We’ve all known that special someone, or often heard horror stories, where an order placed on an online store went sour. Someone ordered a smartphone and received a brick or the wrong device. Sometimes it’s even worse because you have to do all the explaining. And sometimes people just make things up but that’s another story.

Let’s find out how anyone can easily buy electronics online in India in a secure and hassle-free manner. You really just need to keep a few points in mind while you’re shopping for electronics. High-value purchases can be a risky affair if you are a first-time buyer when it comes to electronics.

Pick an online store

Assuming you’ve already done your research, you need to pick an online store where you’ll make a purchase. We highly recommend that you pick only the top online marketplaces in the country: Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm, or Snapdeal (in no specific order here). Although you should compare pricing on all these sites before you buy, ideally these sites can be ranked in terms of usual pricing as; Paytm (effective prices), Snapdeal, Amazon, and Flipkart.

Prices for electronics vary all the time. These prices fluctuate multiple times during the day. There are high chances that you’ll buy something one day and it’ll go on discount the other day. There’s nothing much you can do about that. To compare prices, you can simply do a basic Google search with the product’s name. Google is probably the best no-nonsense price comparison engine you can use today.

Comparing prices on Google is super easy, and you get quick results.

Comparing prices on Google is super easy, and you get quick results.

Pick the right seller

Once you are done selecting the right store for your purchase, you need to pick the right seller. Contrary to the popular belief, major online stores are actually just marketplaces where a large number of sellers are involved. These sellers compete on the platform in terms of pricing and shipping.

The right seller is the one who has the following qualities:

1. Good feedback on the marketplace
2. Ships to your location, of course
3. Features marketplace co-branding like Amazon Fulfilled (with Amazon Prime), Flipkart Assured, or Snapdeal Fulfilled (Gold listings).

Good feedback is the first and most important thing you will notice about a seller on a marketplace. Almost all popular online stores now feature seller ratings which are a result of their customers’ feedback collected over a period of time. This is extremely important and tells you if a seller ships genuine devices. The feedback also helps you understand the quality of the product in a much better way. Some customers also post product photos in their review.

Picking the right online marketplace and the seller will define your customer care experience. Be it Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal or Paytm – you will come across a consistent set of top sellers on all these marketplaces.

If you are looking to swap your old smartphones, LED TV, tablet, or other electronics online we suggest you go with wither Flipkart or Amazon. The exchange offers on these sites are safe, convenient, and extremely easy to use.

Marketplace co-branding on Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal ensures that products are present at the company’s warehouse instead of the seller. This ensures great packaging and quicker delivery options. If you come across a seller that fulfills the order on their own, we would suggest you skip them or move to another online store.

Payments

The payment part of the entire process is what scares a lot of people. All payment methods on all popular online stores are completely safe. For low-value transactions (ideally below Rs.50,000) these marketplaces let you pay using cash on delivery (COD). For transactions above Rs.50,000 you are generally barred from using COD.

But we highly recommend you pay using an online payment method like a credit or debit card, net-banking account, or a mobile wallet. The biggest advantage to using an online payment method is that you don’t have to worry about refunds, apart from the fact that they’re really convenient. When you pay using cash on delivery, the two popular refund mechanisms are a cheque that is mailed to you or a manual bank transfer. Keeping a tab on those can be a royal pain in the arse.

Handling returns

The biggest advantage of buying only from the top online marketplaces is that returns and refunds are much easier to handle. In case you receive a unit that is dead-on-arrival or if you receive the wrong device you can easily file a return. The return process is pretty streamlined if you follow it.

At first, you need to let the online marketplace know what went wrong. Before you start penning down an essay to post on Facebook or another social platform, open the online store’s website and reach out to them directly. You can easily find links to return or file a complaint under the section where all your orders are listed.

You’ll be expected to provide details such as what went wrong and how you would like to receive a refund. Most marketplaces would prefer to offer you a refund instead of a direct replacement, although you can also receive replacements if you request them. Returns are generally handled quickly. Sites like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal would arrange a pick up in around 24-48 hours from your place. The refunds are processed when these orders arrive at the store’s local dispatch center.

All websites have a different window period for returning products. This means for some products it may be 30 days while for others it might be just 10 days. Make sure you’re aware of that before you make a purchase. In case anything goes wrong with the product after this time period you’ll need to reach out to the manufacturer directly to claim warranty.