Ravi has been receiving mysterious packages at his residence. On June 20, the Gurugram-based supervisor had a supply government with a money on supply bundle value Rs 550 at his doorstep. Assuming that it was a supply for considered one of his relations, he accepted it. Later when he checked with them, it turned out that none of them had ordered something on-line.
The packaging had his identify and handle however didn’t have the identify of any of the e-commerce corporations. “I used to be stunned and tried to study the place the bundle parcel had come from,” remembers Ravi, who requested to be referred below a pseudonym. “My shock became suspicion after I didn’t see any branding on the duvet of the parcel.”
Ravi pressed additional and the supply government (from Xpressbees), informed him that the order was from social commerce main Meesho. Ravi has by no means ordered from Meesho – he doesn’t even have the app downloaded on his smartphone.
9 days later, one other bundle from Meesho confirmed up. “A supply boy appeared with an order which I hadn’t positioned,” he provides.
Upon some analysis, we discovered that in the previous few months, a number of folks akin to Ravi have been receiving such ghost orders from Meesho — none of which that they had ordered. These aren’t remoted incidents. There are numerous on-line complaints throughout Fb, LinkedIn and Twitter the place persons are involved about mysterious on-line orders exhibiting up at their properties once they haven’t ordered something. Entrackr hung out wanting into 25 such posts and spoke to a number of individuals who had skilled it.
“I’ve by no means ordered something utilizing this app (Meesho). Nonetheless acquired an order. Since I used to be unavailable, the courier lied and took cash from my outdated mom and gave a lady’s high which is of no use to me. By no means anticipated this disappointing service from @Meesho_Official,” stated Priyanka Aggarwal in a tweet on July 5.
Entrackr has additionally cross-checked the authenticity of a few of the orders facilitated by these supply companions via their AWB quantity.
Prospects anxious concerning the misuse of non-public information
Individuals receiving these unsolicited orders are spooked. Two such clients Entrackr spoke with had been frightened about their private information being misused. “These ghost orders are harassment, breach of privateness and doubtlessly encouraging scamsters,” stated Vikram Gandhi, a Surat-based dealer who acquired one such mysterious order from Meesho final month.
This comes within the backdrop of Meesho claiming impressively excessive month-to-month order numbers, going up greater than six occasions from 3.1 million in March 2020 to nearly 20 million in March 2021. Whereas this sudden rise in volumes is doubtlessly a results of extra folks shopping for on-line because of the pandemic, it has left business specialists stunned since no different e-commerce firm within the nation has witnessed such a surge in volumes throughout the 12 months interval.
Whereas there is no such thing as a approach to quantify if these ghost orders have contributed to the spike so as numbers for Meesho, it looks like the corporate’s resellers are engaged on this apply of sending CoD orders to individuals who haven’t order within the hopes that some could settle for it, making it a win for the resellers.
The resellers on Meesho sometimes share product catalogues, pictures and costs on social platforms (totally on WhatsApp). They share a mark up worth which incorporates their fee, too. As soon as they obtain an order from a buyer, they add the shopper’s handle and cellphone quantity for the supply of the products and the order is positioned through the Meesho system to the vendor.
Resellers haven’t any danger within the recreation. They make a fee on no matter they’re able to promote however haven’t any danger of stock or reverse logistics prices of those refused orders — which is often an enormous value centre for e-commerce companies.
Following the pandemic-induced lockdown in 2020, Meesho had dropped its personal commissions considerably and introduced them all the way down to almost 1%. This led to a drop within the costs of the merchandise.
The resellers, apparently, began searching for methods to make up for this loss of their earnings.
For example, a t-shirt promoting on Meesho for Rs. 99 is chosen by the reseller. They then add a fee of say Rs 100 on high of it, plug in private data (identify, handle, cellphone quantity) concerning the on-line purchaser. The reseller then locations a number of money on supply (CoD) orders within the names of those unsuspecting clients.
The courier firm goes and picks up the product from the provider’s location and makes an attempt the supply on the buyer’s location talked about by the reseller. Given the low worth of the product, the shopper could find yourself accepting the CoD order, pondering that somebody in the home should have ordered the merchandise.
What will get complicated for the shopper is that there is no such thing as a Meesho branding on the bundle and clients don’t get to know that the bundle is from Meesho. There’s additionally no point out of the contents and merchandise on the bundle. The lack of knowledge mixed with the low worth required to be paid as CoD leads many to just accept the packets. There have additionally been situations of individuals refusing to take the order as properly.
Now, when the merchandise will get accepted by the shopper, the reseller makes their fee of Rs 100. If the order will get returned, the reseller doesn’t make any fee. The prices incurred in both sending or returning the packet (known as ahead or reverse logistics) aren’t paid by the reseller in both case.
So, the reseller has nothing to lose and far to achieve by pumping ghost orders into the Meesho ecosystem.
Entrackr despatched an in depth questionnaire to Meesho in search of feedback about these ghost orders, and an organization spokesperson wrote, “We’re unaware of any such incident happening, nevertheless, we request that you simply share with us any data you’ll have uncovered on this regard to allow us to take acceptable authorized actions to offer clear and user-friendly expertise.”
The spokesperson additional defined that since they’re solely current for order fulfilment, Meesho doesn’t show their identify on the packages. In addition they clarified that “there is no such thing as a misuse of any private information at Meesho’s finish.”
Queries despatched to Shadowfax and Xpressbees final week didn’t elicit any response.
Are Meesho’s insurance policies fueling the hearth?
Sending unidentified items in unbranded packets is one a part of the issue. Other than that, Meesho additionally offers coupons, first buy gives, volume-based incentives to resellers — which turn into an added incentive for resellers to push as a lot quantity as they will.
In response to Entrackr sources, reseller companies have popped up throughout Gujarat and Rajasthan who’ve deployed sizable folks behind this operation to capitalise on this implies of constructing simple cash. The SoftBank-backed firm, nevertheless, has denied consciousness of any such companies of their response to the queries.
Via our analysis, it has been powerful to validate if the corporate is abetting or condoning this apply. Nonetheless, it’s arduous to think about that the corporate wouldn’t be its metrics of orders intently.