Humans love online and shopping online. An endless array of options and endless choice of aisles. It is a paradise that businessmen on the one side and shoppers on the other side find delight in.
Online shopping has become even more interesting with social media sellers and platforms such as Etsy, which have brought mass personalization, mass customization, and niche art to the masses. Except that there is trouble in Paradise and thousands of shoppers lose their money every day. Shoppers like Vasudha.
Before we understand Vasudha's story, let's get a little background. We will take a small detour but don't worry. We will come back and the detour will be entertaining.
India was the last large country to bring telecommunications to the masses. In the Telecom Revolution, India bypassed landlines, car phones, and pagers and jumped straight to mobile phones. And Jio took smartphones to every nook and corner of the country, giving every Indian a small view into the power of communication and mobility.
Like in the telecom revolution, India and Indians jumped straight from slow payment systems such as cheques, demand drafts, and jumped straight into instant payments. Instant payments are instant. Once the money leaves your account, it's almost impossible to get it back and when you can, you have to go to a lot of trouble.
Konki Vasudha paid Rs.799 for NOTHING.
That is what happened to Konki Vasudha. Konki Vasudha recently approached Vouch about a payment she made to an Instagram store called Woahla. Vasudha liked what Woahla offered and paid Rs.799 for a dress. She ordered the dress through the website and paid the money thru Google Pay. She has not received any order confirmation, she has not received a response from the store nor are they returning her calls.
How UPI becomes unsafe for buyers on Instagram.
Since she made the payment through UPI, an instant payment mechanism, it instantly transfers the money out of the account. However, there is very little to nothing to give her the peace of mind that she will get what she paid for. Of course, Billions of $ transactions happen every day but India is unique due to instant payments.
How do you know if the seller is a fraud?
If the seller is a fraud and does not respond, Vasudha has only one option - to raise a chargeback dispute. Google Pay's chargeback option covers only non-receipt of money. It does not cover the non-receipt of goods by the buyer.
Vouch's advice to Vasudha
Vouch advised Vasudha to raise a chargeback dispute and see what resolution she could get out of it. It is a cautionary tale for all of us. When paying someone you don't know or are new, use Vouch.
Could Vasudha have done anything differently? Under current circumstances till Vouch becomes popular, no. However, in the future, she has been advised that she should use Vouch which gives her the power of having control over her money till she receives what she paid for.
Follow this for all social media seller payments: When in doubt, use Vouch!
This is Fraud Story #5. Check back here for more fraud chronicles and frauds that you can protect yourself from.
Safety is not just about protecting your credit or debit card number. It's about having control of your money till you've received the product or service you bought online!
Note: This is a good-faith initiative to educate the world about how to avoid frauds like these. Do you have a fraud that you would like to report? Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org