The Flipkart Pricing Fraud!

Recently, I ordered HTC battery BL01100 35H00193-00M from Flipkart.com and received it in about a week. On receiving the product I was completely disappointed to see it in a lose packaging. It was sent in an envelope, wrapped with a bubble polythene and an invoice from the seller. There was no way to make sure if it was genuine HTC accessory. No details about the guarantee/warranty. It came with a 10-days replacement guarantee as listed on Flipkart.com. Nothing else. Here’s a screenshot of my order:

flipkart-1

 


flipkart-5

Now, you may ask why did I order it from Flipkart.com if I cared so much about it being genuine?

That’s because there’s no HTC authorized service center in my city where I can get a new battery. The nearest service center is 280Kms. And I was aware that Flipkart sells (or say, claims to sell) genuine and new products(through WS Retail or third party sellers). While in case of eBay, it’s not claimed that way. I have seen sellers clearly mentioning that the product isn’t from the brand itself but is compatible with the device. Which is acceptable.

So, what did I do ?

I contacted HTC Support and received first bummer, “Genuine HTC accessories are available only at HTC authorized service centers.” I told them I had ordered a battery from Flipkart.com. I would like to know the price and warranty terms of the same battery if it were purchased from HTC service center. So, the support executive connected me with HTC authorized service center in Delhi and I came to know about the pricing fraud that Flipkart seller has done with me. I received a reply that the approximate cost of battery is INR 600 – INR 800 and it comes with a 90 days warranty. An approximate price – because the actual price can be known only after an order has been placed for the accessory. As it’s shipped from their warehouse to the service center on request.

This clearly means that Flipkart seller has sold the battery at  almost double the actual price. I contacted Flipkart customer care and no one was interested in this issue. They simply blamed it on the seller and came up with “We sell 100% brand new and genuine products”.

I requested the support executive to arrange a reverse pickup and issue a refund or store credit of the amount (e-mail screenshot below). After a long telephonic conversation with support executive, it looked like going out of control. So, he hung up saying that our system isn’t displaying the updated information. Once our system displays the delivery status we will get back to you. The next day, I received a call and had to narrate the same story.

After the conversation I received an e-mail requesting me to provide the “proof” that HTC battery is worth INR 600 – INR 800 and comes with a 90 day warranty. To resolve this, I contacted HTC support multiple times and I had to literally fight with them to provide the price and warranty terms in “written” because that’s what Flipkart wanted. flipkart-4

I contacted them over the chat and requested the support executive to contact HTC authorized service center for price and warranty of the battery and then send me a message on the chat system. This was really really painful!

htc-reply-1 htc-reply-2

I sent these screenshots to Flipkart support as a “proof” of my statement over phone. But, there was no response. After a couple of days, I received a phone call saying that, “we will be contacting the brand to verify this”.

flipkart-3 Seriously? You should have contacted the brand  in first place instead of asking me for a proof.

Did you contact the seller and ask for a proof of MRP or authenticity of the product? I am sure you didn’t. 

Just because you don’t want to accept the mistake and give my money back, your support staff can come up with tons of excuses every time. I have also noticed that Flipkart varies the actual MRP as well. Here’s a screenshot of my e-mail.
Update: The price I have mentioned in my e-mail is from batterylovers seller dated July 12, 2014. The discount has been varying greatly. And even the actual price changed from Rs. 1,999 to Rs. 1,4999 

flipkart-3 My e-mail mentions INR 750 – that was during my first conversation with HTC support. And 6 months warranty for battery is applicable for a newly purchased phone. This was because of some confusion.

And from  today’s screenshot, you can see that the same battery’s listing price has gone down to INR 1499.

flipkart-5 I sent another e-mail, clearly mentioning that I don’t want to talk over phone and narrate the same story. It’s a complete waste of time.  I requested to even escalate the issue but none of the support executives did that. I sent them an e-mail warning that I will be writing a blog post if the issue isn’t resolved within 48 hours. I gave them 120 hours instead. And no one seemed to be serious about this except me because it’s my money.

