Time to frame some rules for Ubers and Flipkarts in the interest of consumers
E-commerce companies, sustained on massive doses of funding provided by private equity funds, have been such a boon to consumers that we were happy to condone glitches, especially if the redress or reversal process was smooth and efficient. But large and well-funded e-commerce companies are probably so focused on fund raising and increasing valuation that they may be in danger of forgetting that the customer is central to their mega plans. Some funded e-tailers seem to believe that throwing money at consumers to compensate for bad experiences is an adequate customer retention strategy. As the business grows, companies are finding it difficult to offer cash compensation and to dish out freebies; some brazenly renege on promises published on their promotional material.
In one particular case, a consumer complained that Flipkart was claiming to offer a discount by projecting a false high price that was crossed out, while the discounted price was the actual MRP printed on the product.
All online retailers and service-providers have notoriously one-sided contracts which nobody reads. None of this mattered while they wowed customers with choice, price and speed of delivery. But rapid growth and gigantic size is bound to have an impact. Aggrieved consumers will be shocked at the one-sided terms in their legal disclaimers. Flipkart and Snapdeal, who call themselves marketplaces, are especially aggressive about not accepting responsibility for prices and product details posted on their websites.
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