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Flipkart delivers 2 stones instead of iPod to a user! What if…

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Now, this is outrageous – A twitter user tweeted today that his sister had ordered an iPod, but to her surprise she was delivered 2 stones inside the box.

Twitter user with handle @nikhilsekhar tweeted the following accompanying picture of the said delivery.

Here is the photo accompanying that tweet:

The good part is Flipkart promptly replied the user with following tweets:

 

 

But what if…

Now, this kind of a thing happening is outrageous – and it is good to see that Flipkart has owned the responsibility and is going to offer an immediate replacement of the product.

However, I have a question in mind – What if the customer is lying?

Please bear in mind, I am not talking about this incidence, but putting across a theoretical situation.

What if a buyer actually replaces the delivery (after he has received the correct product) and then alleges that Flipkart has delivered him with stones (or whatever) inside it? What happens in that case. If you think that such kind of thing will not happen…you are wrong. There are many out there waiting to take advantage of the system..

Flipkart is in no position to actually contend that they have delivered it correctly, neither can they challenge the customer (and if they do, it will be one big social media mess).

So what happens then? Would love to hear reader’s views on this!

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About Arun Prabhudesai

Arun Prabhudesai is founder / chief editor at trak.in. He jumped the Entrepreneurship bandwagon in early 2008 after a long 13 year stint in I.T Industry. You can follow him on twitter @trakin and Facebook. Arun’s Google+ Profile

43 comments

  1. If you think this is a hoax and customer is wrong please change your mind. I just received a stone instead of my phone. I have ordered close to 80K on flipkart last week a MOTO phone for my brothers son. Another Tab 2 is in shipment. I have so many gadgets and making a very decent living I dont have any business to cheat anybody. I am not posting the pictures or order number. I am just awaiting to see what Flipkart comes back with. I am still with Flipkart because companies like this have become our identity. Lets see how this unfolds in the next few days and will keep this forum informed.

  2. I’ve ordered stuff over 25k on flipkart & nothing of this sort has happened with me nor my friends. Its a tough call with the reputation flipkart is known to have. If the local courier service are behind this, there would be signs of tampered packing which only the customer would know.

  3. Anurag Aggarwal

    It would be interesting to know how does flipkart handle such situations which are not published on social media. If one such incidence has happened then I am sure flipkart would be dealing with 100s if not 1000s such cases on a daily basis. So, what is their way of handling these situations and why is a complaint on social media handled in a different way than a complaint through other routes? Companies will do much better if they are as proactive in resolving issues as they are when the issue is reported on social media.

  4. Since we are talking of fraud here (prior intention of theft) – analytics would be a useful tool. Based on data, it would be possible to build a model that would predict the likelihood of a transaction being fraudulent. This of course assumes that data is already in place. The challenge is such transactions are rare (in every industry) and hence the challenge in building the said model. But companies (e-comm, credit cards, to name a couple) are doing it nevertheless.

  5. Sarvesh Ek Aam Admi

    E-commerce company can put holographic verified tape(seal) across the box opening, and this activity should be done in front of camera’s by their quality department in their office just before the handover of the products to customer. And when delivery boy delivers the product to customer he should be asked to take picture of the product with clear visibility that tape is intact. And in addition customer should be advised to check the verification seal, and confirm by signature that it was intact at time of delivery.

    • Arun Prabhudesai

      @sarvesh – Yes, that sure might be a probably solution to “what if” problem that I mentioned…

  6. Atleast with Ipod or iphone, deceiving is not possible. if the flipkart indeed delivers the ipod and customer replacing the same via stones, then he will be caught while registering the product with itunes.

    • perfect, itunes. I am sure, they would have questioned the delivery guy by now. If he was innocent and the customer made it all up, then FIR should be lodged against such customer.

      • Arun Prabhudesai

        @hitesh – the point of this article is actually not this one incident, but in general “what if” customer decides to do so… there is no proof… obviously FIR and all that is out of question… What e-commerce companies will do if these kind of things start happening on regular basis….that is the question..

