Flipkart And My Adventure With Them.

Flipkart is an online book seller that I have been patronizing for the last ten months and have always had a very high opinion of their service and efficiency. I must have bought over thirty books from them so far. For the first time since I have been dealing with them, I received a book in a defective condition and I emailed them as well as spoke to them on the phone about the condition of the book.

I was advised by them that they will immeditely replace the book which they did and on my confirmation that I have received the replacement copy, they have arranged for the defective piece to be collected from my residence.

I am very impressed with their service but have decided not to patronize them in the future. The reason for this are two mails received from them. The first one about which I raised an objection started my annoyance with them. I wrote about the annoyance to them. I received a response from them in the same format for the mail from me to which I finally responded that I have decided not to deal with them any more. I had also used their “Contact” form on their website to convey my complaint and I received a response from one of their people to which I responded postively but after that there has been total silence from their end. I had also sent the complete thread of exchange of mails to one of their promoters who too has decided not to respond to my mail. I copy paste below the relevant mails. The last mail received is on the top and the rest lead up to it.

Dear Mr. Rudrapatna,

It will give me great pleasure to give you as much time as you want. I am available on my mobile phone xxxxxxxxxxxxx, or landline xxxxxxxxxxxxx
As far as I am concerned, there is no unpleasantness. There is simply a decision taken when I was insulted twice by Mr. Kanth.


Ramana Rajgopaul

From: Tapas Rudrapatna
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2010 19:18:45 +0530
To: Ramana Rajgopaul
Subject: Re: [~19947]: [Contact:Other Questions and Comments] – Poor response to mail from customer

Dear Mr. Rajgopaul Sir,

I understand that a few of the exchanges between Mr. Premkanth and Yourself have led for a certain degree of unpleasantness.

While that is indeed unfortunate, I will attempt not to interfere with the how, what, when and why. Nor am i writing to persuade your loyalty and all that it entails. What is more critical for me to understand is how individuals and organisations are perceived. As you rightly mentioned, it’s the “corrective steps” that will be my focus.

Sir, I will be highly obliged if you can spare me some time. I cannot speak for Flipkart (the organozation), but your thoughts will indeed be valuable to me as an individual.


On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 6:58 PM, Flipkart Support wrote:
rrajgopaul@gmail.com Posted on: 21 Feb 2010 5:30 PM

Customer contact received:

Date: 2010-02-21 17:25:18


From: rrajgopaul

Subject: [Other Questions and Comments] Poor response to mail from customer

Message: I had addressed a mail to you on the 13th inst as follows:
“Dear Mr. Kanth,

I am glad that you will replace the book and also appreciate your apologies.

I do however wish to take issue with you on your addressing me as Ramana.  I am 67 years old and am reasonably sure that you cannot be older than my son who is 39. I am very likely older than your parents.  Our culture, to which you belong, extends more respect and regard than the Western model where strangers can be addressed by their first name.

It would be a good idea to be sure that such familiarity is with permission before first names are so casually used.

Shall we say that it is an one man crusade to ensure some semblance of formality in communications?

Ramana Rajgopaul

I have sent another mail today as follows:

“Dear Mr. Kanth,

I have already mailed to you yesterday that I have received the replacement copy.  You may arrange to collect the defective piece at your convenience with prior appointment as I need to be at home to hand it over to the courier.

I thank you for the prompt action taken and really appreciate the service rendered by you.

It however saddens me to advise you that you have just lost a what I would consider, ‘good ‘ customer.  I shall henceforth purchase my books online from other online sellers. You might like to check your records to see what it translates in terms of turnover to your organization.

Ramana Rajgopaul

I may not be a very important customer, but you might just like to find out why even a small customer chooses to opt out of a good online seller and take corrective steps.

As a business, it is Flipkart’s privilege to do business with me or not. It is at the same time, mine too whether to do business with them or not despite their excellent service. The point however is that a good business model basing itself on a method of communication that is totally un-businesslike in the Indian context, is a sad spectacle.

Or am I being archaic and not ‘with it’?

Agony Uncle – Update.

The story has taken a completely unexpected turn and I hasten to update all of you.

For the last fortnight, things have been rather quiet at my niece’s place after the blow up and my counseling. The topic was indeed being discussed at her end as well as with me and she seems to have decided to grin and bear it.

The climax came on last Saturday when there was a company get together for the on going festival. As usual, the boss’s wife was riding rough shod and my dear spirited niece snapped. She decided then and there that she had had enough and let the old lady have an ear full. She started off by saying that the lady was full of **** and held forth on why my niece felt so. After the initial shock, the nephew in law offered his excuses and escorted the girl back home and since then and till earlier this afternoon, they have been giving each other the silent treatment. A totally ruined long week end! I had lent my shoulders for the young lass to let some steam off and was hoping that things would settle down one way or the other.

Just before lunch today, after the long week end, my nephew in law was summoned to the boss’s office and went in fully expecting to be ticked off or may be even sacked. Instead, what transpired is completely out of my experience and I am yet to recover from the amazement.

After some hemming and hawing, the boss apparently told my NIL (That is an interesting acronym for him! ) that the boss fully understood the outburst and only wished that it had happened earlier. He had been unable to manage his wife’s behaviour but was quite aware of how unpleasant she was. He claimed to have been helpless and uncertain how to go about correcting her! My niece’s outburst and the break up of the party shortly thereafter, provided him with an opportunity to talk to his wife about the whole matter in a way that he claimed he would never have been able to earlier. He fully appreciated that my niece was a professional of standing and not just window dressing and suggested that my NIL stop bringing her to company parties if she was uncomfortable attending them. (Perhaps, ‘NIL’ should be for the boss!)

With a lot of mutual hemming and hawing the matter has been treated as closed and my NIL is on cloud nine for the outcome. No sooner he got back to his room, he called up my niece to tell her and said that they will talk about it later in the evening. My niece immediately called me to inform me of the outcome and I cautioned her not to gloat but to apologize for the outburst, get things back on even keel and take it from there.

After this unusual end, I am left wondering about the boss’s wife. Must be a formidable personality if the husband could not communicate with her! It takes all kinds to make the world I guess.