Saturday, September 20, 2014 in cahoots with Cheats!

[Collecting from the Wordpress page]

In continuation with my trysts with ShopClues, where having received a fake product, I had raised the issue to their senior management, who couldn't care less.

By chance, I had marked the mail to the support team as well, and they at least responded. Their response however, was completely unexpected and quite surprising.

I had not expected them to take ownership of the fake product and start claiming that it was the original product as advertised. This is despite the fact that you can see multiple users raising the same issue on their own pages.

Buyers who caught the fakes
 Buyers who caught the fakes

The fact that they have ignored responding to the 12 points of differences that I had pointed out to them, appears to be out of some iota of shame.

I forwarded the response to the management team, not hoping for an answer, but by way of giving them a head-up that I will be sharing this in the public forums.

This is the actual response I had received from the support team:
On 16 Sep 2014 11:16, "" <> wrote:

##- Please type your reply above this line -##

Your request (#1096064) has been solved. To reopen this request, reply to this email or click the link below:

ShopClues Support, Sep 16 11:16 AM:
Dear Rahul,

Thank you for shopping with

This is with reference to your order no. 19721865.

We express our inability to accept your return request as we have sent you the same product ordered by you. Please refer to for return policies. We appreciate your understanding in this matter.

For further assistance, kindly refer to

Best Regards,
Customer Support Team

Rahul Raj, Sep 12 09:04 PM:
There has been no response from your end.

Do let me know if you are handling this, else I will look for resolution
through other channels.

The legal team that we retain at our organisation has advised that I raise
a simple consumer court complaint against your firm under the relevant
sections as the more appropriate as well as more effective course of
action. This is being suggested in conjunction with a release of the
information to media channels which may help others individuals who may
have faced the similar issues and also to bolster the claim against you.

I intend to heed their advice in case your team chooses not to respond in
the next 1-2 days.

Rahul Raj

With righteous indignation I responded back to the support team challenging them to respond to the points of differences I had shared:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rahul Raj <What_you_expect_this_to_be @Gmail>
Date: Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 12:22 PM
Subject: Re: [] Re: Fake item sold by (Re: Fwd: complaint : Web page error)
To: "" <>

How is it the same product as ordered???.!!! :
1. It is not 9000 mAh capacity as advertised
2. Original accessories as mentioned are not provided
3. Weight of original (as mentioned on your page and also on Samsung product page) was 265 grams, thus us under 150 grams
4. The product code mentioned on back is not a Samsung original code. So it is not an original Samsung product, or even one manufactured by Samsung  authorised original equipment manufacturer

Explain again how this is the same product as ordered?

Don't expect me to take a case of cheating lying down.

Understand that I am Insisting on providing me the product that was mentioned on the page, and no other. I have not asked for refund as yet.

Confirm back on priority

Rahul Raj

This was followed by silence from the support team. For people who have read the other posts, this would not come as a surprise, but a pattern definitely emerges: Every time there is a difficult question to answer, the team takes on the vow of silence. मौनम सम्मति लक्षणम?? (Sanskrit: Silence signifies agreement)

I forwarded the mail to the senior team at ShopClues, just so they could not feign ignorance on a later date. BTW, I have not received any bounces from any of these mailboxes so the IDs are definitely up and running.

From: Rahul Raj <What_you_expect_this_to_be @Gmail>
Date: Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 3:54 PM
Subject: Re: [] Re: Fake item sold by (Re: Fwd: complaint : Web page error)


This is the kind of response your team has sent after I sending a 12 point list of how the product delivered is not the same as the kind advertised, committed and contracted.

Do note that this claim of the Product being "same" despite the differences being pointed out, has come on behalf of and not some third party vendor. The vendor has not contested that it is fake, it is which is making this claim after being made aware and with full knowledge of the deviations and thus is the principal party and may no longer be covered under the agency definition/covenants.

Rahul Raj

Lack of pride from the senior management of

[Collecting from the Wordpress page]

On receiving a fake product from I had sent a mail to the entire senior management of ShopClues alerting them of the fact that their website was facilitating something not legal. My expectation was that they will either take action, or else, defend their business model as a marketplace.

Surprisingly, the response was different, namely, Nada, None, Silence.

Looks like they are aware, but are not bothered by this - do first generation entrepreneurs have really so little pride in their work??? Very surprised!

It actually started with me trying to use the webportal to raise the issue of fake product to the ShopClues customer service. This is what I was posting, but kept getting a webserver error: has provided a fake/counterfeit product to me under the guise of original.