 

flipkart-6 flipkart-7 Dear Flipkart,

MRP means Maximum Retail Price and no one in this country is allowed to sell products above MRP. If you are doing this, then be warned that it’s illegal. I request you to take action against your sellers rather than troubling the customers. I work hard every day to earn a living. I care even if the money I am losing is a single rupee, a thousand or a hundred thousand. Because that’s my money and I have earned it. As they say, “value what you have, before it’s gone.” So, I hope I have provided you with enough of “proofs” and hopefully, you can take action against the seller. I look forward to a complete refund else I am all set to take this to consumer court or reach out to Akosha.

My questions are:

  1. How do you claim the authenticity of products? Can you provide me a proof? Just like the way you asked me?
  2. If the product is genuine, why do it come with a seller warranty? and not manufacturer warranty?
  3. Why wasn’t the seller questioned? If the sales are channeled through flipkart.com then who’s responsible – the seller or Flipkart?
  4. How come the listed price INR 1,999 got reduced to INR 1,499? Please note that I am not talking about the payable amount, which has always been varying due to discount. This seems logical that discount can vary. But, how come the actual price vary for the same product?
  5. I was willing to return the product and even comfortable with a store credit. But that’s not in your policy?

Please note that this post is coming after almost 2 weeks of back and forth and several telephonic conversations with Flipkart support, explaining them the whole issue. They were never willing to question the seller and always popped up with “100% brand new and genuine products” tagline.

Update:

So, I wrote this article about Flipkart’s pricing (including the control over third party sellers) and it received a good response on social networking sites.
But, who cares? At least Flipkart.com doesn’t. They simply arranged a reverse pickup and promised to issue a refund.
But, no one was serious about answering the questions or accepting their mistake. Failing which, third party sellers are ruining their brand value and misusing their “100% brand new and original products” anthem! Or probably, that’s how they want it to be.

Updated 2: 

You can follow the conversation on Reddit India.

A user on Reddit India has posted a screenshot to customer review complaining about the false pricing.

Update 3:

Here’s a proof that HTC Batteries are much cheaper then listed on Flipkart.com. Another interesting point is that the battery discussed above is HTC Desire C and the invoice I have shared is for HTC Desire 600 Dual Sim phone which is much costlier than Desire C. But the battery price is only Rs. 515.

 

htc-invoice

Update 4:

Here’s how the pricing pages look on Flipkart:

HTC battery sales page listing Rs. 1,498 and displaying batterylovers as the seller.

HTC battery sales page listing Rs. 1,498 and displaying batterylovers as the seller.

Sellers detail page listing price from all the sellers. This page doesn't mention any discounts or the listed price. It simply shows the payable amount.

Sellers detail page listing price from all the sellers. This page doesn’t mention any discounts or the listed price. It simply shows the payable amount.

Comments

  1. says

    Flipkart can do what they want because it knows people would still trust them no matter what happens. Be it their Changing terms and conditions on the affiliate commission or cancelling half of the commission amount on the products you sell for flipkart using your affiliate link. Amazon is much better but still many people do not know about amazon.in

  2. says

    If I were you, I would have first verified the price across all channels and then hit that buy button. I would really go ahead an believe flipkart or amazon, inspite of all the sugar coated marketing taglines. anyways its a lesson learnt… the hard way though and thanks for writing up this experience of yours. We will be extra careful in the future.

  3. Siva says

    1) The seller is NOT WS-Retail. So it is mainly because of Merchants mistake/fraud.
    If you get the same issue with ebay, you will tell “ebay is fraud or Merchant is fraud” ??

    2) You should give links to official price. People/support can say average generic price eg. “Rs. 600 to 800″ only. See from their point of view.. “thousands of similar support ticket with many people saying.. Eg) a local/non-geninue accessories costs 200, why flipkart is charging Rs 400″
    How they would believe you, unless you show a proof (like “Official price” page)

    3) For a long time, Flipkart had a policy. If the price of the product was reduced (in less than 15 days of the purchase date), they will return partial price (paid – discounted). You need to create a support ticket.
    (I’m not sure whether this policy exists now. Please verify)

    Also, You could request a return/exchange if you don’t like it. Simple as that..

