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Jakarta Post
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Customer complaints rise as e-commerce thrives

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Sat, January 9, 2016 | 06:01 pm
Customer complaints rise as e-commerce thrives

As online commerce grows exponentially, customer complaints are rising accordingly, with the sector recording the fourth-highest number of complaints in Jakarta in 2015, according to the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI).

'€œThis is the first time ever that the sector has been in the top 10 most-complained-about sectors, and it'€™s shot straight to number 4,'€ said YLKI complaints and law division head Sularsi in South Jakarta on Friday.

Of 1,030 reports received by the foundation, 77, or around 8 percent, were related to online shops. Seventy percent of cases originated in Jakarta, with the remainder from regions across the country.

The increase in complaints, Sularsi said, was in line with the sector'€™s stratospheric rise in recent years; business statistics portal Statista notes that the number of digital buyers in Indonesia in 2011 was 2 million, but had leapt 55 percent to 3.1 million by 2013.

The portal furthermore expects the number of online shoppers to have continued increasing since 2013 and to continue increasing in the future, projecting 7.4 million and 8.7 million buyers in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

YLKI data show that the 77 complaints were related to issues such as refunds, late deliveries, undelivered items and one-party cancelations.

Most online shopping portals provide space for individual online sellers to sell their goods; selling and buying transaction quality can vary widely depending on the respective portal'€™s policy.

Responding to the report, Lazada Indonesia CEO Magnus Ekbom said that the number of complaints reported to the YLKI reflected the size of his firm'€™s e-commerce business.

'€œThe number of complaints reflects the relative size of our business. The most important thing for Lazada is keeping our customer promise to provide an effortless shopping experience and ensuring no customers are left unhappy,'€ he wrote in an email.

Lazada had 500 customer service agents on standby 24 hours a day and provided a 100 percent money and satisfaction guarantee, Ekbom said.

The site, which houses at least 11,000 tenants, sold 1.7 million items during Online Shopping National Day (Harbolnas) from Dec. 10 to 12.

Similarly, Bukalapak CEO Achmad Zaky said that his company'€™s sales had been more than doubling yearly and that over Harbolnas, his site had been the venue for more than 10 million transactions.

'€œAs the business grows, we always strive to settle disputes between our tenants and their buyers. However, satisfaction parameters vary from one customer to another. Nevertheless, we always educate our tenants that the buyers remain the first priority,'€ Achmad said.

To safeguard its reputation, he added, Bukalapak had already severed ties with hundreds of tenants that had failed to comply with the site'€™s service benchmarks. The site is now used as a selling space by more than 500,000 vendors.

To minimize customer complaints, YLKI'€™s Sularsi said, the government should look into issuing regulations to protect both buyers and sellers.

Meanwhile, most online buyers interviewed said that while they rarely encountered problems with virtual shopping, one bad experience was enough to upset them and color their opinion of the site in question.

'€œI once bought a T-shirt from Zalora for my boss'€™ birthday, but it had a defect and I had to return it. It'€™s good that Zalora paid me the small delivery cost in voucher form, but the fact that the supposedly timely present came late annoyed me,'€ said 28-year-old Sherlly.

Private-sector employee Astrid also had a bad experience. '€œIn November, I bought an item from Lazada as it was still displayed '€˜in-stock'€™. After a week, I still hadn'€™t received it, so I contacted the reseller [Lazada'€™s tenant], who told me the item was actually out of stock. She said that I needed to contact Lazada myself to get my money back. But I was very busy at the time, so I never bothered contacting the site,'€ she explained. (rbk)

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