This must be replaced with a new, unused and original product as committed. I do not want a refund as that is the easy way out by selling fakes to unsuspecting customers and then refunding the few who are able to identifiy fakes, and thus profiteering from an illegal activity.

Please note that counterfeiting is a cognizable offence (read arrest does not need warrant) and facilitating the same is grounds for criminal prosecution as per section 102 and 103 of Trademark Act, 1999 of the Indian penal code.

Issues with the product :
A. Capacity is much less than a third of advertised as it cannot fully charge a Note 2 even after fully charging the power Bank with a 2A supply (Samsung original charger)
B. Weight is half of what it should be, around 140 grams instead of 265 grams as mentioned on the official product page.
C. Battery pack is not genuine
D. Box is not sealed
E. Old used product provided
F. No product info stickers on the box as present on genuine boxes
G. Data cables as mentioned on the box not provided
H. Generic non genuine data cable provided
I. Sticker on back is askew and does not appear genuine
J. Original manual not provided.
K. Non genuine product flier provided with spelling errors which highlights it is not genuine
L. Samsung service center has checked and confirmed that the Product code as mentioned on the back sticker is not present in any of their databases, including international database. They have found it on some Chinese site, but the products listed there are not genuine.

Rahul Raj

Back sticker
Back sticker

As suggested by the webserver error message, I then dropped a line to the webmaster :

From: Rahul Raj <What_you_expect_this_to_be @Gmail>
Date: Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 9:53 AM
Subject: complaint : Web page error
I am getting an error while submitting complaint on the portal at around 9:45 am today.

Please have it added  as a complaint from my id:

Ref: order number 19721865
Complaint option : File an issue
Issue type : Post Delivery Issues
Sub type : Significantly different from description
Attachments : 1 image (attached)
Full text : <As above>

This got no response as well, so I finally mailed the management team:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rahul Raj <What_you_expect_this_to_be @Gmail>
Date: Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 5:06 PM
Subject: Fwd: complaint : Web page error

Dear Sandeep/ Team,

It is extremely disappointing to get fake products from a website which normally is in the news for the leadership.

It is even more dissatisfying to note that it is very difficult to contact your support team to get resolution for a fake product sold on (Order number 19721865, - attaching PDF as well for records). Discussing the large number of points with the call center agent is rather futile for the customer.

The option available to the buyer is to raise an issue through the web portal but the same does not work and sending mails to the webmaster (as directed on the error page) gets no response.

Request your assistance in resolving this issue and providing me with the original product as committed. On the face of it, it is a blatant attempt at fraud hoping only  a few customers will catch on, and you need to set an example out of this case on how attempts of fraud are handled by ShopClues.


Rahul Raj

PDF Attached

Back sticker
Back sticker
This got no response as well. I hope your experience is different.

In the meanwhile, spread the word people!

Fake products on : Caveat Emptor

[Collecting from the Wordpress page]

Today the headline in the newspaper I subscribe to referred to the funding eCommerce website SnapDeal has raised recently. In the same breath as and, the newspaper also mentioned which really got my goat.

I have dealt with most eCommerce sites in the Indian market space and NO experience has been as bad as it has been with, (followed by Ebay India but that is another story). This website appears to be out there to cheat customers hoping that the newly on the net Indians will fail to notice fakes. There are a ton of bad reviews about the products by their own verified buyers, but unfortunately I read them only in hindsight.

Recently, I had bought a product which looked like an awesome dealMT Samsung 9000 mAh Power Bank (Black and White Color) - OEM. This was being sold by a Delhi Based seller Gadget Mania. The changelog is saved here just in case they make changes to the page. I have also saved a PDF version.

The actual product can be found here: Official Product Page. Surprisingly, this was exactly the specs listed on the ShopClues page listed above, most noticeably:

1. Samsung/ OEM as the manufacturer [Check]

2. 9000 mAh capacity [Check]

3. Same dimensions [Check]

4. Same weight (265 grams) [Check]

Image here:

Notice the specs
Notice the Specs

Compare this with the original:

Original Specs - Same - Check!
Original Specs - Same - Check!

Unfortunately, what you see on may not  be what you get! Specially when it appears to be an awesome deal, hence, Caveat Emptor

What I actually got was something entirely different:

My first suspicion was when the box was not sealed, looked old and did not have any Samsung holograms, or product stickers and barcodes.

Unsealed box
Unsealed, Used

Next up, the battery pack was quite light - nowhere close to 265 grams. In fact, I later measured, it was under 150 grams. Also, the sticker was askew with a little bit of plastic sticking to the back - tell tale signs of a poorly manufactured product (read fake).

