Today the headline in the newspaper I subscribe to referred to the funding eCommerce website SnapDeal has raised recently. In the same breath as Flipkart.com and Snapdeal.com, the newspaper also mentioned ShopClues.com 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 Shopclues.com, (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 deal - MT 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]
|Notice the Specs|
Compare this with the original:
|Original Specs - Same - Check!|
Unfortunately, what you see on ShopClues.com 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.
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|
|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|
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:
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 Shopclues.com 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!