Online Shops Lie About Their Inventory and This is Killing E-commerce Industry in Pakistan!

How often have you come across a situation when you were told that the item you selected to purchase from an online store is actually out of stock? Or your order got notably late because of some procedural delays? Or that your order got cancelled altogether due to some system errors? If you’ve faced any of these situations, than you are not alone.

A whole lot of consumers — who despite all the odds trust Pakistani online shops — undergo similar situations and their orders are either delayed or are never delivered. This can get uglier if you have paid in advance, such as through credit or debit cards because refund can take weeks, or even months.

Here is why it all happens:

Online shops lie. They lie about the items they display on their websites. They pose as if they are Walmart of Pakistan having thousands of items mentioned on their websites but in reality they don’t stock anything with them. I know a few stores that don’t stock a single item but their web-stores are filled with variety of products ranging from dresses to electronics to sports and medicine.

These huge looking online-shops buy products from open-markets only after an order is placed with them. This is how they avoid large-scale investments, which is wise, but this whole practice causes delays or cancellations and ultimately these shops earn disgruntled customers causing serious mistrust among the masses.

Majority of online-stores buy products from open-market only after an order is placed

One of my friend once ordered a  product from Daraz.pk, and paid with a credit card in advance. The order took more than 15 days instead of 4-9 days of advertised delivery time, which I believe is a deal breaker. Upon investigation we found out that Daraz actually had to order the product from Dubai and it took them over a week to have product with them to finally get it dispatched to the customer.

A similar situation arose just this week for Abdul Sattar Ansari who ordered one split AC (Air Conditioner) that was offered on promotion with 25% discount. Instead of getting the delivery of AC, he was instead told by Daraz that the order was cancelled due to a system error and his money (around Rs. 30,000) will be refunded.

After 15 days of initial payment, Mr. Ansari is still awaiting a refund and matter is reportedly yet not resolved. He is planning to sue to company for holding his payment for this long for no reason.

Daraz told me that delay in Mr. Ansari’s refund is due to banking procedures and it will be cleared as soon as it will be possible. But my real question that why a promotion was put online when Daraz didn’t have sufficient inventory went unanswered.

Daraz said that they are a marketplace and the vendor went out of stock when the promotion went viral. They had ultimately no stock and hence had to cancel orders.

Orders are cancelled or a different product is deliberately delivered when online stores can’t arrange ordered product from open market

Unfortunately, these incidents aren’t rare and aren’t specific to Daraz only. As I explained above, almost every online story tend to display products that they don’t have with them.

Since online stores have usually thousands of products listed with them on their websites, prices of several products go high and they find out about hiked prices only after getting the order when they go out to market to buy them. Instead of bearing the loss, online-shops tend of cancel the order altogether and whole exercise of fire-fight between store and customer is repeated.

Almost every online-store understands this and they know that their deeds have to be corrected but to win over competition they aren’t able to straighten their acts. In return, an already struggling industry is getting hurt and those select people who used to trust online shops are losing their faith too.

Lying about inventory to win-over the competition will one day kill the e-commerce industry altogether and these online shops won’t have any customers to tell a single lie.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK