NEW DELHI — Taking the advantage of Google’s free product listings across its various platforms including Google Search, various eCommerce websites have started to abuse the offering of the American multinational technology company.
Online shopping websites can showcase their products on the Google Search Shopping tab for free. A connection to Google Merchant Center takes care of uploading and syncing product data, automatically surfacing this information for free listings, Google Ads, and other Google services.
Shopping websites can benefit from this feature but there are people out there who abuse the same feature and take orders for various products which they never deliver, even after collecting online payment, and deny cash on delivery option.
Even if the product is delivered, it is delivered very much late. The delivery process is late enough to make the product useless and a waste.
Online payments collected but products’ delivery delayed by over a fortnight
I placed an order on detec.in on August 23 for a Samsung product listed on the website, which I initially noticed as an Ad on Google Search. Given the product was out of stock on major shopping sites like Amazon and Flipkart, I placed the order and made an online payment.
When I logged in to the same website the next day, there were no records of my account. In fact, I got no email or text message either, which could have given me order details or delivery details.
Detec.in didn’t respond to calls, messages
I messaged the detec.in on their WhatsApp number but the user said that the order will be dispatched tomorrow. Since that reply, no message or email has been replied to.
I also initiated a chat on their website during which the automated bot flashed a phone number. When I called on the same, the person who picked up the call claimed that he is a former employee of the company and left the job some five months back.
Payment gateways also desist from taking action
When all the efforts to receive a response from the operators of detec.in failed, I filed a payment dispute with RazorPay, which is their payment gateway. However, the RazorPay team didn’t initiate any action against them even when I sent multiple proofs over email. Instead, they denied the refund and asked to initiate a chargeback request.
“We are a just payment gateway and only facilitate merchants with online payments. As per your concern, we got an update from our concerned team that the merchant is not maintaining sufficient funds in their accounts. Due to insufficient funds in the merchant’s account, we do not have the feasibility for us to raise a refund. We would like to inform you there is a provision as the chargeback facility is for the consumer’s protection and can only be filled by the customer instead of the company or the service provider,” RazorPay said over email and disposed of the grievance.
It is not an isolated case but there are hundreds of reviews online, which testify that certain eCommerce sites have been abusing advertising platforms and payment gateways to loot people by listing popular products on websites, taking orders, collecting online payments and never delivering the products.
Product delivery terribly delayed
The products from detec.in are delayed, at least in my case. Even if the products are delivered, the delivery is delayed by over a fortnight, and customers are not provided any courier tracking number as well.
Need to be extra cautious about shopping online
The matter is of serious concern as the various scammers are extensively using advertising on social media as well as Google Search to lure consumers into making online payments for the products listed on their websites which they actually never deliver. Even if they deliver, the delivery is awfully delayed.
When searching for any product online, please be aware to purchase the same from official websites and prominent websites like Amazon, Flipkart only. If you come across a new website that lists a product of your interest, ensure to order only if there is cash on delivery option. Also, check whether the sellers have active customer support available by phone, email, or social media.