Ankit Khandelwal from Pune is a regular Croma customer. Like thousands of other customers, he believed that his personal information is safe with India’s one of the largest electronics retail chain, whose parent company is Tata.
Little did he knew that his personal data would be ruthlessly compromised, putting him at grave security risk.
On April 27, 2013, Ankit, who is basically from Pune had visited a remote location in Andhra Pradesh for a vacation
He got a shock when he received an email from Croma, informing that a brand new digital camera has been purchased under his name and and later an sms for the product that would be soon delivered to his address in Pune. At first he thought that someone from his family or friends had gifted him a new camera. But on further investigation, it became clear that no one he knew had purchased this item.
He wondered who did it, and how come his own name and address, phone number, emaild has been used for this transaction.
In the email receipt of the purchase, he found out that the purchase was made in a Croma store in Bangalore. Incidentally, he had lost his credit card few days earlier and alarm bell started ringing in his ears.
He immediately called up Croma customer care and lodged a complaint. Although it was promised that he will receive a call back within 24 hours, it took Croma customer care department more than 72 hours to call him back.
To get to the details of the matter, he immediately informed one of his friends in Bangalore to follow-up the case and requested him to visit the Croma store in Bangalore to find out the truth.
[box type=”shadow” ]Once his friend in Bangalore reached that Croma store, the real truth came out: The Assistant store manager of Croma store shares his name: Ankit Khandelwal and the purchase was made by him.[/box]
When Ankit’s friend asked the store manager why this transaction took place under his friend’s name, he started questioning his identity and even bullied him off. Definitely the matter should have been closed then and there, instead of this unprofessional attitude.
On further perusal of the matter, our Ankit finally was able to talk with Croma’s Ankit and asked him to issue a written apology and asked him to cancel the order. Although the store manager did admit that the transaction happened by mistake and was billed under Ankit Khandelwal from Pune’s account; he promised for a written apology within 24 hours which has never come inspite of 7 days.
Even the order cancellation took place after 5 days, when Ankit relentlessly pursued the matter with customer care personals and the said Croma store in Bangalore.
Now, the question arises, why Croma store manager is refusing to issue a written apology for this matter? Why it took so many days to cancel this order? Why hasn’t any proof of this order cancellation been issued to Ankit?
[box type=”info” ]Compromising on data and information is a serious security breach, which can have dire consequences. What if the digital camera purchased under Ankit’s name is used to photograph objectionable content and then found near a bomb blast left with the bill? Whom will the police and the Authorities question? What if such data breach is happening with other customers as well and their personal information is being abused to purchase gadgets and appliances?[/box]
Considering the security condition of the country and threat of terrorism and anti-social activities, this is indeed a case of serious data lead which could have been worse.
Croma employees and representatives did a real shabby job of rectifying the error. When will the organized retail sector in India learn to respect customer privacy and data?
A lot of questions unanswered and a frustrated, troubled customer is something which was entirely avoidable. We are still waiting to hear from Croma.
Update: Ankit finally received the email ids of Croma’s Area and Zonal Managers. But the written apology and order cancellation evidence is still pending.
Update #2: This blog post seems to have reached the upper echelons of Chroma management. Ankit has received an apology from the management and have been promised that the matter would be further investigated. Justice finally rendered.