Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Bursting the online shopping myth- Part-II

Continuing from my earlier posts, here I intend burst another myth on online shopping. The diaspora tends to believe that items are cheaper online. But is it really cheap?

Well, this may be true for those living in second or third tier cities. But certainly not for metros where there are stiff competition, it may not always be true. While online may be cheaper for items like mobile phones, but not for many marchandise. So onee should explore before making the purchase. I am sharing one of my recent experiences to burst this myth.

My wife was looking to purchase a pair of sports shoe for her gym outings. Therefore when had announced a hyped sale with a full page ad on the TOI, we decided to explore it. We shortlisted a Nike shoe with a MRP of 3596. It was on offer @30% discount for that day. Thus the price indicated after discount was 2517. When we added it to the cart and proceeded for payment, the surprise element popped up. VAT Extra. How much VAT? Rs.431/-. How it was calculated. @12% of MRP, not on the discounted price. So final price I need to pay after adding VAT was 2948. Thus effective discount got reduced to a mere 18%. As most of the shops in malls gives a 20% discount during sale season, we decided to try it out at a shop rather than buying online. In shop purchase resluts in lower post purchase disonances as you can try out various options on spot.

Item on sale with 20% discount on a hyped sale

Notice the extra VAT amount when you add the item to your cart

Out of curiosity, I decided to visit again next day. The hyped sale was over as it was only for a day. Hence the same pair of shoe was on 10% discount only that day. To check VAT applicability, I added it to the cart and proceeded for payment. To my surprise there was no extra VAT that day. This means that customers are taken for a ride in the name of sales. One is made to feel like getting an extra 20% discount in sale, whereas he was actually getting just 8% extra discount.

Same item when not on sale.

Notice no VAT extra on background. Coupon codes never applies on such items.

Now that there is a Nike factory outlet in one of the malls not very far from my home, we decided to visit the shop. This being the end of season sale period, everything was on flat 40% in the shop, including the model we had checked online. And to the top of it, there was no extra VAT. Therefore we got that pair of shoe for 2217 from the Nike outlet whereas the price on hyped sale was 2948. To make you all understand how we are being taken for ride by these online sale, I have decided to corroborate this with screenshots I had retained. Unfortunately I did not save screenshot of the sale circus with extra VAT. But the images below clearly shows that the offline purchase from outlet was cheaper by almost 22% than the online price. I however have retained images of a much lower scale sale @20% off, which also attracted extra VAT.

Same shoe purchased from Nike factory outlet

Bill showing actual price from shop which was much lower than online sale price, And no VAT extra.

It reminds me of the famous quote – You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. So next time you see another full page ad of an online sale, make sure to compare before you buy.


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