Monday, February 09, 2015

Flipkart sellers trying mind games

Flipkart sellers seem to be trying lots of mind games on the unsuspecting customers. Of late, I am seeing many manipulative tactics, hoping that some unsuspecting customers fall pray to these and sellers and flipkart can make money.
Example 1: Chetan Bhagat’s Revolution Twenty20
I haven’t read this book yet and wanted to buy this book at a reasonable price. Each time I try buying, I am put off by cheap and dirty tactics of flipkart sellers.

This seller has listed Revolution 2020 for mere Rs 22. This is very unrealistic price for the book, which is certainly worth a bit more. Very tempting, but once you decide to buy, you’re put off by a massive shipping charge of Rs 100. As per flipkart’s policy, delivery is free if order value is Rs 500 or more. So I tried to order 25 copies of the book so that I don’t have to pay hefty delivery charge. But I was slapped with the message that only 12 copies could be ordered per customer, at a selling price of 264 Rs but a massive delivery charge of Rs 1200. A kannada saying ‘nose ornament is more heavier than nose’ holds true here. Won’t the per copy delivery cost come down if multiple copies of same book is to be delivered together to same person at same address? Why simply multiply already exorbitant delivery charge? Why not their upper ceiling for free delivery being honoured? I want to go to their warehouse wherever it is in India and pickup these books at Rs 22 a piece myself- can flipkart or its seller facilitate that?

I think some sellers on flipkart are trying to play mind games, hoping that few customers will add their products to cost thinking of its low selling price, without noticing heavy delivery charge added during check out. As a customer, total amount I pay to receive the goods matters- not how it is split up. Irrespective of the label given- like selling price, tax, delivery charge, service charge and so on, how much I will end up paying in total is what I worry about. So if there’s a fair competition among vendors, comparison is easy. But here, so many manipulative tactics are adapted, that I should exercise lots more caution to ensure I am not cheated.
Some vendors put a delivery charge even when their product is priced above Rs 500. They just list lower price to grab attention and try to recover some money in the name of delivery charges. 
For same book, there’re half a dozen vendors selling for Rs different range of selling price+ delivery charge combination. WSRetail’s  selling price is Rs 123 and delivery charge is Rs 40. Why this level of variation? Flipkart as a platform should ensure that prices of a specific product are in a reasonable range. If someone has listed for too low or too high, obviously there could be hidden intentions. 
Further, I have also noticed sudden increase in original price to show higher discount levels. I was tracking this rain cover for long time.

Example 2: Digiflip Rain Cover
Its original price was Rs 199 and selling price was hovering between Rs 140-180. But one night, it’s original price shot up to Rs 499 and selling price was set to Rs 199. When asked, got some vague and generic response that prices are subject to constant change. Few weeks later price came down to Rs 125, when I ordered 2 units. Today it is again at about 148 Rs. Because of this experience, I am now very vigilant of the price I way- I can never trust what flipkart displays. I spend more time validating the price against different websites and also spend some time monitoring its price fluctuation to see where the lower and upper limit lies. Otherwise earlier I used to order things I definetly need, when I need it, with or without offer and without spending too much time thinking.The bottomline is that I can never trust flipkart for what they say. The honesty is gone. Everything is manipulative tactics and attempts to trick customer into buying goods by hook or crook.
Flipkart as a platform is probably giving flexibility to vendors to decide their own strategy. But it is becoming like Rs 1 base fare air ticket sale, where fuel surcharge is tripled to factor discount given on base fare. I am only interested in total amount I need to pay. 
As a platform provider, I wish flipkart enforces certain standards and fair practices, so me as a customer can save lot of verification and validation effort and trust the platform.


Indrani said...

Valid points. Flipkart should make a note of this.

Anita said...

Very true.
Even I have faced the same issues.
The fact is - we end up spending so much time on research whether the product is available at the right price! Then, we can never be sure!
What a waste!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Indrani: thanks. They may not care as they will certainly find few careless customers who end up paying extra

@Anita: True.. If I can't trust a platform fully, I tend to reduce my exposure to it

amitabhagupta said...

This digiflip Rain Cover is pathetic. Its MRP should not be Rs 500, but only 100. I have seen my friends using it and they are dis satisfied.

I had custom made one through the guy from which I buy my trekking gears. It fits all my bagpacks.

Shrinidhi Hande said...


Thanks for the feedback. The Wildcraft covers cost Rs 250 in local stores. I bought flipkart ones at Rs 125. Yet to use now as rainy season has stopped. Let me see how good they are next season