Product sticker askew
Product sticker askew
<150 grams instead of 265 grams
Light weight surprise

The cables mentioned on the page, and the box, were missing, instead, there was this generic cord, and surprisingly, it had the Apple proprietary lightning connector:

Lightning connector on a 'Samsung' product
Lightning connector on a 'Samsung' product

And finally, the back sticker which was in Chinese, hoping that the customers will believe it: Everything these days is made in China, right? The product code is not recognized by Samsung product registration servers BTW:

Back sticker
Back sticker

The merchant had shared their email with promise to revert quickly, so I sent a mail to them,but there was no response. So, I used the "Ask a Merchant" feature of and promptly got a reply. This went as under:

Reference: Order delivered today You have not replied in spite of claiming that you respond within few hours. You promised a genuine item and nothing less than that is acceptable. I will be raising a complaint for fake item tomorrow.

09-Sep-2014 01:29 AM

Gadget Mania sorry, unable to understand, already mentioned oem product

09-Sep-2014 08:47 AM

RAHUL RAJ I had sent a detailed mail with photographs to your email id mentioned on the product page (Accessories. retailstore) yesterday. What are you not able To understand?? This page does not allow numeric details to be shared. O in OEM stands for Original! Not fake /used.!! Respond immediately please.

09-Sep-2014 09:12 AM

Gadget Mania what you want you want replacement or refund

09-Sep-2014 13:56 PM

RAHUL RAJ Replacement with new, unused and original product as committed. I do not want a refund.

09-Sep-2014 14:08 PM


And silence after that!!

Obviously, I left a bad review. I am thinking of taking the legal recourse, but I will have to take time off from a slightly busy work schedule. So, let's see.

Till then, let's spread the word!


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Jan-1 2011 - New year wishes

(collecting from FB)

Still Relevant:
Wishes for the new decade: May your options never suffer time decay, may 400 Cr scams erroneously park funds in your account, may your company HR realize that money is the biggest motivator, may your cell battery last through all important business hours, may you never fall sick on a weekend, may your increments beat food inflation, may you find one politician you can admire without being embarrassed.. Cheers!!!

DND - Complain today for a peaceful tomorrow

For ppl on Vodafone (and possibly other networks as well) and registered for DND/DNC - Simple way to lodge a complaint:

SMS to 1909 with the following:

<details of the issue - spam call/SMS, nature of call> , call/sms from <Phone No> at <HH:MM>, <DD/MM/YY>
SMS to 1909: Message text -
Spam call offering astrology services, CALL from +91xxxxxxxxxx at 17:50, 12/01/14
Note the two Commas, do not add any other comma in the message body.
Extremely easy to lodge a compl if your phone supports templates and quick response. Have had good successs with the service, with multiple land-lines being permanently disconnected.

Dynastic curse on India

(collecting from FB)

Quite frankly, if you outlaw dynastic traditions, including a limit on inheritance, you will curb the major chunk of corruption.
Family and progeny's welfare - "I am doing this for their welfare/future" - is how everyone justifies their acts in their minds (leaving aside the petty corruption fostered by a combination of poor pay, poor recruitment, poor resource availability and cumbersome process).

Put simply:

(1) Put restrictions on having any blood/close relative in the same organization for a set number of generations (to prevent cross marriages). With the recent changes in Company Law, shell companies/cross holdings and complicated investment routes for front companies, should also be curbed to some extent.
(2) Limit the inheritance value to social security levels - provide for subsistence but not for opulence - Force everyone to be masters of their own destiny, and not depend on hand-outs.
(3) Put limits on number of consecutive terms - if 2, 4-year terms is good enough for US president, it better be good enough for everything else. With the Indian population, you will never have a shortage of key skill-sets.

Obviously, none of it will work without universal compulsory education and free access to information (internet, etc) 'coz quite frankly, "Gyaan hi aapko aapka hak dilata hai" [my effort to lighten an inordinately heavy post]

Bad stats in hallowed halls

(collecting from FB)

First/ Early impressions on Raguram Rajan - Enviable background and Awesome experience but confusing policy signals and *definitely* not a statistician:

Very surprised that he allowed such a flawed index to be published, could be political compulsions as he definitely does not appear to be that naive.

Full report here:


feeling annoyed.

