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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Before Purchasing Online, Check Prices Offline

Online shopping sites usually promise the lowest prices and give the impression that you as a buyer get the best bargain. But that is not always the case.

Yesterday, one of the Google ads on this blog displayed an ad for Their tagline is "lowest prices - everyday!" The TVCs have been airing on television for quite some time. Curiously, I checked the site. On the home page are listed the "Jaldi going" products (special 8-hour bargain products). The first item was a Transcend 2GB Pen Drive priced at a 'bargain' rate of Rs 1199.

Transcend 2GB Pen Drive

The product details said - "You save: Rs 1291 (51%)" as the MRP listed was 2490. A steal! But in fact you lose at least Rs 750. A few days ago I had purchased the same product from a computer stationery dealer for Rs 750. I had also posted about my purchases on this blog.

Transcend 2GB Pen Drive

Another purchase that I had written about in that post was a Creative 1GB MP3 player. A similar product is priced at Rs. 4774 on the site, whereas I got it for Rs 3750 (+taxes). Again, a difference of almost a grand.

Creative 1GB MP3 Player

The site's terms and conditions reads:

We strive to provide you with the lowest prices possible on as well as in all our group stores under the corporate entity - Future Group. However, sometimes a price online does not match the price in a store. In our effort to be the lowest price provider in your particular geographic region, store pricing will sometimes differ from online prices. Prices and availability are subject to change without notice.

So they also accept the fact, but in fine print. Therefore, the advice is to do what you should always do. Before making an online purchase call up some offline dealer and enquire about their rates for the same product. After all, money matters. is a subsidiary of Pantaloon Retail (India) Limited which also operates Big Bazaar. Big Bazaar is therefore a partner at FutureBazaar. The products at Big Bazaar are supposedly (according to their ad campaign) the most "sasta aur accha (cheapest and the best)." Try shopping for some good menswear at their stores and you'll get the answer to the "accha" part. As for the "sasta," check out the prices for the same products at Lajpat Nagar or Sarojini Nagar in Delhi (the same should hold true for other cities). It's only that the dealers at Lajpat and Sarojini don't give a receipt; else I would have taken up and won their challenge* many times over.

*Big Bazaar is throwing a price challenge in the market. According to the challenge, if a consumer finds a product of the same quality or brand elsewhere at a lower price than offered by Big Bazaar, the consumer may return the product and also claim double of the price difference.

1 Comment:

dwaipayan said...

same with the transcend MP# player I bought yesterday. futurebazar sells it for 3903.00 INR and ebay for 390oINR. I got it from my local shop at 2444 inclusive of the taxes.