7 Terms & Conditions That Can Ruin Your Online Shopping Experience
If there’s one thing Malaysians love more than good food, it’s online shopping. The number of online shopping transactions have been increasing from year to year, with a 161% increase in 2016 from the previous year. That’s a 14.6 million jump up to 38.2 million in just one year.
Malaysia is also leading with the highest penetration of online shoppers in South East Asia. To add on to that, the recent 11.11 sales saw Lazada generate more than RM100 million of gross merchandise value (GMV), which proves that the love for online shopping is showing no signs of slowing down.
But online shopping can be risky for the buyer if you don’t know how to protect your rights. Lazada experienced a number of issues recently, including backend and logistic issues, as well as items being cancelled without notification and no refund as well.
With so many issues being brought up after such major sales, it’s time for buyers to know their rights by keeping themselves informed on major e-shopping website’s terms and conditions and what to expect during your e-shopping experience.
Before your start shopping
Before you start spending, there are a few terms and conditions that you will need to look out for:
Payment plans and fees
Payment is one of the major factors you will need to consider when shopping online. A lot of focus is put on credit card, but there are other forms of payments you can consider. Here are some of the most common methods of payment:
|Payment plans||Credit card, debit card, online banking and cash on delivery (COD)||Credit card, debit card, online banking, ATM/Bank transfer, Celcom Aircash, Cash @ 7-11, 11street Credit, Bcard Point||Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer, online banking, Shopee wallet
|Instalment payments||6 months plan available for minimum purchase over RM500|
12 months plan available for minimum purchase over RM1,000 (only for Maybank credit card holders).
|6 to 36 months instalment plan available for purchase over RM500 (only for Maybank and Public Bank credit card holders).||N/A|
|Processing fees||• RM79 per instalment payment|
• RM5 for COD
|Cancellation of instalment payments after 24 hours||15% of the total amount + RM79||N/A||N/A|
At the time of writing, none of the above merchants accept instalment payment via debit cards. Maybank seems to be the preferred choice when it comes to payment plans for both Lazada and 11street, while Shopee does not offer instalment plans.
Sometimes you may find yourself paying more than the listed price for the item purchased due to some hidden processing fees. Lazada has a few of those, especially with instalment payments. If you opt for instalment, you will be charged a RM79 fee for each installment payment you make. If you decide to cancel your purchase 24 hours after making your purchase, a minimum of 15% of the total amount will be imposed on top of the processing fee. This does not include the transaction fees charged by your credit card company!
To give you a better idea of these charges, let’s say you buy a TV worth RM1,688 and you sign up for the 12-month instalment plan of RM140.67 per month, here’s how much you can be charged if you cancel your purchase. Despite stating that the TV can be returned in 14 days, but if you signed up for instalment and you cancel your purchase after 24 hours, you will be charged RM253.20 + RM79 = RM332.20 as a penalty.
If you’re opting for Cash on Delivery (COD), which is only available in the Klang Valley, Penang and Johor Bahru, you will be charged an additional RM 5 per order, with Lazada arranging the best timing with you.
Never a full refund
Nheritance ordered two items worth RM348 and even though everything went smoothly on his transaction, the order didn’t appear on his account. He cancelled the order and received the refund after 13 working days but it was less than what he originally paid. The worse part? It’s the fourth time this has happened to him.
Any shopaholic would love to have free shipping for all their purchases, but free shipping isn’t always a given as it depends on the seller as well as the products. But you may be able to get discounts and free shipping during special promotions, or even when you get discount codes.
If you prefer a certain logistics company, you would be keen to know if the delivery option you want is available to you. So here’s what you need to know in terms of shipping.
|Free shipping||Conditional shipping and free shipping available for selected products.||Conditional shipping and free shipping available for selected products.||Conditional shipping and free shipping available for selected products.|
|Logistic options||Poslaju, Gdex, Ninjavan, Lazada Express, Boxit, SkyNet, Collectco.||Depends on seller.||Poslaju, Gdex.|
Setting up an account
If you create multiple accounts to take advantage of first-time buyer deals, you could be at risk of being caught. Shopping platforms are taking note of such accounts, and you may find your account being restricted or even deleted.
|Factors that will affect your account||Abuse of any terms and conditions stated in the site||• Account was dormant for 18 months|
• Resale of Services and Contents
• Collecting personal data
• Abusive behaviour
• Disruption of websites and service
|• Fake order creation
• Voucher abuse
• Subsidy and rebates abuse
• Mobile phone number used in multiple accounts
|Status of account||Your account will be terminated without notice||Your account will be suspended and then terminated||Your account will be limited and then terminated|
For 11street and Shopee, as your account would be either suspended or limited, it means you still have time to contact the shopping platform to clarify any misunderstandings that could have happened. With Lazada, though, your account will be terminated without any prior notice, so it’s likely that you will lose your account for good. So watch out and use your account carefully!
When you are shopping
It’s time to shop! But wait, there are still some important information you need to take note of during the shopping process. Look out for product warranties, guarantees and even return policies as they play an important role and may vary for different products and sellers.
Other factors include if the item you want will be delivered safely, as well as earning points to be utilised in the future. Here’s what you need to know.
