Work has taken me lots of places but I still fear buying on-line in my home country. Why? Well, there’s so many reasons, I can’t begin to explain them all. But to cover it all up, it all comes down to “trust”. The on-line shopping industry hasn’t managed to take trusted roots in Pakistan after so many years in business. People are afraid to order things on-line because the merchants aren’t providing them any baseline to trust on. I’ve had similar experience buying on-line, some bitter others excellent. So far, I’ve shopped on-line with the following on-line stores in Pakistan, and given under is a brief of my shopping experiences with them. I’ll be updating this post with more shopping outlets in the future:
IAmExtreme is a computer hardware store that operates on-line most of the time but recently, they’ve incorporated retail outlets in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. I’ve had some really good business working with the store and there are several things that assured the store was legit and doing good business. One of these is a thriving on-line community with overclockers, enthusiasts and casual computer users sharing their experiences.
The owner of the site is Yasir Nawaz, he’s well-known among the community for his interest in computer hardware, which brings the bar up. He’s mostly active and responds personally to complaints lodged by customers. Not only that, he takes initiatives to gather information/feedback. The product ordering system requires transferring money to the store’s account and the product is shipped afterwards. Returns and warranty claims are handled just like that. The store has extended warranty plans and instant replacement plans for many international brands including Xigmatek, Antec and G.Skill etc.
My first purchase from IMX was the Xigmatek Elysium. Much to my appreciation, I was the first owner in the world of the casing after its release. I certainly looked forward to buying more from IMX because of the warranty offered and the exclusive kind of hardware brought in to Pakistan.
It was once that I bought a Graphics unit from iAmExtreme and it turned out faulty. I tried to make do with the unit but to no avail. Several helpful community members tried to get it to run as well but eventually I had to ask IMX for a return. To my relief, Yasir offered me an instant replacement with any other card in the store. I went in the store, picked a replacement and that was it. The new card turned out great but the “Warranty/Return” experience has been one of the best I’ve had in my life.
My third buy from IMX was an SSD, which got delayed due to some reasons known to IMX Staff. However, Yasir was well aware of the delay and offered me to bring in an upgraded version of the SSD. The SSD was around 3000 PKR more expensive than the unit I initially ordered. My frustration with a delayed order addressed with a surprisingly excellent response from IMX. Another badge in IMX’s good track record.
I’m mostly satisfied with how I Am Extreme works. I highly recommend using their on-line store. Testimonials about the store’s service and reliability are equally spread across various on-line communities like PakGamers and WiredPakistan etc.
Update 1: Seems like open journalism has some uses to it, HSN just fixed their SSL certificate. More power to the consumer.
One of the reasons to write this post was my recent experience with HomeShopping.pk. A friend suggested that he’s gone through the store and the prices they mention are unlike any other on-line store. I have been a frequent visitor of their site already but the site wasn’t welcoming and never forced me enough to place an order. The layout itself seems low-grade compared to the kind of business they claim to be doing. Other on-line stores have gone to great lengths to get a greater audience. iAmExtreme mentioned above is a prime example of that. Let’s roll down to my buying experience with homeshopping.pk also known as HSN.
My experience is what will probably keep me away from buying on-line in Pakistan for a long time. I am definitely never buying again from homeshopping.pk.
So to start, I decided to give HSN another chance. I ordered an HTC One on a Sunday, 11th August 2013. I received a call the same hour asking me if I wanted to confirm the order and I did. I picked direct deposit as a means for payment and the transaction completed in the next half hour. I confirmed the transfer with HSN accounts.
After that, the series of unfortunate events started. At first they told me that they had a faulty unit left in stock, so they can’t ship right away. I let this go, although they should have told me so before the money was transferred. But instead they chose to have me wait “3 days” for a shipment to arrive from Dubai. The due date set was Thursday the 15th of August. I called in on the 15th but got the same response and that I’ll have to wait for the shipment to arrive from Dubai.
