Banking on just a Karishma

Here's a 1 sentence review of for the Busy reader: AVOID them for now, they're learning at the customer's expense & don't seem to be ready for PrimeTime!


A Short review of, for those who like Bulleted lists:


Here's the long review, for those interested in Details.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my sister in Delhi and she mentioned she's trying to source a baby product (Farlin baby clothing detergent) but was not able to find it in any of the shops around her home in Delhi. With many online stores selling baby products these days, I thought of ordering online. She's not too net savvy so I decided to order it for her. 

Had been hearing about this website called via their online & TV ads, with Karisma Kapoor as their brand ambassador & investor. I decided to give it a try.

The first try:---

April 5, 2012 (Calendar Days elapsed: 0, Business Days elapsed: 0):

I searched the website and was able to find the Product I was looking for. There were no discounts on the MRP. Since it was a daily use item, I decided to order 2 1litre bottles.

Shipping was Free, and their Shipping policy & charges stated that for Metros, "We are committed to delivering consumables like Diapers, baby feed and other daily need consumables within 2 to 3 business days of the order being confirmed.". It also mentioned "To ensure that your order reaches you in the fastest time and in good condition, we only ship through reputed courier agencies."

Their contact address on their website mentioned an address in Delhi, so I was hoping deliveries within Delhi will be pretty fast.

They also had Cash on Delivery option but since I was sending it for my sister, I decided to pay upfront via Credit Card.

After two failed attempts at making a Credit Card payment, the payment went through the 3rd time. I placed the order on Thursday, 5th April 2012 (Order #100098379). 

Friday was a holiday, and I was hoping they'll Ship on Saturday, 7th April, and it'll surely reach by Monday, 9th April. I communicated to my sister that the item is on it's way.

After placing an order, I received a confirmation email with the Order number. 

Saturday, 7th April (Calendar Days elapsed: 2, Business Days elapsed: 1):

I didn't hear from them for 2 days and on Saturday, I decided to call their 24x7 Customer Care number. After getting connected to an Agent and inquiring the status, I was told that the items have already been dispatched from Mumbai via Quantium Courier, and I was provided a Tracking number on the phone. Never heard on this courier company, but hey, there's so many things in the world I haven't heard of. 

Sunday, 8th April (Calendar Days elapsed: 3, Business Days elapsed: 1)

I tracked the courier again and the message I see on the website says:
Status: Offload/Bag missing by Airlines
Remarks: Contains liquid
Location: Bombay

On seeing this, I called Customer Care and was told that since the courier contained liquid, it was not accepted on the flight and they'll now be sending the courier via Surface mode. I'm quite surprised and am imagining someone carrying my courier along with their cabin baggage & getting stopped before boarding :P, "Sorry Sir, aap yeh Sabun nahi le jaa saktey, anumati nahi hai!" (Translation: Sorry Sir, you can't carry this liquid soap, not allowed)

I asked them when I can expect the item and I was told that it'll still reach within the time promised.

Tuesday, 11th April (Calendar Days elapsed: 5, Business Days elapsed: 3)

I checked the tracking status again and it was updated on Tuesday to say the following:
Status: onforward to branch
Remarks: Forward to surface mode
Location: Bombay

I called them to ask the following questions, and they didn't have satisfactory answers:
a. Why was the item shipped from Mumbai? If a daily consumable is not available locally, shouldn't they inform me it'll get delayed?
b. What's the definition of a reputed courier service, as claimed in their T&Cs?
c. Is it the first time they're shipping a product with liquids?
d. Why did someone not inform me proactively when they got to know the package will get delayed? I would have appreciated an option to cancel my order.

I then asked them when I can expect to receive the item and was given the same answer "within the time promised". I ask them when that is, and the Agent says within "3-4 working days" (notice a day added ChupkeSe), I asked by what date is that, and he says he can't give me an ETA. When I ask him why can't he calculate 3-4 working days from the date I ordered and tell me I'll receive the item by Wednesday, he has the audacity to bang the phone on me. Really angry, Hope that call was recorded and someone listens to the recording, and the guy has to explain!

Thursday, 13th Apr (Calendar Days elapsed: 7, Business Days elapsed: 5)

The item has still not been delivered and the courier tracking has the following update:
Status: Physical item received
Location: Delhi

Friday, 14th April (Calendar Days elapsed: 8, Business Days elapsed: 6)

The item has still not been delivered and the courier tracking update now says:
Status: Onforward to branch
Remarks: Kotla
Location: Delhi

Sunday, 15th April (Calendar Days elapsed: 10, Business Days elapsed: 7)

Saturday has passed and the item has still not been delivered. I call their customer care number and it's their usual Laachaari (Translation: helplessness), and the cosmetic "regretting the inconvenience caused".  

I then ask to be connected to a supervisor and am put through to Arif. I simply ask him why I should order from them again, for that matter why anyone should order from them. Apologies as usual and a promise me that the item will be delivered on Monday, 16th April. I say I know it will get delivered on Monday, considered it's now sitting 2 Kms away from destination address since the last 2 days, but what about the delay? I ask to be compensated for the delay and he promises to speak to higher-ups and call me back. I promise him that if I don't hear from him, not only will I never order from their site again, but I will also take extra effort to write a review and spread the word

Monday, 16th April (Calendar Days elapsed: 11, Business Days elapsed: 7)

The item is finally delivered. Around afternoon, I get a call from Arif and he communicates that after consulting with his higher-ups, he can offer me a INR 300 coupon for the inconvenience caused. I accept and he sends me the coupon code by email. 

