The need to be educated on dealing with consumer fraud cases
Online shoppers are unaware of their legal rights when shopping onlineC S Sudheer
Aamir is a software engineer who has been working for one of the renowned IT companies in Bengaluru. Due to a very heavy schedule and time constraints, he often finds it convenient to do some shopping, online. On one such occasion, he had ordered two smartphones worth Rs 10,000 each, from an online shopping portal and had made a payment online, for both these smartphones. However, after 2 days, Aamir had to cancel both orders but, he received a refund for only one of the smartphones (i.e. he received just 10k).
After being cheated, Aamir kept calling the company and wrote emails to get his money refunded. But, all he got back was, "We regret your inconvenience and your problem will soon be resolved ".
Just like Aamir, there are millions of dissatisfied customers out there, whose complaints are never heard. This is just one example of an issue that consumers face when they use the online means of shopping. While the Government has taken several initiatives towards the protection of consumers through the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, consumers are still not aware of them.
According to ‘The Asia Pacific Fraud Insights Report – 2017’, more than 48% of Indian consumers, have experienced frauds at the retail Levon,
A majority of the consumers are left unaware of their legal rights while shopping online. Additionally, most of the customers are not even aware of the legal steps to be taken, when they are being cheated. Of those who do complain, around 80% of the complaints are never resolved. Moreover, they would be charged, if they want to take legal action against the company, because of which they shy away from taking such steps.
The solution at hand, is to educate consumers on their safety and rights, while purchasing online. Social media has been used to a great extent by consumers to share their grievances against brands. However, they need a little more guidance on adopting the right approach for filing such complaints.
Consumers are unsure about their next steps, and often let go of the complaint. The end product is unanswered queries and dissatisfaction with the brand. As there is no awareness about this among other consumers, many more citizens tend to face the same set of challenges.
Online portals and startups are now taking initiatives, to help educate consumers on the legal side of online shopping. For example, Iamcheated.com helps consumers file legal complaints against frauds and also connect them to the brand for a permanent solution. As brands are extremely particular about their image among consumers, they regularly check online to search and scrutinize any complaint against them.
This helps consumers stay abreast, of the legalities that come in their way, and help brands retain clients and build their brand loyalty.