Farming Reforms - the lack of it (more precisely)

(collecting from FB)

Agriculture and allied sectors account for 50% of the workforce / population of India. How do you "control" such a big vote bank? Definitely not by allowing improvements in the quality of life... The traditional method has been to invest as little as possible into warehousing facilities which puts the farmer in a very pitiful situation, given a choice between cartelized / license-Raj afflicted APMC and rotting produce. The middlemen squeeze both ends of the supply chain and provide the political masters with the swelling coffers of the always welcome funds.

Little surprise that Mafia/Thugs/Builders/Middlemen are so closely associated with politics.

No bed of roses: Sachin Shewale, a farmer in Nashik, was forced to sell his produce at a low price to the traders' cartel, as he did not have proper storage facility. Photo by Janak Bhat

Managing 'talented' talent!

(collecting from FB)

Relative Grading: Was reading someone's opinion on what went wrong with Obamacare website (link 2) which led me to the more generic problem that plagues corporate world - How to review 'good' people and what happens when you don't do it right? (Link 1)

Link 3 is a generic good read on how corporate bureaucracy kills the best talent, specifically how MS went from a $600 Billion company in 2000 to $300B today (Link 4 - Apple went from $5B to $600B in 2012 and $460B today)

Vote for Change

(Collecting from FB)

Have you checked the voter registration list?

It's not just the people who vote which decides elections, to a large (larger?) extent it's the people who don't - different demographic /ethnic /social segments have different propensities for turning up at the election booth.

Read this report in context of the last three census reports to understand the direction and reason of vote flow :

Time for compulsory/ e-voting? Argentina, Australia and Brazil already follow the compulsory voting principle.

eBay Guarantee is Worth Nothing (or very little)!

(collecting some thoughts from FB - eBay  India deleted some critical comments so it makes sense to preserve these for posterity):

On receiving a defective product from eBay, I raised the issue on their facebook wall. First, they directed me to their webapp which appears to the public as a resolution being provided but is nothing more than a mechanism where you can submit a query. Obviously they gave a poor answer again, so I decided to shame them - I pasted their response back on the wall so that everyone could see the query and results. 

eBay's response: they simply deleted all comments and disabled my write access!!

Mine does not seem to be an exceptional case, it seems to be the normal practice from eBay India as there were other critical comments that they have deleted as well.

This is what I had posted as a response to someone who had mentioned that eBay Guarantee is a great thing in a thread:

Don't buy any expensive stuff from eBay, most items are actually not covered under the eBay Guarantee. When You complain and post on their page, they will post a link for resolution.

Just so people know what happens when @ebaydotin posts links asking people to go there for quick resolution, copy pasting from what I actually got there. A) they provide no resolution and B) they are quite unapologetic about unethical business practice of misleading people with eBay Guarantee logo for products they do not intend to Guarantee:

Me: Why do you show eBay Guarantee while buying products for which you have no intention of honouring the same? Also, a 2800 word T&C with a 10 word clause for exclusion of manufacturer warranty may be legally correct, but is an unethical business practice. People should know about this behaviour.

13, Jan 2014

EBay-Unethical-Stuck-Tape:Dear Rahul, We would like to inform you that your claim has been denied as your item was under manufacture warranty and according to our eBay guarantee program we exclude item with manufacture warranty.

Also we would like to inform you that our system is designed in such a way that in every listing you will find eBay guarantee logo.

We would request you to kindly visit the service center and resolve your issue or else you can contact your seller and resolve your issue amicably. Thank you.

The Power of Zero

(Update: A few members have asked me to make this less 'random', more to the point and more readable)

The Power of Zero OR 
To get somewhere, remember where you came from OR 
Bad Math and Bad Rebuttals

I recently received a few links ([1], [2], [3], [4]) which show some 'brain-melting maths' to prove that the infinite series represented by S = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + ... is equal to a small negative fraction (-
112 to be specific). I am sure that the brain melting preceded the maths rather than the other way around, else this would not have seen the light of day, let alone so many posts.

On the face of it, the proof looks to be quite smart, which explains why it is showing up in so many places. Plus, the honorific attached to the authors was that of Professors, so very few people actually challenged it.

The rebuttal [5] missed the point as well.

First a summary:

The 'proof' uses the Cesaro summation of the Grandi's series as the foundation (*NOTHING* wrong with this, in the context).
Reusing the text from the 'Bad Rebuttal' which actually provides a good summary:
============= Begin Ctrl-c-Ctrl-v ====================
We'll consider three infinite series:

S1 = 1 - 1 + 1 - 1 + 1 - 1 + ...
S2 = 1 - 2 + 3 - 4 + 5 - 6 + ...
S3 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + ...

