Last week, Indian ecommerce leader Flipkart had put up a ‘No return’ signboard on its portal. According to its revised return policy, customers could no longer request for a refund; only replacement or repair was offered. It didn’t apply to all product categories, but it included almost all major product categories such as mobile phones, electronic, small & big appliances, and furniture.
Obviously, customers weren’t happy with this change.
Change in word
According to reports, Flipkart has removed, ‘No refunds offered. All sales are final’, text from its return policy. The etailer has altered the words in the name of simplifying the text for its customers. So according to Flipkart, they didn’t change the return policy; customers and others were unable to ‘interpret’ it well.
The marketplace’s spokesperson declared,
“Flipkart’s return policy is the most customer-friendly across the industry. Customers can request for instant refunds on about two-thirds of the 1,800 categories on Flipkart, directly through the self-service option. It is hassle-free, seamless and quick, and millions of customers have benefitted from it. The policy was last changed over a year ago. In the interest of our customers, the text of the policy has been simplified and made more explicit for easy reference.”
Customers still can’t request for a refund for electronics, large appliances, furniture and few other products. But they can do the same for certain home category products, lifestyle, automotive, books and more.
Or change of heart?
A strict policy like this would have deeply affected Flipkart’s sales. Especially when its toughest rival Amazon is known as earth’s most customer-centric company. Narrowing down the return period makes sense. So does rejecting refund/return requests due to invalid reasons. But restricting refund when customers can’t try the product before buying appeared to be too extreme.
Therefore, it seems that Flipkart changed the words due to fear of losing customers, not because the text was hard to understand.
Why is Flipkart being so indecisive?
This constant yo-yoing of refund policies has left buyers confused and doesn’t reflect well on Flipkart. Testing new strategies and introducing new changes is part of a company’s growth. But for an ecommerce firm, being firm on its return policy should be their priority. How else customers would trust the etailer?
Devangshu Dutta, CEO of Third Eyesight rightly stated,
“Changing policies so frequently confuses a customer. When I buy from an ecommerce website I want to be clear about what is allowed and what is not allowed. Changing policies so often adds unpredictability to my purchase, damaging my confidence.”
Let’s hope Flipkart sticks to this version and doesn’t ‘simplifies’ the text yet again.