    • Thomson says

      Thank you Siva for the advice. It helped me!
      I’d purchased a Nexus 7 Tablet from Flipkart on August 5, 2014 (received delivery on August 10). I purchased for Rs 16999 and the price dropped to Rs 15999 on August 12. (On Flipkart. The product though now is even cheaper on Amazon ;-))
      Anyway, after reading your advice, I contacted their customer support on chat and they immediately refunded Rs 1000 (the entire difference between the two prices). Of course not in money but to my Flipkart Wallet, which means I still have to spend that on Flipkart. But that’s still okay.
      So the policy you mentioned in point 3, does still exist.
      Cheers!

  4. says

    OMG !!! These organisations simply putting fingers in common consumer’s eyes and cheating openly, people trust as those are big names and nobody has time to inquiry for. right price and other technical details. Thanks a lot for sharing your story,we will be careful in future and do proper investigation before ordering any item.

  5. Vajrasar says

    Any company who allows third parties to get involved in their business using their brand name, must have a control over the quality and authenticity over the services provided to the customers by the third party. This is not the first time, that am reading about Flipkart customer raging over third-party sellers of the platform. Flipkart sure needs to do something about this.

    This is the point where the expression of ‘customer satisfaction and customer support’ gets tested. I hope they do something to resolve it for you. And hell yes, even if it is Re. 1, they got to come up with either some action or a valid reason.

  6. says

    Not anything away from your concerns but being a frequent online buyer including flipkart, I make sure who is the seller and what is the general market price ( not MRP ) and availability. After buying and contacting the HTC for tentative price is not fair. Usually I would buy things online which are branded and cheaper ( including shipping ) than market price. But yes I have bought stuff online which on same price or little expensive when it was not available locally and I could not afford to wait. In case of flipkart, I always buy from WS-Retail and does not trust any other seller. I have bought expensive lenses from WS-Retail without any issues. In short you need to be informed buyer whether you buy online or offline. This are my thought and you may differ in your approach.

  7. Bhalaji says

    Hi Puneet, I have faced a similar issue while buying a pair of shoe. I was given a completely wrong product and it took me 2.5 months to prove that I am given a wrong product. You are very right, every time you call the customer care you end up telling the same story to different people. Im my case I did this 4 times , finally I was very irritated to do this the 5th time. I demanded them to escalate the call. After which, the call was escalated to a higher official who then diverted the case to a team called “resolution team”. They are the one who mediate these kind of issues with the seller and buyer. Finally after a long struggle I am promised for a cash back .

  8. says

    I too believe that Flipkart frauds people as well as their affiliate members. This is not the first case I heard guys, wanna know another piece of this shit then visit the famous Indian developer’s personal blog satishgandham.com

    Satish sir has used the Flipkart affiliate program and he has shown a fraud story by Flipkart.

    Anyways, I just want others to beware of Flipkart.

  9. Sagar Agarwal says

    I am actually struggling and fighting with their team over the MOTO G they sent me. The second one. the first hand set they sent me, you could not talk on the phone to anyone because of the loud static background noise. Something like a Ghhhharrddddd..They asked me to take back ups, do software updates, and other such stuff. All of which I did patiently. Nothing worked. this second one has different problem. The network keeps dropping. Now thats a tricky one. How do you know conclusively, its the phone and not the network. Two sims ( airtel and voda), 3 cities, and comparing with the network on many many friends phone later, I am convinced. Oh did I mention, I had asked the flipkart delivery guy how many phones were getting returned and he said ” Bahut Saara”. My guess is, they simply gave me someone else’s returned phone. Did I also mention the charger with the second phone looks used and has a different color and design from the first phone. Flipkart, ladies and gentlemen has gone to the dogs.

    I once ordered a leather belt from Flipkart for Rs.999. It was torn. Scratches all over. White dusty something settled on it. The condition in which you literally throw it out. Dont even consider giving it to anyone. That was the last order before I HAD to order the phone because its only on Flipkart. And they did not surprise.

    I will keep you posted on how the ordeal goes.

