You can call me a veteran customer of e-commerce in India. Even before flipkart and snapdeal, I used to order items from Ebay, Amazon and various e-commerce sites from abroad. This is because I have a sound understanding of how e-commerce works and the risks involved in it. Having said that, I always keep a watchful eye on the credibility of the site before any purchase it made. This has helped me in avoiding terrible experiences when it comes to purchasing items online.
However, my recent experience with Pepperfry.com furniture has left me eating my own feet, particularly because I used to champion the e-commerce sites in India for their customer service. So, what really happened? Here’s the story.
It was in February 27th this year that my old computer chair suddenly broke down after years. Without second thought, I headed to pepperfry.com to order a new chair. The brand of Pepperfry.ccom furniture had caught my attention since last year particularly because of a nice collection of furnitures. So, I ordered my chair and an extra foldable chair which I thought could be used occasionally for guests. What follows are a series of terrible experiences.
#1. First of all, when I tried to complete the payment, their website went down and I couldn’t complete the transaction. So, I called them up and explained the situation. An ideal response to this would have been a status reset so that I can resume my transaction. But no, they told me to cancel the existing order and start a new one. Thanks to them, I had to start from scratch and now, I have two order items.
#2. Two days later, I thought I’d check the status and opened their tracking page. I was surprised because even though I was logged in to their site, the tracking form required my order number, my phone number and a captcha. Who needs a captcha when you are a registered customer who has purchased an item? And worst of all, I had a hard time finding the right order number as there were lots of numbers which could have been the order number.
#3. During purchase, the order showed that the item will be shipped by 3rd march. It was 5th of march and it was showing the same thing. What’s the point of tracking if there are only two possible states – “will ship by ” and “shipped”(when delivered). Today is march 18th and guess what, I haven’t received the 2nd item and the tracking page shows this.
#4. Can you guys make out what’s wrong with the first chair? It’s not a chair. It’s a toy. No, it’s not even a toy because it’s too big to be a toy and too small to be a chair. Well, it’s my mistake I didn’t check the size details but nobody expects this when they buy a chair. If it was a little smaller than the standard size of a chair, it would have been a different case. This will clear your doubt on the size of the chair.
Here’s a more convincing one.
So, I called them up, asking them for a return. It’s a rather cheap chair but there’s no point buying a chair which has no value. Well, their answer was that the specs are up in their website and it cannot be returned. What about the 30 days money back guarantee? “It’s not applicable in this item”. After a few minutes of convincing, it didn’t work out and I stopped it. It was useless. But I thought I could at-least save others from the same terrible experience and here I am, writing this post.
My take on this is that Pepperfry is a new e-commerce company and like all other startups, they have their weakness. But unfortunately, their weakness is in delivery, customer experience and service. I hope they try and make things better in the future but for now, I would recommend to stay away from pepperfry.com if you don’t wish to go through the same hassle. Btw, I’m still waiting for the 2nd chair after 20 days. Now, it’s up to you to decide.