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:
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.
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!
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”.
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
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.
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.
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:
- How do you claim the authenticity of products? Can you provide me a proof? Just like the way you asked me?
- If the product is genuine, why do it come with a seller warranty? and not manufacturer warranty?
- Why wasn’t the seller questioned? If the sales are channeled through flipkart.com then who’s responsible – the seller or Flipkart?
- 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?
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s how the pricing pages look on Flipkart: