Nazia Jafri & Gaurav
Photo: Babu
It’s hard to hold on to your money whenever you see a SALE banner staring at you from various branded stores. The sale season is on at most of the markets in Delhi. The brands not only assure you discounted prices but also claim that their customer services are second to none.

But is the service catering to the needs of the consumers? Tushar Sethi, a 16-year old bought floaters from one of the leading shoe companies, but the sole came off soon. Says an angry Sethi: “Even after umpteen complaints the company refused to exchange the product and mended it with the glue, which was really bad. Ultimately, I threw those floaters away”.

His views are echoed by Delhi based lawyer Manjula Batra: “They are befooling us by selling defective pieces under the garb of a sale. When you approach them with the complaints they don’t register it. Going to the consumer court is one of the options but it needs loads of homework by consumers.”

Faisal Majid Khan, a lawyer and Senior Legal Manager at Novus Pro Company, Gurgaon, says that one way out for consumers is that they should always check the cash slip while shopping. Moreover, they should not hesitate to initiate action against the company if there is a need for that.

In this fast paced life, when people don’t even have the time for necessary chores, going to complain is a job they keep putting off. Geeta Tamta, a call center employee from New Delhi bought a bag from a branded sale and its strap came off the very next day. She says, “It’s a hectic exercise to go for an exchange and on every trip they make some excuse or the other. I even tried to mail a complaint but got confused with the procedure and finally gave up”.

Even those who are willing to complain don’t know where to lodge it. The official web addresses of many brands do not even have a simple procedure for the complainant to complain. It is often so complicated that many just give up out of frustration.

The companies are often ready with what sound like the right excuses. Thang Goumuan, Assistant Store Manager, Adidas, Vasant Vihar branch, says “During sale, we don’t allow exchange as it is difficult to adjust discounts. We allow the customers to try, but not exchange. As for return of goods, that is not allowed even when there is no sale.”

Khan says that there are provisions under which you can approach the consumer court but the problem is that nobody puts that much effort. He further adds, “If it is mentioned on the cash memo that sold items cannot not be returned, then consumers can’t complain as they are accepting the policy of the company. But for those brands which do not mention such details, there is a scope for legal action”.

So the next time you see a 50% off SALE on any of your favorite branded shops, do not forget to read the fine print.