    Wish me luck :/

    • Naveen says

      This is where my problem with buying Xiaomi Mi3 on flipkart is coming from. I have heard numerous complaints about service issues while buying phones from flipkart. I don’t want to venture into this territory where I buy an expensive (for me) product and I end up running around behind these guys. A book, it’s fine.. but never any electronic product or an expensive product on flipkart.

      I have ordered numerous products on amazon and they have never disappointed. Surprised why Xiaomi and/or Motorola did not tie up with amazon for a 6-month exclusivity.

  10. Dheeraj says

    This is whrere most people underestimate the advantage of eBay in such cases, especially eBay India.

    In eBay India, there’s Paisapay, where the seller doesn’t receive the money if you don’t approve the item’s condition/accuracy. So if a seller says genuine in the description, you can be sure than if you receive anything other than genuine, eBay India will back you up after looking at proof and refund you the money.

    They refund the postage for returning back items too, sometimes they ask me to keep the item to avoid the hassle. Paisapay in eBay India and PayPal protection in eBay in other countries have good systems and checks in place for fraud. Only thing is it might not be as smooth as trusted sellers like Flipkart (WS Retail) or Amazon (Fulfilled by amazon).

  11. says

    Flipkart as well as HTC should look into this matter, same type of issue was raised earlier too and Sachin Bansal reverted by stating about the buyer’s protection system. But looks like Flipkart is just busy in raising funding rather then taking their customers to the utmost priority.

  12. Prateek Ojha says

    I’m sorry for your loss but its your mistake not their. Prices are set by the sellers and not market. However if the item sold isn’t original or is damaged then you can blame Flipkart and they will return it because they are too smart to spoil their image for couple hundred bucks on one in a thousand transaction. I think Flipkart is much better then Amazon India and eBay India. Flipkart guarantees that the items sold are original unlike others where one can easily find fake Chinese items listed.

  13. aditya says

    yes they are doing it a lot now, as sellers are pricing products at any price they want, and flipkart in order to get more commissions in not blocking this.

  14. Nidhi says

    Though u seem to be educated with your intro/hobbies at the start. But this post shows your level of ignorance. You buy online (may be you want to look cool and trendy n all) but you dont know the concept of market-place. In your post, you bought product from flipkart, but that is sold and priced by seller not flipkart. This is not just flipkart thing, same thing you can face on amazon, ebay etc. any market-place e-commerce site. Please spoiling name of good sites just because you are stupid and ignorant enough to do research beafore buying.

      • Joy says

        Oh is it Nidhi ? Really you are so dumb to notice Flipkart’s fault? Or you work with Flipkart customer care too and came up with another smart attempt to defile the customer? ;-) ;-)

        So, to enlighten you –
        1. Is it the buyer’s responsibility to prove that the item is ingenuine? Is it the buyer who assumed “all items in Flipkart are 100% genuine” ? Is it wrong to ask Flipkart for a proof of their deliberate authenticity claim in such case?
        2. And it is ok to neglect the customer’s concern, to continue harassing him even when the arguments are logically true?

        Admit it, Flipkart has displayed a pathetic customer care example in this case, and they haven’t done any genuineness check on the product.

        What do you work on Nidhi? I’m sure you will be able to grow high in your career if you realize this.

        PS: No hard feelings :)

  15. Sagar says

    It is a shame that you did not file a case against flipkart on consumer protection court. Within hours or maximum a day you would have got your problem solved. The procedure does not cost anything. But you would even get other claims from flipkart. As this would cause their brand name to detoriate. Please do that if you have to. Also i request you to post about RTI and consumer protection system in India. Only a handful people use this system to get things done. Almost all companies are scared of it.
    Act wisely and go legal.

    • Santosh Karigar says

      Dude Flipkart have not done any crime to file a case on them, it was him who agreed to buy on that rate

  16. Santosh Karigar says

    If i was you, i would check on all the website, i would have called HTC company 1st before buying, dude its your mistake also, seller can sell at any price only buyer need to b smart.

    • Ankit Malhotra says

      Dear Santosh,

      It is easy to say that you would have contacted HTC service centre but usually customers purchases looking at the amount and the website genuineness too. If this happens then obviously it is the responibility and duty of the the co. to protect buyers from being cheated. Anyhow customer is not wrong.. Not even you. Just a difference in thoughts..

