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The curious cases of Netmeds and Safecart 



In Dec 2015, when we got stranded in the Chennai Floods, Mom ran out of her BP medicine. We tried several medical shops but they didn’t have that particular medicine which she had the prescription for. Finally, I decided to order online. Logged onto the Netmeds website, and gave my aunt’s address as the delivery address since the phones were not working well near our house. When it came to the payment page, there was an option to add the billing address which I did and obviously that was a different address. The order was accepted and I promptly got an SMS saying it is being processed. A week later, we came to Hyderabad to collect our car and I kept getting calls from a Chennai number. I missed taking those since the phone was on silent and when I called back I couldn’t understand the IVR and just disconnected.

Since we managed to get the BP medicine at Hyderabad, we weren’t terribly worried but got curious about the order and why it hadn’t been delivered. When I called the Netmeds helpline I realised that they were the ones who had been calling me. When I got somebody on the line, they told me to send the scanned copy of the prescription. Yes, I got irritated because there was no pop-up asking me for a scanned copy of the prescription as I was placing the order. They gave me an option of sending the prescription via Whatsapp and I did that right away. Then they told me it will take a week before the medicine would get delivered. It was already ten days since I had placed the order ! The final straw on the proverbial camel’s back came in the form of a phone call from the courier guy at my billing address saying he has medicines to deliver … I lost it completely when I called Netmeds because they kept insisting that’s how I had entered the information. I told them that I had been ordering stuff online long before they setup shop and do know the difference between a billing address and delivery address. It was also unbelievable that I couldn’t cancel the order and reorder. Finally, I just disconnected the phone saying, they can keep the medicine and the money. 

Three days after this conversation, the medicine got delivered to my aunt’s place. What happened here ? I am happy to receive the medicine but how did they swap the billing and delivery address finally ? I am curious but not very keen to order again or find out even. 

The next instance was momentarily a sad transaction and then turned into a great example of awesome customer service. We were using a website to get some information about a used car and it directed us to the “Safecart” website to pay for a detailed report. There was a $2 charge for the report and then a monthly subscription. For the first time in my online transaction world, I didn’t read the fine print which said if I didn’t cancel it, it will default to the monthly subscription option. Suddenly after the one week deadline, they charged me for the monthly subscription and I initially thought it was done in error or that someone had hacked into the website and used my card. I immediately called the bank to disable the card, so that no further transactions can happen on it. Then I went back to the website and wrote emails to their customer service team to cancel my subscription and requested a refund, while feeling all along that I just lost money on this one. I promptly got an email saying the subscription was canceled and two days later they processed the refund too ! 

Another instance of interacting with an American company which offered top notch customer service. They were well within their rights to keep the monthly subscription money , but chose to return it. Safe cart indeed. 

This is not to say that Indian companies cheat, it’s to say, the processes are not well defined and the onus of followup and loss resulting due to an error is usually on the customer. American companies are far better when it comes to following process and overall customer service. Amazon returned $30 to me when I ordered the Kindle for India as soon as it was launched. I was in the US and ordered it to be delivered to my hotel. I got the Kindle and saw that the price had been reduced by $30 that day. I felt sad that I had bought it a few days in advance and lost the $30. I never asked for a refund but got $30 returned to my card !! Have been a diehard fan of Amazon since that day… And am looking for an Indian experience to beat that. Someday :):)

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Categories: Corporate musingsTags: , , ,

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