Where smartphones are concerned, there’s been a lot of change all over the globe regarding how they’re sold and how they’re distributed, but no more so than in India. As India is a nation that’s steadily coming online in more and more numbers, it’s no surprise that smartphones have become big business online. Flipkart and Snapdeal have been competing with each other for years now, but Amazon recently doubled their efforts to service their Indian customer base and big phones like the OnePlus X are available from Amazon.in. It’s gotten a hell of a lot easier to get a good deal online in India, no doubt thanks to the competition that Amazon has driven, but that same company is making some changes to their smartphone returns policy.
Unlike North America and parts of the EU, returning goods online in India can be a hell of a lot trickier, and Amazon just made things worse for their customers. Amazon.in has updated their returns policy page, effective as of February 7th, 2016 which notes that Mobile Phones are no longer eligible for a refund should the customer “no longer needs the item”. This means that users can now only return a phone to Amazon if the item is defective or damaged, and only then within 10 days. This compares badly with Flipkart’s approach, allowing users to return a phone within the same period of 10 days if they don’t want the item any more. This will give users a full refund, including shipping costs. Snapdeal takes a similar approach to Amazon, and only gives users 7 days to return something if its defective or damaged.
This change of policy from Amazon just goes to show how difficult it can be to purchase goods online in India, these are very short windows compared to those in North America and Europe, and it’s perhaps why firms like Xiaomi have become popular, offering their own distribution method, steering clear of the usual online vendors. In store sales have a long way to go in India, but firms like Xiaomi and Yu might have to open more of them should this online mess continue.