  17. says

    Hi Puneet,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I have a few points,
    1) I had a similar experience with ebay where I got a duplicate microSD card but ebay immediately called me and paid for the shipping and refunded the whole amount.
    2) If you would have bought from WS Retail, you would have got a much better response. They really cant do anything here other than ask the seller about the product.
    3) I doubt that a genuine battery is gonna cost you just Rs 600-800. If you see in the US, prices range from $19 to $42. And there is little chance that it will be cheaper in India.
    Links: http://www.wirelessground.com/htc-desire-c-battery.html
    AND
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA0YM1JN5451

    Anyways, It is great that they finally agreed to refund you. Though if you would have quoted their http://www.flipkart.com/s/help/cancellation-returns page where they mention that if the item is NOT AS DESCRIBED, they would have given you a quick refund.

    Cheers,
    Rahul.

  18. subhashini says

    It happens.. i ordered 2 books. half of the pages were yellow in color, it looked like as though i bought a second hand book. i sent a mail demanding an explanation,no proper response.. i posted a feedback too. they removed it. as simple as that.

    • Jiss Tom says

      same happened to me also. I ordered a book and I recieved its copy without a hallmark or 3D logo of publisher. But publisher himself claims in the second page of the book that their genuine products will have a 3D logo.

  19. says

    Recently, I had similar experience with Amazon. They have sent different footwear I ordered. I immediately returned that, provided them feedback, what they deserved, however they have collected their item and forgot to return my money… really funny. Even after contacting 3-4 times I am still waiting for my money… anycase I’ve lost the shipping charges, I paid without any fault.

  20. sibu says

    Flipkart are cheats..they remove user comments, no follow up or support if the product isnt satisfactory. I had a bitter experience of buying a product that doesnt have warranty in india but it was listed as 3 year india warranty, contact flipkart they didnt do anything..posted a comment and those buggers removed it..

  21. amit verma says

    I don’t think Flipkart are any cheats…You need to buy ONLY from WS Retail as the seller. I have always done it and never have I had a problem. Yes, there will be times when u will get a faulty product but returning them also has always been a breeze. Just go online and request return pickup. Someone calls you and comes to pick it up, no questions asked. I guess I have bought upwards of 80 items from them and returned at least 5 so I have enough experience to say this with confidence.

    Just buy from WS RETAIL…Cheers.

  22. lingkojoy says

    Yae… true… it happens to me when I buy a glasses from ebay… I apply for money back. But I dint get money as well as product. I call many phone call and mail… non work. I don’t get time later fir that shit and left it.

  23. sathwik says

    Mr Puneet Sahalot , you have purchased the battery from marutisellers and the screenshot is about the same product u bought but from a different seller of name batterylovers. check it once again.It’s not flipkart fault its just that u haven’t noticed it.

  24. Sudheer says

    I sympathize the bad experience happened to you. I am a regular buyer from flipkart, before you buy anything from ecommerce sites the onus is on us to check and validate the prices across sites and manufacturer listing. The experience would not have been the same had the seller been WS-Retail. The third party sellers are prone to make pricing errors(in case of MRP). Also, if there are multiple sellers for a given product, flipkart seem to be doing “rotation” of these sellers over the day or days and pricing changes as the seller change.

    Take care next time.

  25. Avneet says

    Some are complaining that its the buyers fault. okk In my case I bought a V-Guard Crystal Plus (Black) at 2608, it worked for 3 days and then it wont start. I called for a replacement and they said it would take 3 days to deliver and i said fine. But the next morning they came with the new replaced piece. And when I open there are clear marks of the product being opened and this again worked only for a day. So i called them to refund my money and demanded an explanation that when they said that the item would be deliverable after 3 days they gave within 12 hrs which was a faulty piece. There have been too many complaints against moto g as well and even on laptops my friends bought them. And I only buy items through WS Retail, and even then these things have happened. I also sent them a mail regarding genuineness of their products and came a lame reply we have genuine products. Now i buy only books !!

