisfactory and reasonable response, don’t hesitate to approach your local consumer forum and register a complaint with the Consumer Courts. People assume that this will be an expensive affair, but more often than not, it is not. Moreover, if you have a lot of money in the balance, you shouldn’t hesitate to approach your local consumer forum. People think closing the consumer forum is a long and tedious process, and most platforms rely on customers simply giving up and not approaching consumer forums when things go south.

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