Customer Service, the Zalora Standard

Apparently there’s some trouble brewing over at Zalora. Before anything, here’s their refund policy as copied from their site.

How long does it take for me to receive a refund?

Once your return is received and accepted (usually within 3 – 5 working days after the drop-off at the post office), a refund would be issued within 1-2 working days. Please note that depending on the payment method it may take up to to 14 days for a refund to reach you.

So, as many of you have already read here, iOS Dev Scout head Mugunth Kumar, did not recieve his refund after more than 68 days. And immediately, I heard from a couple more friends, that this is actually pretty normal, and search the web brings up even more examples. So, is this really a “one-off” case that they claim it is, or is there a bigger problem?

  1. ZALORA = Z-LIST CUSTOMER SERVICE
  2. Zalora Singapore
  3. BEWARE: Zalora Singapore
  4. My Zalora experience — good & bad
  5. Zalora.sg, Your experiences?
  6. Z.A.L.O.R.A S.U.C.K.S wait whaaat???
  7. zalora sg
  8. Zalora Singapore // An Online Shopping x Fashion Review

And there are many more of such blog posts and forum threads if you look through google for reviews of Zalora.

So, another incident relating to Zalora involved a friend of mine, Ryan Lou. When he first initiated the refund process, he really liked the process. So much so that in his story complaining about it, he was still praising that process. However, the problem came in at the point when they made the actual transfer. According to the emails, they claimed to have made the transfer, and even provided a date. He replied back saying that he had not received it, and they just ignored his emails after that. He got his refund by going to Paypal before the 60 day limit exceeded, and got paypal to return him the money, and luckily for him, that happened. He was nice enough to get Paypal to only return the money for the stuff he returned. After the whole incident, this was what he had to say about the whole process.

Throughout the whole process I felt manipulated, they told me they had made a refund over the phone and via email. I now shop at ASOS, at least they don’t have to hide behind a nice looking box.

Couple of questions that immediately come to mind.

  1. One off incident. Really?
  2. Paypal, this is the exact kind of accounts you should be freezing. Why aren’t you doing something? (I’m assuming you guys still want to protect consumers)

So the question is this. We have often been asked to be supportive of our local startups, but is this behaviour something that we should condone? Is supporting this kind of behaviour beneficial for the startup ecosystem as a whole? Or should we stop grin fucking our startups, and treat them like ordinary businesses that should deliver what they promise?

If someone else is paying, you are the product

So recently, in the quiet tech scene in Singapore, HackerX has been spreading onto the newsfeeds of the geeks, with people searching for more information about it.

We figured it was one of those recruitment events organised by a HR company trying to look hip, and it all seemed normal, until I reached this page, the tickets for employers page.

HackerX-Singapore (Front End) Employer Ticket Tickets, Singapore - Eventbrite - 2013-10-27_17.00.34

Of course, as it always is, tickets for hackers are free, but there’s a catch, it’s invite only, and according to their site, there’ll be around 50 developers there.

So let’s do the maths, assuming they fill up 10 out of 15 slots, and each company on average sends 1.5 people, you now have 15 paid tickets, which earns them a total of $5925 (not sure if it’s USD or SGD). Basically, what is happening, is that they are selling 2 hours of 50 developer’s time, for a total of ~$6000, which makes it around $100 per developer, which sounds about right, except that the money doesn’t go into the pockets of these developers. It goes to Talent&Co. Yes, that’s the company behind HackerX.

So before you eagerly accept that personal invitation from them to attend, take note that they are trying to sell your time to startups without giving you anything in return, and think about whether it’s worth your time. They are profiting off your time. Charge them for selling your time ;)

Oh and people they have invited have complained that there is no transparency in which companies would actually be there.

Making your ASUS router work with Starhub

So I posted about this before, except it was to use your own router instead of using the crappy gateway that Starhub provides. My router was getting old, despite it still being better than Starhub’s gateway, it was still rather slow. So I got a ASUS AC66. Turns out, you can make your ASUS router spoof itself as Starhub’s gateway, and instead of having 3 devices (the ONT, Starhub Gateway, ASUS router), you can reduce it to 2.

Below are the settings that you can use to spoof Starhub’s gateway.

Internet: VID 1071 PRIO 1 or VID 1078 PRIO 1
IPTV (LAN 4): VID 1099 PRIO 1
VoIP (LAN 3): VID 1095 PRIO 1
Authentication: disable
Host Name: Serial Number of your gateway
MAC Address: MAC address of your gateway

*Disclaimer: Not all routers can do this, make sure it can support vlan tagging first