I made a formal complaint to Shayaan (The CEO) the same day, who chose to ignore my email for two days and then informally replied with a one liner saying “You will get it on Monday”. HSN continually tested my patience and the person dealing with me this whole time was “Ahmed”. After a mind boggling wait on Saturday as well, Mr. Ahmed chose to not receive my calls any more and would lift the receiver to cut the call. I knew I made a big mistake of giving these people a direct deposit. At 7PM Saturday, my order status changed to “Shipped” without any info on TCS tracking number, which was promised to me countless times over the phone by Mr. Ahmed, who also told me that the phone has an AT&T logo on it.
After the shipping status changed, the product was immediately put “Out of Stock” on the HSN product page. The whole “shipment arriving from Dubai” story was a farce. I also saw a comment appear on the page where a user asked if the product was in stock and the HSN staff responded that it was indeed available on a 24-48 period.
Comment that was deleted:
Along comes Sunday and I receive the package at 5PM. I chose to be excited about it because the time had passed and I did receive the product on Sunday. I open the package and I was shocked. After waiting for a week, HSN sends in a used phone covered with cheap plastic. No accessories, no warranty card, no invoice. The headphones were taken from HTC Desire and the packaging was as poor as it can get. I did not have to check any further and made a return request immediately. Here’s some photos for your pleasure:
Shitty Packaging with no Invoice, no warranty card and no HTC stuff that comes in the box:
HTC Desire Headphones:
Cheap Plastic cover on the Phone:
Proof of Usage (Zoom in on the USB Slot)
The request process turned out to be worse. I was asked to return the phone to the RWP outlet situated in Midway Centrum 6th Road by Mr. Shayaan himself over email. When I reached there, the “empty” shop is closed. I make a call to HSN Karachi office and ask who’s in-charge of this outlet and they gave me a number for “Mr. Adnan”. Mr. Adnan chose to make the situation even worse by telling me that he’s busy and if I need help, I will need to travel and get him. Once he received a piece of my frustrated mind, he chose to appear in front of the shop and asked me for an invoice (which was never sent to me). God was willing to help me and IMX had an outlet right next to this shop. They chose to help me print out the invoice and give it to Mr. Adnan, who initially told me he had no internet access.
Mr. Adnan calls HSN Karachi office and they have no idea if Mr. Shayaan made any remarks about the return. My brother who was with me had enough of it and called HSN Karachi office to process this return immediately and refund the money. Mr. Adnan continually chose to remain unhelpful throughout this process as he neither had cash or a return receipt to give to me. After taking a bashing from my brother, the Karachi HSN staff responded and I received multiple calls from “Ahmed” and inevitably Mr. Shayaan Tahir (CEO). They both apologized and wanted me to give them another chance. I felt they seemed reluctant to give me a refund and that’s where my brother told them to just end this here and make the refund. They also kept telling me that it was not their fault but because they chose to trust someone for this purchase, that source made them look bad. I really wonder what was that whole week I waited for a shipment to arrive from Dubai was for? And why did Mr. Ahmed tell me that phone had an AT&T logo on it? Could this get any worse? Yes.
Mr. Adnan who suddenly became aware that his Boss is apologizing for the situation, suddenly had internet access and wanted to help me. I sent in my Bank Details for the refund and after half an hour I receive the money back into my account. After which I bid farewell to homeshopping.pk forever. I did receive a call from Shayaan once again, who wanted to refund me any “other” expenses that I had made during this time. I had enough for the day and told him “it’s OK”.
So, if I told him it was OK, why am I narrating this on my blog? Because I want this shitty HSN episode to be a reminder for everyone out there and because of the embarrassment and inconvenience I had to bear because of the all the lies that is homeshopping.pk
Homeshopping.pk is officially off my list of online shopping sites and I will not let any of my friends or relatives buy from them ever again. They use shady tactics and lie to the customer. Their customer support has no sync in process management. Others may have had a good experience with them but I’m definitely not in that list.
This entry was posted on Monday, December 3rd, 2012 at 12:49 pm
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.