What to be aware of when online shopping in Pakistan

Online shopping is the new game changer in Pakistan. It is mostly limited to urban areas and populated cities where many people love shopping online simply because of the convenience it offers. Online shopping allows you to buy whatever you want from a pin to large home appliance with the ease and comfort of just sitting at home or when you are absolutely busy at work.

Many e-commerce companies are offering huge cash backs and discounts to lure people to online shopping.

A recent survey during the covid 19 pandemic year 2020 shows millions of consumers indulged in online shopping. And unfortunately, not many were happy with the online shopping experience in Pakistan. According to a survey 63% of Pakistani (mostly, Karachi and Lahore) shoppers faced challenges while shopping online.

So what are the most common problems faced by consumers while shopping online in Pakistan?

Lets go through step by step.

1. First and foremost: Unclear Website Policies

Before purchasing any product online, it is very important to go through the website policies. Some Pakistani online shopping eCommerce websites do not even havea return or refund policy.

What will you do in such a case when there is no return policy at all?

People are getting either broken products, or fake products, or expired, or all of it. And are not allowed to return it. The general observation is that most of the Pakistan online shopping websites that have unclear or no return policies, end up selling low-quality and undesirable products.

We advise our consumers to must go through the policies associated with each seller and their product warranty/guarantee. In case you find any website having unclear policies, avoid making a purchase from them. Or call for confirmation before making a purchase.

If and when you find a seller in breach of policies, please report it to alladitta.com online marketplace

2. Website safety and security concerns

As many people shop online these days, cyber criminals come up with innovative techniques to hack e-commerce websites and steal money from online shoppers. E-commerce sites will have important customer data like names, phone numbers, address, and bank details. If these details fall in the hand of fraudsters they can be misused, abused and often result in identity theft.

3. Failures while making a transaction or purchase

What to do when you finally found what you want, but you are not able to make a purchase? Other than cash on delivery, e-commerce websites also allow to pay through various modes like credit cards, debit cards, net banking and mobile wallets.

Most problems faced by online shoppers is the failure of digital payments. There can be umpteen reasons for that failure. May be a bad internet connection, some restarted the router because Netflix is not working, or the amount gets debited from the customer’s bank account but it does not get credited to the sellers account. Or you click submit and page disappeared.

In such a case, customers can get back this money by contacting the customer care of the company. It generally takes around 7-10 days for the amount to get refunded.

In case of alladitta.com please check the return policy and duration for refund.

4. Hidden or additional charges

Some of the online shopping websites in Pakistan place hidden charges which ar incurred while making the payment. The amount that is actually paid and the price of the product is not be same as the one you see at the website. The consumer finds out only when the amount has been debited.

It may be correct, but it is considered a cheap tactic to lure the consumer to purchase the product, without actually displaying full price, tax information, shipping and handling charges, or etc. When you make the payments, all these charges will be added and the price goes up. In any case, seller loses the trust, and eventually a good customer as well. Not a recommended practice.

For alladitta.com you can directly call the seller or whatsapp them to enquire before the purchase.

5. Forth, delivery and logistics delays and sometimes even failures

There is a general lack of trust factor because of the miscommitment prevailing in general. Some of the e-commerce websites have an option that allows you to track your order, but this doesn’t always holds good.

Often times delivery riders deliver the product when you are not at home. In such a case, product delivery will be rescheduled. If this happens say more than three times, generally the order is returned to the point of origin. In some cases the product is lost in the transit.

Moreover, as a large number of Pakistan’s population lives in rural and low tier cities, they are not able to shop online, because most of the e-commerce companies do not deliver products to these remote rural places.

6. Quality issues

Last but not least, the most common problems faced by online shopping is the quality of the product. When you shop online, you do not have any guarantee on product quality. That is when seller policies become all the more important. You cannot just rely on product reviews as they may not from reliable sources. And in this day and age, sellers go out their way to puchase reviews, likes, and followers. Many e-commerce websites just function as an aggregator of sellers.

That makes high chances of fraudulent sellers registering themselves on websites, selling fake products in the names of branded ones, for example. As a huge volume of products is sold each day, it is not possible for e-commerce companies to check each and every product sold.

Many a time sellers refuse to replace the faulty product and refund the money. Websites which sell fake products instead of genuine products do not accept cash on delivery and insist on payment upfront. Not receiving clothes and footwear of proper sizes, is another problem faced by consumers while shopping online.

“Government has referred the term Data as “oil” of the digital age and is considering it the most valuable resource in the digital economy. To unleash the true potential of e-Commerce, it is essential to have effective data protection laws and enable the local digital industry to make proper use of the data generated in Pakistan. ” Ministry of economy– pakistan

Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) has initiated the process of formulating Pakistan’s first Data Protection Bill is also at an advanced stage of consultations, and this policy also addresses data protection in e-Commerce.

Finally

Existing consumer protection laws in Pakistan do not contain specific provisions for addressing concerns of consumers transacting in digital environment.

In relation to this, measures have been introduced for amendments in these laws. An important aspect of consumer protection is ‘dispute resolution mechanism’. Furthermore, it will be mandatory for all online businesses to provide for an efficient customer support and dispute resolution mechanism and the federal and provincial governments will make arrangements for establishing independent alternate dispute resolution centers for expeditious settlement of disputes.

Have a complaint against a seller? Please immediate report to report@alladitta.com, and Pakistan’s consumer protection board.

Feel free to file a feedback at bhai.pk business listings that keeps the status clear and clean.

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