The second chance---

Now I have a 300 bucks coupon that I need to use which brings me back to

Not able to decide whether to order something strictly within 300 bucks, or to buy something that we need & pay the difference amount. I decide the latter and to use their Cash on Delivery option to avoid paying upfront, in case they decide to source the item from Africa this time & ship via a Boat.

Sunday, 22nd April (Calendar Days elapsed: 0, Business Days elapsed: 0)

I choose a travel doodler worth 600 bucks and apply the coupon. It works but I see the charge as 350, whereas I was expecting it to be 300 bucks. I then notice their Terms & Conditions on COD which state that if the order value is below 500 bucks, there will be extra charge of 50 bucks for COD. Very conveniently, they decide to use the after-discount value of 300 instead of the original value of 600. They also mention someone will call to confirm the order in case of COD.

I need to use this coupon so I place the order (Order #100105035). I notice a coloring book included in the order which initially confuses me, but then I check the order details and realize it's Free (Hurray!). An order confirmation email arrives as usual.

Monday, 23rd April (Calendar Days elapsed: 1, Business Days elapsed: 1)

A very detailed email invoice arrives. Its followed by an email that has the subject " Shipment # 1000xxxxx for Invoice #203130000xxxx & Order # 100xxxxxx" and says "Please find your shipment confirmation and tracking number below". Strangely, the email doesn't mention the name of the courier, nor does it have any tracking number. How & where am I supposed to track my courier? Via Telepathy? 

No-one calls me to confirm the order, as was claimed on their website

Tuesday, 24th Aprtil (Calendar Days elapsed: 2, Business Days elapsed: 2)

I call Customer Care and ask for Courier name, tracking number & ETA. I'm told that the item has been shipped by a courier called Delhivery (for some reason, I hear Delhi Belly the first time :P), and am given a Tracking number. Again, I haven't heard of this courier name so am surprised, half-expecting the same story to repeat again. [Update 25-Apr:] Delhivery delivered within 3 days, but their tracking is either broken, or babyoye provided me the wrong TrackingID! I also find it a bit discomforting that I'm in Bangalore, and the courier has been sent via Delhivery, I quickly confirm that my Shipping Address is correct. 

I try the tracking number on the Delhivery website and it's not recognized. I try the Shipment number and it's not recognized too. I ask the Agent Why and she has no clue, she tries and it doesn't work for her too. Maybe it's Rahukalam, or the Website has had a short-term memory loss! She promises to follow-up with Logistics team and get back to me. 

I wait for 8 hours and call them again. Am offered the same tracking number which still doesn't work. The Agent promises again to check with the Logistics team and get back soon. I ask for the Supervisor Arif, who helped me the last time, but he's already left for the day. So, I decide to call it a day too, hoping someone will call me tomorrow and just say "Mai Delhivery se bol raha hun Sir, aur aapke darwaaze ke ikdum saamne khadaa hun :P" (Translation: Sir, I'm from Delhivery and here outside your door/apartment to deliver the courier)

Tuesday, 25th Aprtil (Calendar Days elapsed: 3, Business Days elapsed: 3)

I track the shipment on Delhivery at 1pm, it's still going Ghajini on me. So, I get back to work. I try again at 6pm, and the Tracking number is still not recognized. The shipment number is not recognized too. I browse through About Us and get some comfort seeing IIT & IIM multiple times on the page. Mann mein hai vishwaas, Courier pakka pahunchegaa, ek din (Translation: I have faith that the courier will reach me, One day)

No-one from Logistics team has cared to call me yet, so I call their customer care number again. The agent as usual puts me on hold, and after a few minutes, the only update he has is that they had sent an email to the Courier company but haven't heard back. Now, they will escalate! Kursi ki peti baandh leejiye, mahaashaiy ... (Translation: Fasten your seat belt...)

I ask to speak to Arif, the supervisor and after a short wait, I get through to him. He assures me that they've shipped the order and there seems to be some problem with the Delhivery website. It's still expected to reach within the time promised, which BTW, is 3-7 working days. Apparently, this time the item has been shipped from their warehouse in Bhiwandi and is on it's way to my home in Bangalore.

I ask Arif why they use these little-known courier services when they have options like DTDC and others. I'm told it's owned by the same group. Sounds like a "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours, and meanwhile the customer can just scratch their head wondering when they'll get their shipment. Besides, they's no other company covering Bhiwandi. TriviaThe main mode of transport within Bhiwandi Nizampur is the auto rickshaw. There are no intra-city buses as of now running within the city, but the Bhiwandi-Nizampur city Municipal Corporation is planning a bus system soon. Those Auto wallahs must be making a killing there, One and a half meter Sir, Khaali aana waapis! 

So, I was promised by Arif that he'll reach out to me by tomorrow and provide an update. I promised him that I will overcome my laziness and write down my experience with their website, and share it with him & all my friends. And I'll just hope it causes someone at sit up & take notice, and things change for the better. So here it is, I've kept my promise! 

Meanwhile, the wait continues...

[Update 25-Apr] I reached home after publishing this review and found that the item got delivered around 7:30pm today. So, the wait has ended & the 2nd experience was not as bad as the first one. However, most issues raised in this review still hold true, and I hope they improve on those. In my 2 experiences with, the only positive impression was the customer fixation of Arif, I hope they recognize his good work & hire more people like him.

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