  26. says

    I ordered a giordano wrist watch…nd in days it stop working I paid 1500 fr that watch.
    I contacted them fr replacement bt ni responce as usual…they all are fraud

  27. vishnups says

    The only advice to you when buying(in future also) in flipkart is you should only buy the products from the seller WS retail,the other sellers are not seem to be genuine and their pricing also

  28. Rohit says

    Hello Puneet,

    We all face such issues once in a while but for some or the other reasons no one actually writes about it. I myself faced similar issue with Ebay.in and as you have said they always resolve in the favor of the Seller. This is because they get paid directly from the commission received as a part of the trade. In my case also they asked me to sent various documents and proofs and do never stretch their arms to contact the Manufacturer or the Seller. After fighting for a month I was just happy to get a refund and lost the will to further escalate the issue to the Social Media. When I thought the things aren’t going in my favor, due to increased pressure I filed an application with Consumer Court also. But I never got a reply from them for next two months and it was after settlement I got a reply saying that if I want to go ahead with the case then I shall submit all the proofs. It is the result of flexible laws and unquestionabe authority of these websites that we are facing such frauds daily. I hope in future we do have better laws to protect consumer from such frauds. Until then it is on us to think twice before purchasing anything from such websites.

    Regards,
    Rohit Agrawal

  29. Shubhojit Biswas says

    You should approach the consumer court for this. That solves the problem. The sellers too once they hear about the consumer court quickly fall in line. And its not a big hassle to file a complain in consumer court.

  30. Ronnie says

    Puneet, I dont see any pricing fraud here. Its not like flipkart told you that this is the mrp for this battery. As a seller they are selling this battery at a certain price, it may not be the mrp of the product. it can be 100 times the mrp of the product but still the seller has the right to sell it..If you want to buy it at that price, you click the buy button, which you did.

    You did not check other sources for the price of the product and you are now blaming a reputed website for your incompetence. You have time and efforts to spend on making this webpage and posting screen shots of your chat with the HTC representatives. Had you spent enough time checking the price of this product before clicking on buy you would have been a happier guy.

  31. Arun says

    Actual root cause is the SELLER coordinating with Flipkart. But as a customer don’t worry about seller or any shit. Since you are dealing with Flipkart, it’s sole responsibility of Flipkart. Best and the shortest possible solution in this case is – discuss you case with customer care, if result comes .. it’s fine else don’t wait escalate it to their higher management, drop an email to Flipkart owner – your issue will be resolved more Quicker than they promise to deliver their products. :)

    • Soham NC says

      I do understand the consequences faced by the consumers due to such outrageous marketing frauds but going for the product without any knowledge of the seller or the actual price of the item is mindless. Even though Flipkart is solely responsible for all their transactions, the customer must be aware of everything if I am not wrong. Who is buying it after all ? Prevention is better than cure. Why not gather in-depth information about the product while buying ? Is it just because Flipkart has a brand name ? Or is it because we love approaching the consumer court ? Ofcourse, Flipkart has played a big fraud. No doubt about that. But at the end of the day, it is you who needs that product. So why not do some homework before clicking the BUY button.

  32. Supreet says

    Still worse, check for the prices of items on Flipkart’s website and it’s app…. they differ there too (on the same date/time) … which is completely unacceptable !

  33. Anirudh Goel says

    Glad you stay in a city which has service center 280kms away, flipkart basically charged you for coming down to your village to sell you the stuff, you either should move to a city where HTC service center is within vicinity or be thankful to them that they delivered it.. if HTC was so helpful you could have asked them to Courier you the battery as well.. has tons of batteries for you to choose from..this link other readers are right, you should have done the homework first..

  34. ds says

    Dude seriously!!

    What an idiot you are?

    Make sure you do your homework before purchasing anything from anywhere online or offline doesnt matter. Sellers r there to make profilts out of idiots like u n thrive well.

  35. says

    You should totally report this to the consumer courts. It’s not the MRP that matters–I am sure their lawyers will find a way to wiggle out of that by saying they’re resellers or something so retail price for brand-new products doesn’t apply–but if a website claims “genuine and authorized/authentic” and has no way or no intent to actually carry out this claim, then it is purposely misleading buyers.

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