        • There have been few cases in the past like this with flipkart but they are very rare. This issue in particular has a long story attached with it. Flipkart actually has a few checks in place for such cases and some are easily caught. This happend inspite of them. Initial investigation kind of gives you impression that the interchange has been done by a delivery guy who knows a bit about the checks and systems in place. The issue is actually taken very seriously and problem is attacked in a way different from what some people here are suggesting. Given the scale of flipkart, some of the suggestions might not be practical in each and every cases (as rightly pointed out by some of them as in gifts and customer not at home) and the training required for each of the delivery executive will be a different undertaking. If we can solve this problem, it would definitley help in improving the in Indian e-commerce industry

        • Arun Prabhudesai

          I suppose you are from Flipkart… Like you mentioned it is a problem with no straightforward solution… But I would expect Flipkart by now may have come across multiple such issues…and it is important that they come up with a solution to this.. Even if fraction of transactions face this issue, it will surely hurt bottomline to a large extent…

  7. Debangshu D Ekalavya

    2 things u have to do flipkart 1 In the time of delivery open the box in front of both delivery man and customer 2 Both take a picture with the box then the delivery man can leave. In recent time so much fake customer also came into this e business.I am using Flipkart from last 3yrs and ordered almost 35 products….BOOKS,PEN DRIVE,ROUTER,PRINTER,EHDD, CORTEGE,MOVIES,MICRO OVEN.MOBILE,TABLET,SHAVER,MODEM,HAIR STRAIGHTENER,SHOES….ETC so many frnd of mine also ordering even my better half also ordering after seen me so i never had a experiences like this even i used in 3 difrnt metro also, So flipkart u have to rethink about the indian customer.In this story its looks like a MOVIE.but we cant say directly to anyone. 100 mein 90 beiman fir vi mera bharat mahan…..we are blamed political leader only but never judge ourself…….

  8. Atleast Flipkart taking the responsibility is a good thing here. I do see your point and there might be a case in the future where Flipkart might have to start verifying the delivery by one means or the other to counter cases like these.

  9. Some mistake has been done,, which flipkart immediately resolved it. These are signs of good companies.

  10. No doubt, it is a very tricky situation fir FlipKart.

  11. I think the question relates to the basics of the goods delivered to home kinda business. As Yash writes in a detailed way, the eventuality is a part and parcel of the business model where goods are delivered to your home. It depends on how a businessman handles such situation. Like flip cart did. Like in Yash’s case Pizza Hut did. I also had similar situation last month. (Though here its not about regular or Thin crust. While taking order they always ask which one and deliver same). They promise to deliver order in 20 min. But last month it arrived after 50 min and our guests left. When the Pizza came, we showed our displeasure to the delivery guy. He immediately called their customer service and explained the situation. The customer service guy apologized and offered two large pizza of our choice toppings when ever we want in next two days. @ Nikhilsekhar, do not leave anything to chance. Check the so called stones carefully. Who knows, may be its new model Ipod. May be there is some button somewhere on the stones. Once you press it, the Ipod jumps out like in Bond movies :)

  12. Flipkart and everyone in their club will need to invest in RFID technology to identify the weakest link in the delivery chain. RFID tags will help ascertain where exactly the product has left its packaging. Until this is implemented, they have no choice but to shoulder the responsibility of damage/loss in transit without asking any questions.

    • RFID is a technology which everybody agrees that is necessary. Given the scale that flipkart is in, implementing it is a huge task

  13. The inside walls of the box have no stone scratches, no mud stains. without any padding, open stones like that can’t keep the box as clean during logistics. How does it get torn so much on the bottom and a clean top inside?

  14. so better to keep open box delivery infront of the delivery guy for customers and no one loose for that

  15. Nitin Gaopande

    I agree with Saurabh. Bigbasket.com follows a very cool approach to delivery. When the delivery guy reaches and hands over the items, he will give you a page that is open on his phone. You need to key in the security pin to confirm that the delivery is done. Yes, exact same thing cannot be done, because then it will mean that person has to be present everytime to collect. Many a times, FK and other e-commerce sites deliver to neighbours as well, (when allowed by customer). In this case, then this becomes a liability. But if a culture is followed that “This is online purchase, only the customer should accept, check and then confirm”, then this issue will get solved. But this means that delivery guys need to be trained in this (not a big task). I feel that company such as FK will not do this. But then this needs to be found out. The way the photo is shown, did the custom try and jiggle the box? Coz that would have given it away, (if the stones were in the same open condition as they are being shown). Generally all such products come in neatly wrapped packaging disallowing them to move from its position. This is something which should be asked.

    • wedding invitation card

      Nitin, Agreed with your point. How could stones be in this position? My thoughts are same as of yours. When I receive any product, I cross check it in front of the delivery man and then sign the papers [and that's what most buyers do and that's so natural]. The boy in trying to deceive the company [ buy 1 get 1 free :P]. So far as FK policies concern, they should change it. They should ask their delivery man to verify the product/s in front of the customer. That’s the simplest way to escape from this problem.

