Important: We are running this story as an illustration of the real ‘dhamaka‘ that lies behind the Diwali Dhamaka discounts and offers. Our only word of caution to every consumer waiting to avail the discount season–by all means go ahead…but do remember, its Diwali for the Brands too!
Festive Season Discounts!
A look around and suddenly Diwali is a festival of discounts rather than lights.
Scores of middle class Indians eagerly await Diwali–not because they love the festival but because they want to adorn their house with Lakshmi’s latest luxury consorts–the LED TV that is up for grabs or that extra large refrigerator designed to store humans.
But irrespective of the fact that the old television resembles a black and white antic, magically transforming every human form on screen into alien apparitions; irrespective of the fact that the attic storage is more functional than the old refrigerator and the table top is cooler than its freeze zone; the ‘mango’ junta waits and waits with patience that can put hermits in Himalayas to shame–for the festive season to arrive; the season when every coveted lifestyle adornment is suddenly so acquirable.
Every single Brand; every single showroom in the country is suddenly brimming with unfathomable generosity and for once consumer does feel like a king!
There is of course nothing wrong with this. The consumers get the best prices, excellent deals and Brands get business, loads of business. Its a symbiotic arrangement which works fine until the Brands are reasonably fair. See, we are very reasonable people. We don’t even demand absolute fair-play. We are happy so long as the game is ‘reasonable’. But even that seems humongous demand.
And so the consumers get lost in a maze of confusing terms, flashy ads and convenient fine prints. The end result is a consumer who feels that Diwali exploded right into his face and a Brand that laughs its way to the Bank.
Sridhar wrote to us with his story that is one of the typical cases of the consumer harassment that so frequently happens during the discount season. Below is his story in his own words.
Like every typical middle class Indian consumers, I was also waiting for a festival season to buy home electronics to avail discounts and also lot of gifts. Was really happy to see Diwali celebration nearing and many shops have started Diwali offers for their consumers. On Nov 4th I went to SHAHS electronic stores at Chrompet area (@Chennai). Was very excited to see the LCD/LED/Plasma tv kept for display. Was very confused which TV to buy as all were so good at their point and unique features. But I finally settled with LG LED 42′ LS3400 series worth 50,000/-. The price was so high but still I could not resist myself from buying the TV (which definitely exceeded my budgets) through my HDFC credit card. As I was about to shift to new house on Dec1(and also did not want to loose this festive season purchase)), so I booked the TV and paid 50% of the price of 25000/- and agreed to pay the pending 25000/- this month end and get the product delivered.
On Nov 11th in TOI newspaper I see the SHAHS ad saying they give gifts worth 7990/- for consumers buying products worth Rs 50000/- or more(Have attached that ad in this mail). I was so happy to see this ad as I would be getting the gifts. My celebration time started. When I contact the SHAHS store where I bought the TV they said, the offer is applicable only for those consumers who bought more than one product worth Rs 50000/ or more and not for consumer who buy a single product worth Rs 50000 or more. I was shocked to hear this from the shop manager. I asked in return, why you are ignoring my gifts when you get the money 50000/- at the end of the day. WHy you focusiing on the no of products. You should concentrate on the Money and not the no of products consumer buy.
Just for cross checking I contacted OMR branch of SHAHS store and verified this gifts offer, they confirmed that this is applicable to even single LED TV also. And when I updated this news to the chrompet manager, he updates this to OMR store. Now the OMR store also ignoring their previous statements and saying the same stupid logic.
When I asked them why they did not mention this extra condition in the newspaper ad, they replied this ad will bring lot of customers to us. I was mentally affected by this statement from a responsible person.
I was totally shocked and was irritated that I bought a product from a fraud stores. I was completely upset to see they fooled me and also many more customers will be also fooled.
Tadka Take 2
Sridhar’s experience is by no means an isolated one. Nor is the tact to fool consumers by misguiding or confusing them a novelty. The trouble precipitates when the offers start getting dubious, advertising dodgy and fine print finer. This is the proverbial catch. If you are lucky, you will get past the festive season unscathed or with minor injuries. But if not, then your Diwali will be indeed ‘memorable’ but definitely not in a way you wish!
Picture Credit: auto.indiamart.com