My 620

It started with someone posting a query in our WhatsApp group on whether the latest retail giant, (purportedly set out make Amazon look like a shopping mall) was delivering to our place.

Even our garbage liners are shopped online, and since lockdown we had gone 99.9% online….everything delivered to our lobby ….except for the gaonti (local Indian breed) chicken and eggs.

Anyways, I’m always on the lookout for discounts and have no particular affinity to any online shopping site.

I went about very carefully. I avoided perishable items like lettuce and spinach as they might deteriorate on the way, given the supply chain issues.

After detailed scrutiny, I ordered two shampoos. The average consumption of shampoo in our house is about three large bottles a month for my three kids (including my hair loving son) and a tiny bottle for me….. my husband is thankfully not into shampoos, most likely due to the near absence of hair….but anyways to get on with the story…,

My order was promptly accepted. I paid online, not so much because of trust, but habit and more so that I wouldn’t have to change out of my comfy nightie and go down to the gate to pay.

The site did say something about things being delayed due to lockdown or something to that effect…so I didn’t bother much and forgot about the whole thing for the longest time.

Then one day my daughter, (she is very particular about which particular version of which brand she favours at a particular particular in time) came ranting about her shampoo being exhausted. I offered mine, but she flatly refused, saying mine is not worthy of her hair or something to that effect.

I had a vague memory of having ordered fresh supplies, so I went through my considerably long Amazon order list and a considerably longer BigBasket list but came up with nothing.

My memory is quite pathetic but my daughters’ cosmetics are something I dare not forget.

Then it struck me. I went to the giant’s website…..(they hadn’t even come up with an app yet) and there it was.

Well, nothing is delivered to my house in COVID times.

The delivery guy calls up and I direct him to leave the stuff at gate 2. I get an email or SMS or both saying the goods have been delivered.

Then the guard at the gate guard calls up and then the lobby guard calls up and package is collected from lobby from my good husband. There is no way a package can be delivered and not be registered.

So I berated myself for trying out the new guys, who apparently hadn’t got their act together and proceeded with the long process of recovering my 620.

It wasn’t a big sum and I could have just let it go.

But this was wrong, especially when the major stakeholder was one of the world’s richest men.

Their helpline left me helpless. So I resorted to my favourite means of communication….email.

I prefer emailing to phone calls as there’s a recorded trail.

So I found a CS Head I could write to, and wrote as threatening a letter I could,but he turned out to be a machine and gave me an automated response blaming the whole thing on covid.

Nowadays everything is blamed on covid supply chain issues, and I understand they are genuine….but you can’t pass off undelivered goods as delivered and fend off your consumer.

If there’s anything that puts me off online sites, it’s these recorded responses.

I sent a few more mails and got a complaint number. I had hit the jackpot!

But it came to nothing as I got another mail saying the issue had been resolved and the complaint had been closed.

This is priceless (no pun intended).

I was being told that my issue had been resolved, and the complaint was closed….a wonderful way of dismissing issues. Works for them, but what about me?

11th June
11th June

A computer answering again… I was determined to have some fun!

As far as checking the status in refunds, the status still showed that my goods had been delivered. How enlightening!

Now this sounded human and I was optimistic for a change.

Something clicked. I got a call from a guy speaking broken English or Hindi or both….I couldn’t figure out which, but he said I would get a refund.

I was busy rolling out rotis for my hungry son who has a bottomless pit of a stomach..,and unfortunately I simultaneously revived an IVR call stating “Aapka samay hamare liye mahatvapoorn hai…samay paanch minute”.

(Your time is precious to us…wait time 5 minutes)

I held on for five minutes…after waiting for three and a half months to hear about my 620…I was prepared to listen to their IVR for ten hours if not more.

What followed was a disappointment. That’s an understatement. I don’t know what it is about me but I always get into trouble with corporations whether it is Airtel or Suburban or Jiomart.

It was Airtel call center was informing for the fiftieth time that they were cutting my outgoing services for non payment of dues.

Our payments are automated, and they had been claiming that the dues were outstanding for fifteen days or something of that kind….don’t keep unimportant stuff in my memory.

I totally lost it, mostly because it wasn’t JioMart, and threatened to cut the line myself and move to Jio Fiber ( although I was really unhappy with the Jio guys at that point) …. if I got one more phone call from them. That did it. After three months of harassment, Airtel didn’t call again.

Anyways I got a real call by a JioMart call center guy.. by a chap with broken English who told me my money will be refunded.

I had cracked it!

I kept checking their site for any intimation of refund, but there was nothing.

Then I wrote ….again….bombarding them with stink bombs.

There was a helpline which said press three for refunds. I got an SMS link and it went straight to my order details which showed my my refund had not been received.

They have taken frustrating customers to an entirely new level and I hope things settle down soon.

On 7th August a miracle happened. I got a call from an employee who escalated the issue to the manager who gave me his WhatsApp number and ended my quest for the 620.

I will keep my end of the bargain and email him this story.

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