    • Arun Prabhudesai

      @nitin gaopande – most of the times it is not possible to check the product there and there itself… I doubt if such a system can be implemented.. But one of the Facebook commenters mentioned that RFID could be used on products (just like how it is in actual shops). RFIDs could definitely be used for high value items…

      • Nitin Gaopande

        RFID systems are to track. Not validate the delivery box has not been tampered or not. Unless the RFID is inside the mobile phone.

        • Arun Prabhudesai

          But… I guess it would be cost effective if RFID is stuck on the product right? it could be traced till the delivery ( I am talking about only for high value items).

  16. To start with eCommerce vendor will have to eat it and put it under pilferage. World over retail business has fairly establishment number of pilferage loss which includes theft, bad stock, stock taking and billing errors etc. That means some fraudulent customers will succeed in duping the company. That will have to be taken as one cost of doing the business. If the frequency increases, companies will have to put in place safe guards like insuring every package and in case of a item not received claim by a customer the responsibility will be that of the insurer/delivery company. The logistics company may then force the customers to open the package in front of their delivery personnel to make sure the customer is not lying. I am sure a tiny fraction of customers do engage in unethical practices to get something for free or get two for the price of one but that number must be so small that it is not worth wasting time and money worrying about them. If the number becomes significantly big, ecommerce vendors will surely come up with a way to combat it. Necessity is the mother of the invention. There was an incident that happened in my office. Once we ordered some pizzas from Pizza Hut. After we ate the pizzas we were still hungry. We suspected the pizzas were cheaper thin crust pizzas instead of the regular (higher priced) ones. We had no proof and we were done eating the pizza. We called up Pizza Hut to place order for some more pizzas and just casually mentioned to them that we thought the earlier pizza they sent us were thin crust pizzas. They offered us the same pizza for free! Without us asking for it! When we called them we had no intention to get free pizza. We had a doubt and they gave us free pizzas. We were shocked with their awesome customer service. Again I am sure this is open to fraud and they must be having a check in place and policies as to how to deal with such situations and customers. May be we didn’t ask for free pizza to start with and that signaled them that we weren’t lying. And the point is to date even we don’t know if they indeed deliver thin crust pizzas or we were just extra hungry that day! :)

  17. Shankar Prasad

    How about a scanner used by the delivery boy to show the content inside the shipment.?

  18. Pavanaja U B (@pavanaja)

    What if the courier guy has changed it?

    • Arun Prabhudesai

      @pavanaja Remember, Flipkart has its own logistics department unlike others… So if it was done by the courier people, it will obviously be Flipkart’s own people!

      • I doubt that Arun. At some places (like mine) Flipkar’s logistics department doesn’t handle all the job and instead they give it to a courier company. In my area they have several times used FirstFlight. But your’re right… I wonder what would happen if the customer is on the bad side. After all, with pics being posted to social networks like Twitter it can become really messy for company to handle such situations.

        • Arun Prabhudesai

          @chetan bhasin – Thats the point of the article.. “what if” customer decides to play a prank or fleece the ecommerce company… It would be so easy using this method…

  19. It’s an idea building post for many who would like to have a product as well as the refund in the mean time breaking the company’s reputation. Now it’s a time to introduce new system to help the eCommerce businesses.

  20. Siddharth Vyas

    Its written 160GB..instead it shud be 160 KG Stones..lolz..;-)

  21. Interesting point you have brought up Arun.While such cases might happen as a brand you will have to look at the frequency of such instances. Also, you’d have to bank on the authenticity of your customers and how honest they are. For guys who are on Social Media and have been there for a while, I doubt if they would indulge into such activities.

    • Arun Prabhudesai

      @daksh – I agree with you that frequency and customer honesty needs to be looked at… But imagine it is customers 1st order…and order value is to the tune of Rs. 40k or Rs. 50k. If many buyers end up doing it… Flipkart will drown… It is not an easy question to answer… Let me tell you that!

  22. Well in Such situation , Should open the box immediately in front of delivery guy and confirm that it’s the same product customer ordered or take a picture like our Traffic police if your bike is parked outside they take picture and take the bike with them. (Hoping they won’t bribe delivery guy too)

    • I agree with you, but usually customer’s are not allowed to open the product on delivery. However, the photo thing would work great to prove authenticity. But then, what if the customer wants to gift it to someone & would not want to open it?

  23. It’s written 160GB at the top of the box(in the picture). This is ridiculous.

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