Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Flipkart's manipulative ways. Things to remember when you buy stuff online.


Flipkart starting to manipulate Customer Reviews.. Or did they always do it?

Flipkart, India's largest e-retailing site, seems to be loosing its customer oriented approach as it tries to manipulate customer reviews in ways it wants. If you write poorly about Flipkart's service in the product review it will not be displayed. If you write good about Flipkart, it will be.

Flipkart Review Form
I recently received the following mail from Flipkart to edit my review as it contained details about my poor experience with Flipkart service. They say that the review should contain only product review and not of the service. But if you see Flipkart product reviews are filled with that of good service of Flipkart. Flipkart has a product review and a seller rating. But no place to review and rate the marketplace Flipkart itself. So people usually write about product, seller and service in the product review to help others make purchase decision of the product, seller and platform. Till now it was working well. Or so I thought. But this mail tells me that Flipkart is allowing only good reviews of itself and the less encouraging ones are not displayed. For eg. I had a problem with reciveing cash back based on an offer run by Flipkart. Now this is neither a Product issue nor a Seller issue. But it is a Flipkart issue. They dont have an option of such things to be mentioned anywhere on their website (hence this post on my website). While they are more than happy to see good things written about them on their site, I now realise that they dont display negative views. Due to huge amount of traffic, it might take time for their people to read and take down such reviews (in mycase couple of weeks), but they do it nevertheless. Now I know why most reviews on their site is positive of Flipkart. The negative ones simply arent displayed.

Flipkart's mail asking me to change my review (parallely it isnt diplayed on their site)

Dear xxx,


Thank you for your review at Flipkart for Toshiba Satellite C50-A I0013 Laptop (3rd Gen Ci3/ 2GB/ 500GB/ No OS), on Mon May 19 2014. We appreciate the effort you put into it.

We understand from your review that you are not satisfied with Flipkart's service. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you faced as a result. Your feedback has been forwarded to our customer care. They will get in touch with you.

Flipkart values customer feedback and seeks to learn and improve. Feedback regarding our service is always welcome.

However, the product reviews section is for customers to share their experience with the product, helping other customers make informed purchase decisions. We hope you understand that comments about service cannot be displayed in this section.

We would love it if you can edit your review to bring it in line with our review guidelines. You can find our review guidelines athttp://www.flipkart.com/s/help/product-review-creation-guidelines

You can edit your review by visiting this link http://www.flipkart.com/toshiba-satellite-c50-a-i0013-laptop-3rd-gen-ci3-2gb-500gb-no-os/edit-review/ITMDQ8U8HGNDH3KH?pid=COMDRG4TGAVZYGZH

Thanks for understanding, and please give us feedback on our review moderation process at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Gu7vaQxhhtVWXh5aOmEacti2VeMjLFK08nYSeeSkKws/viewform

Please feel free to send any of your queries to cs@flipkart.com

Thank you for using Flipkart.

Sincerely,
Sunita Mathew
Customer Review Team
Flipkart
"

While they blocked my following review from their site saying that it contains review of Flipkart and only product review should be mentioned, Flipkart continues to display other reviews of the same product that contain positive reviews of Flipkart and not just the product review. How manipulative. Even after my relatively poor experience with Flipkart, I trusted them to not give a poor review till their Customer service executive mis-guided me (see the mail below). But this correspondence shatters all such beliefs.

My product review on Flipkart that trigerred this
Good harware combination. Value for money at around 25k at which I bought in March. Nothing exceptional in quality of stuff, look or performance. One problem is that the laptop gets quite heated up near keyboard sometimes. Even otherwise,it is a bit hotter than my 2 year old Samsung laptop when working. I am not sure if its a product default or a norm. I will be taking it to the customer service, if the problem exagerrates. Hope Toshiba delivers good service and the promised extended warranty of 2 years.
Another problem is that I havent yet received my cashback of Rs. 1500 from Flipkart as per the AXIS offer under which I bought this laptop. On interacting with their customer care they seem to be misguiding me (or maybe they themselves are not aware of the info and offers on their own site). I have written again to them. Hope Flipkart maintains its promises of offers, cashbacks and discounts than perform like a local player who doesnt deliver on its promise.
I will further update my review once the issue is resolved.
1 * for Flipkart service
3 * for the product.

A Customer review of the same product containing info about service that is still displayed on Flipkart









The negative service review of Flipkart was after the following mis-guiding customer service reply stating that my cash-back had been re-imbursed while it hadnt (and subsequently they accepted it).

Customer-Service Reply to my query on cash-back that lead to poor service review
"
Hello XXX,

Order Id: OD40315028044
Product : Toshiba Satellite C50-A I0013 Laptop (3rd Gen Ci3/ 2GB/ 500GB/ No OS) (Luxury White Pearl)

Thank you for writing in.

The 10% cash back has been included in the final price of this order. The list price of the product is Rs.26,765/- and after the discount of Rs.1,599/- the final price is Rs.25,166/-.

We hope that you find the above update helpful and please let us know if you have any further queries in this regard.

We request for your patience and kind understanding in this regard.

Did I solve your problem? Please click here to let me know.

Please write back to us should you have any other questions or need further assistance.

Regards,
Geetheswar T.
Customer Support

"

Most customers would forget the schemes on a purchase after 2-3 months and might accept this reply. The truth in my case was that there were two offers on the purchase.
1- Extra Rs. 1599 off on select Intel laptops (visbile along with the order for the CS and me in my account)
2- Extra 10% off cashback (upto Rs.1500) offer on using Axis (not visible to me in my account but applicable).
And the customer service nicely clubbed these two to say that the cashback of Rs.1500 had been made.
So I suggest that you to save a copy of the scheme details that are valid on your purchase for use later to avoid being fooled by customer service people in this way.
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