S1 is something called Grandi's series. According to the video, taken to infinity, Grandi's series alternates between 0 and 1. So to get a value for the full series, you can just take the average - so we'll say that S1
12. <snip>

Now, consider S2. We're going to add S2 to itself. When we write it, we'll do a bit of offset:

S2          : 1 - 2 + 3 - 4 + 5 - 6 + ...
+ S2      :      1 - 2 + 3 - 4 + 5 + ...
====   : ===============================
2 * S2     : 1 - 1 + 1 - 1 + 1 - 1 + ...

So 2 * S2 = S1; therefore S2 =
S12= 14.

Now, let's look at what happens if we take the S3, and subtract S2 from it:

S3           :    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + ...
- S2         : - [1 - 2  + 3 - 4  + 5  - 6 + ...]
===== : ===============================
S3 - S2    :    0 + 4 + 0 + 8 + 0 + 12 + ...
S3 - S2     : = 4(1 + 2 + 3 + ...) = 4 * S3 and therefore -S2 = 3 * S3 and S3 = -

======== End Ctrl-c-Ctrl-v and Bad-Maths ==========

Good Maths - The actual rebuttal, etc:

First, there is nothing wrong with assigning the Cesaro summation of
12 to Grandi's series, as long as you know 'where you came from'.

Understand it this way, if a car starts at rest, and then accelerates at a constant rate to hit 1 mile per hour (a rather safe driver) in exactly one hour, and then decelerates at the same constant rate in the next hour, his speed at the hour mark would be 1, then 0, then 1 again and so on. This is what you expect at the end of each term in the Grandi series (n1:1, n2:1-1=0, n3:1-1+1=1, and so on). By following the above approach, the car would have covered
12 mile in the first hour, and another 12 mile in the second. If the driver continues in the same fastidious vein till gas stocks last, he would have done an 'average' of 12 mile per hour over the course of the adventure. You can also think of this as the area under the line graph that keeps going from 0 to 1 and then back to 0 after each unit on the x-axis. Phil Plait uses a similar Stairways to Heaven analogy in link [4] - look at that graph for reference or the first graph on the Google Spreadsheet [6] []. 
 S2 derivation is also correct as the average converges to 14:

Now that we have the Cesaro sums out of the way, we are ready to identify the fallacy - remember the power of the zero!
In fact, the original proof is correct up to this point:
S3 - S2: 0 + 4 + 0 + 8 + 0 + 12 + ...

The failure is in the next step where the right hand side is equated to 4 times S3. The power of zero resides in the fact that you cannot ignore it. Remember, the car analogy up top? If the car runs at a constant speed for an hour, it *seriously* impacts the averages, and it does not actually start running 4 times faster if it does a 4x speed only the other hour. Fact is, the right hand side of the equation is actually marginally less than S3. It would be closer to state that S3 - S2 = ~S3 (approximately S3) or almost S3 if our driver broke all laws of physics (and the speed of light barrier) and followed the speed-acceleration requirement of the higher terms in our series. Look at the graph 3 in [6], Average of (S3 - S2) (red line) is marginally lower than Average of S3 (orange line).
Graph 4 compares S3 (Green line) and (S3 - S2) (Blue line), you can see how S3 manages a slender lead while the Blue line zigs-zags around it.:
The 'trick' or mistake lies in forgetting 'where we came from' - Cesaro sum makes sense for the series, if and only if you are looking at the 'averaging approximations'. Once you start doing mathematical operations with infinity, the vortex opens and sucks your melted brain into the parallel universe.
However, if forced to approach the Cesaro sums with arithmetics, do note that by the very nature of partial sums, the order of the series and the presence of zeroes may make a huge difference to the partial sums. Also, deductions on series where the 'average' is a divergent function, require special care and caution. Focusing on the differential of the the function should make arithmetic more intuitive and also allow one to appreciate the impact of zero slope.
So long, and thank you for the fish, er your time, for reading this. Hope you learnt something about the dependability of whole numbers - their sum does NOT become negative, however you may twist it - AND any 'Physics application' of this 'property', as claimed by the Wikipedia article [7], needs a serious peer review.
I think Ramanujan was pranking Dr Hardy in 1913 with this.

Rahul Raj


Bad Maths:
[1] Authors' site - 'Original' source :
[2] On YouTube - Same source:
[3] Authors' blog where they defend the same :
[4] Bad Astronomer - Phil Plait not understanding the less celestial numbers/ the FB link I received through multiple sources:

Bad Rebuttal:
[5] Someone who 'misses' the point :

Almost Good Maths:
[6] Calculations for the Cesaro sum - Google Docs link: