Beware of the nightmare that is online shopping in Kenya
Online shopping is slowly on the rise in Kenya with a recent report by Google showing a 14 per cent increase.
The report, Consumer Connected Study 2017, attributed the growth to the growing internet usage and on Nairobi News, we focus on the uptake of shopping via social media.
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were cited to have contributed to 15 per cent of online shopping in Kenya.
The uptake was however said to have been slow due to the risks associated with online shopping and one shopper Susan, knows this too well.
“I sent Sh5,000 for a dress and Sh300 for delivery to Machakos to the number given in the page. I needed it for a wedding and was told it would be delivered on Wednesday. When Wednesday came I asked which courier service they used they promised to WhatsApp the receipt which never happened. Come Friday I called again and was told they would send the dress which has never happened up to date,” Susan told Nairobi News.
Her experience a month ago has made her not trust online sellers opting to be shopping physically in shops instead.
The seller, one Yakub, in his defense said Susan was rude in their dealings so he opted to keep the dress and the money.
“I still have her dress at the shop we didn’t deliver as during our negotiation we exchanged words and I opted to just keep it because I deal with many clients and some are difficult. The items are usually custom-made and so sometimes there are unexpected delays so when a client does not understand I just keep the item,” Yakub explained.
Susan’s case is not an isolated one as kilometers away in Nairobi, Elizabeth’s journey to seek a refund has been a long one.
“I pre-ordered some shoes and paid 50 per cent and cleared the balance on arrival into the country as per the company’s guidelines to have all monies paid before delivery. The shoes were however a size bigger and so we agreed to have them resold to obtain my full refund. This took two months coupled with a series of unprofessional conduct by the business representative during my follow ups to the point I just wanted my wrong size shoes returned to me to seek an alternative buyer,” Elizabeth narrated.
The business in question here was Shoe Rack Kenya @srkshoes and a co-owner by the name Brenda, whom Nairobi News spoke to on phone, narrated how the client dispute arose explaining that it was the client’s fault to have ordered the wrong size.
When asked to explain why the client was not getting her shoes back or a refund, Brenda said the client “should call her to solve the matter.”
Another @srkshoes co-owner Yolanda in a different call, days after a promise to refund in 24 hours had been broken, explained that the situation was unfortunate and her sister/partner’s response was uncalled for, adding that such disputes are common in business but must be sorted amicably.
Asked why the clients are not given the terms and conditions beforehand Yolanda insisted that the clients are always aware, this even as communication between Shoe Rack and Elizabeth showed that no terms were given before she paid her deposit.
By the time Nairobi News was obtaining a screenshot from @srkshoes page, no terms and conditions had been added, but that was dully added after publication.
The client’s full refund of Sh5,800 was however made during the time of researching for this article making her a relieved customer by the time of publication.
Yolanda went on to email the writer that she was not consenting the writing of any article mentioning her business.
“As a business woman I am responsible for the items the clients order or trust in us to pre-order, and like any other business it is not without its challenges especially with new clients and off putting employees, Ms. Brenda’s conduct should have been better with Ms. Elizabeth which I have made clear with the both of them. My number one priority is my clients who then make up my business hence my taking initiative to reimburse Ms. Elizabeth myself upon her grievance to me about the situation, I want to make this clear that I do not consent to any publication whatsoever to any local daily with regards to srkshoes, it’s name or it’s likeness by you or any other person,” read Yolanda’s email in part.
Some online retailers like Glam Accessories @glam_acces however have clearly spelt out their terms and conditions on their Instagram bio.
Kathure, who owns Glam, admits the conditions of no returns and no refunds had to be clearly indicated after different experiences with clients.
“Online purchases are great especially for clients who cannot come to the CBD shop and would prefer a delivery to their offices. We added the no returns and no refund policy because some clients pay for something and then when they see something different on the page they want to exchange for something else,” Kathure told Nairobi News.
Many online sellers are slowly adopting the rule of having the terms and conditions clearly written in their social media accounts to ensure online shoppers take a known risk.