One of the ways to keep customers coming back to the side is to reward them.
|Points to earn||B Infinite points and AirAsia BIG points||B Infinite points and 11street points||Shopee Coins|
|How to earn points||RM5 for 1 B Infinite point and 1 AirAsia BIG point||Depends on activity such as shopping, account upgrade and event rewards||RM1 for 1 Shopee coin|
|Restrictions||Not given to purchases made with vouchers and bank promotions||Has various expiry dates||Limited to 150 coins daily or 300 weekly|
Earning points with Lazada is a lot tougher if you’re the kind to make full use of vouchers and promotions, whereas Shopee has a limit to how many coins you can earn daily and weekly. With 11street, you will need to keep checking on how many points you’re getting and when it expires as it won’t tell you outright on this.
Each platform offers different forms of warranty which is good to know to see if you get the product safely delivered to you.
|Delivery warranty||Has a warranty period of 12 months from when the items are delivered or deemed to be delivered||Warranties are based on the sellers||Has a Shopee Guarantee where you can file for a refund if the product is not received on the arrival date between 5 and 7 days.|
Lazada mentions in their terms and condition that their warranty period lasts for a year upon the item’s delivery. On the other hand, 11street does not provide any delivery warranty, and they abstain from all responsibilities, so you will need to check with the seller’s exchange and return policy before purchasing anything on the site.
Shopee has Shopee Guarantee that withholds payments to the seller if the buyer does not confirm receiving the item. This warranty lasts for five to seven days, which you can extend once for another three days. If you fail to receive the item within the stated time, you can request for a refund as long as your guarantee is still valid.
In the end, the item never came and he was given a RM60 voucher for the hassle, which he wasn’t happy with as he paid for more than that. He is currently demanding a full refund and wants nothing to do with both the shopping platform and the logistics company ever again.
This is where most of the problems occur, from receiving damaged items to not receiving the items at all, and even orders being cancelled unknowingly. So, what can a buyer do in times like these.
Whether it’s because you cancelled the order or the product you received wasn’t what you expected, you may be keen to get a refund but it doesn’t always come in the format that you want. Here’s how you’ll get back your refund depending on which payment you used as well as the timing it will take to receive the refund.
|Processing time||Within 14 days||7 days to 2 months||Within 14 days|
|Credit Card/Debit Card||Credit Card/Debit Card||Credit Card/Debit Card||Credit Card/Debit Card|
|ATM/Bank Transfer||Store credit/iPay88 reversal refund||Bank transfer/11street credit||Shopee coins|
|Air Cash||N/A||11street credit||N/A|
|Cash @ 7 Eleven||N/A||Bank transfer/11street credit||N/A|
|COD||Bank transfer/store credit||N/A||N/A|
|Gift voucher/Store Credit||Store credit||11street credit||Shopee coins|
Shipping fees to return item
So you’ve received the item and it’s not exactly what you expected. On top of getting the refund, you will also have to return the item. But does that mean you have to pay for it too?
|No shipping fee as long as within date of return||Seller to bear cost unless buyer is returning due to “change of mind”||Seller to bear cost and if there is a dispute, Shopee will decide who will bear the cost|
With Lazada, you can return without any worries of a shipping fee as long as it’s within the easy returns timing of either seven or 14 days. You can find out if your product falls between seven, 14 days or no return available based on the logo shown on the product page.
For both 11street and Shopee, the sellers are usually the ones to bear the cost but there are exceptions. For 11street, the buyer will have to pay the return shipping fees if the reason to return the items is because they changed their mind and don’t want the product anymore. For Shopee, they will decide if there is a dispute between the seller and buyer.
Completely wrong order
Lim took a buy one free one deal for a pair of shoes. But instead of getting two sets of shoes, he received only pair of shoes in the wrong design!
“What a terrible seller, I received a completely different design from the one I ordered, and the seller did not even honour the buy one free one promotion,” said Lim.
A different buyer, who also bought shoes during the 11.11 sale, has a horror story to share as well.
“The shoes I ordered were for an upcoming event but I received a car charger instead! And mind you, it is not even a high quality charger that commands the price I paid for the shoes,” he said.
Other factors to consider
For Shopee, a parcel that is lost or damaged by Poslaju will get a compensation of RM100 (for items up to 2kg) to RM300 (for items more than or equal to 2kg). For lost items, make sure you claim for it not more than 25 days from the pickup date. For damaged items, make the claim within three working days of the delivered date.
With Lazada, your return must meet specific requirements and if your reasoning fails to meet said requirements, their customer service will notify and return the item back to you. Sadly, you won’t be reimbursed for the courier/postal fee of that!
No matter how much of a shopaholic you are, and how well prepared you are for possible problems that could arise as you shop online, things may still go awry.
Refunds may take longer than 14 days, your item can be cancelled without warning, and the item you bought had loads of good reviews but it may still turn out not as good as what you expected.
Regardless, online shopping brings forth all sorts of experience that many are still learning from. The best way to avoid further complications is knowing the shopping platform’s terms and conditions and making sure you make a smart purchase that helps you save time and money in the future.