It all started with me wanting my wife (who prefers not to shop online) to have an online experience with an online marketplace that I have had a good personal experience with – Amazon.
Let me be open about the fact that I never had a problem in ordering books or sports items online through Amazon.
So in enthusiasm and singing praises of Amazon, I got her to create an account online and get her prepared to do her first shopping online.
My wife ordered a Panasonic AC MX-AC400 1000 Watt Mixer Grinder with four jars and she waited patiently and curiously for the product to arrive.
When the product did arrive after a couple days, she was excited.
I swapped my debit card for Rs 4645 and I saw a smile on her face, like a child trying out a new experience and about opening her interesting gift.
When we opened the delivered product. We got our first shock, we asked for a black colour Mixer Grinder, we got a white-colour. Interestingly, the product carton had black model written on it. Yet what we got was white.
The black turning to white, like a Michael Jackson song did not bother us.
However, when we started opening the different assembled components of the Mixer Grinder, we noticed that one was chipped, one component’s grooves were faulty so the jars would not clasp when closed and one handle was a bit shaky.
So after much thought we decided to refund the faulty product and demand for a refund.
Promptly the delivery boy came home the next day to pick up the faulty product and the refund process was initiated.
I received an email in the second week of November that my refund has been processed and it should reflect in my account on a particular day, I waited for 5 days because I did not receive the refund, so I called my bank customer care, told them about my transaction and my refund claim.
The customer care executive told me that I would need to go to my branch and check with them directly with my reference number provided by Amazon.
So I did what I was told to do. I went to my bank and inquired but I was told there was no refund. So I thought maybe it would take another couple of days.
The last week of November right through to the first two weeks of December I did not look into the matter, due to a family health crisis.
In December when I raised the issue of delay of my refund on Twitter, I was sent over a link by Amazon Help, I filled the form and received an email after a few days telling me exactly what I was told in November and if it does not reflect in my account to go to call customer care.
I called customer care. I was told to go to my branch. I went to the bank again and shared the details with them, and I was told yet again that there has been no refund into my account.
Christmas came again, Santa gave everyone toys but Amazon did not give me my refunds.
New Year with new hope came along but my refund was stuck somewhere – a place I am still not sure is where.
In January, I decided to raise the issue again of Twitter. Guess what! I was asked to fill the same form I filled in December and received a similar looking email stating that my money has been refunded, if not check with my bank’s customer care.
I called customer care and I was told to check with my branch. So I went yet again to my branch. Guess what! I was told yet again – no refund.
As I write my article today, I had received a call from a customer service officer, who called me five days ago telling me, he will investigate the matter and revert back to me. First he said, he would revert on January 19th, then it was pushed to January 22nd.
In his revert to me today, he advised me to file a dispute claim with the bank and he will check with me in a few days to see if there has been any progress.
So I told him clearly and precisely ’No Amazon Again’.
Let me tell you what has ticked me off in the entire issue:
- First the issue is that Amazon has taken the first online experience of my wife and shattered it with such a terrible experience from a faulty product to a now over extended refund time. More importantly, it is because of Amazon my wife feels guilty of wasting Rs 4,645 on nothing.
- Second, spending Rs 4645 or more on something meaningful for the family, friends or even the underprivileged children never ever bothers me, but to have Rs 4,645 stuck nowhere in this conundrum is disturbing. That amount from a small entrepreneur like me is like paying my office maid’s bill or car washer’s bill.
But the most important detail in this entire conundrum that has got me thinking is this; Amazon itself claims that it has about 6.5 per cent to 10 per cent returns on their products. In that case, let’s assume you have considerable amount stuck in refunds, which can take 3 months like in my case. If the returns are in lakhs, then that total amount played around with could be in crores stuck in between Amazon and banks.
And the most ridiculous aspect of this entire conundrum is that I have to go now and fight with my bank, file a dispute claim because Amazon claims it has refunded my money, after three months of doing just that without filing a dispute claim.
I bought on Amazon, I paid on Amazon through my debit card and now I have to go and sort my issue with the bank. It is an assumption, I think, that’s its your money, you go fight for it.
I will even try this dispute claim. If it comes, it comes. Until it then, for me its ‘No Amazon Again’