tech2 News StaffAug 22, 2014 12:49:59 IST
While users have been rejoicing to have managed to finally grab the Xiaomi Mi 3, for some of them, the happiness seems to be short lived. With the fifth week of the Xiaomi Mi 3 flash sale, we saw the same drama over how the devices were swept off the shelves within seconds, and the experience has left a bitter taste for some customers again, but this time over their confirmed orders. A look at some of the popular forums and Twitter, one will notice that Flipkart has been cancelling some orders automatically.
One such customer, Sridhar Kunte paid for the product and received a mail from Flipkart saying his order has been confirmed. But instead of receiving a package from Flipkart, two days later he was told that his order has been cancelled. Flipkart said it needed to confirm some details and couldn't get in touch with Kunte. However, Kunte told us that no attempt was made to contact him.
"They had my address, email address, phone number, and could have contacted me easily. I don't think they even put the efforts to get in touch with me. I doubt they have the number of units they are claiming, " he told Tech2. Moreover, an email assuring refund was sent immediately after his order was cancelled unceremoniously, which meant he could not even pursue a complaint since in Flipkart's eyes the entire process was done and dusted.
A look at MouthShut, and one will find similar tales about Flipkart cancelling Xiaomi orders randomly. Some of them have taken to Twitter to vent out frustration.
@Flipkart What the hell flipkart .. i successfully ordered mi 3 yesterday and u just cancelled it..this is what u do to faithful customers
— prashant kathuria (@thEvilsoul) August 20, 2014
— Paul Shepherd (@shepherdpaul90) August 20, 2014
When asked about the cancellations, Flipkart's customer support cited reasons such as 'bulk orders', 'you should have ordered it soon', and so on. When Kunte contacted customer care, he was told that he used many different accounts to book the phone and this was against Flipkart policy. But with the frenzy surrounding Xiaomi Mi 3 sales, it does bring up the question of whether Flipkart and Xiaomi have actually made the advertised number of units available for sale. One cannot even discount the possibility of a glitch in the website's servers, wherein the e-store may have picked multiple orders but could not eventually fulfil all of them.
In an effort to understand the situation, we reached out to Flipkart for a clarification, but so far we have not received a response. We will be updating this story as and when we get a comment from the company.
What we do know is that the Xiaomi Mi 3 first went on sale on July 22, and the company had claimed to receive around 1,00,000 registrations by July 21 itself. Only registered users could buy the device the next day. However, pre-registration didn’t guarantee you a unit, and it only meant you were eligible to buy the phone. As soon as the Mi 3 went live on the site, Flipkart couldn’t handle the traffic and the site crashed temporarily. Within 40 minutes, Flipkart claimed the Mi 3 was out of stock, but the site promptly said it would bring in the next batch on July 29 while the registration would begin on July 28. And to top it all, the second batch apparently sold in five seconds.
Its next three batches also sold out in mere seconds. This may sound unbelievable, but Flipkart changed the process allowing users to add the device to their carts, and pay any time later that day. All the hype has generated one simple question: How many Mi 3 units have been sold so far? If the numbers so far are to be believed than the company has managed to sell around 75,000 units in five phases.
Xiaomi is being accused of building up the demand, while not being able to deliver, and stories of automatic cancellations only make it worse.
This also raises questions about exclusive tie-ups to sell devices and whether they are really worth it, especially given the problems faced by Flipkart during the Moto G sale too. For the moment, though it does look like Xiaomi will continue the same strategy on Flipkart every Tuesday unless something changes drastically.
In mere five weeks, Xiaomi has successfully made a place for itself in the Indian market. The unique marketing strategy has worked to a great extent and you will see many lucky owners of the device reselling it on OLX, eBay and other such sites for a way higher price. Looking at the popularity of the device, issues like poor customer service and creating demand more than it can deliver could hurt Xiaomi. It may help the company sell a large number of units, but building brand loyalty and credibility is still a difficult task after this debacle.
We tried getting in touch with Flipkart, but the company hasn't responded to our queries yet.
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