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Tmall briefly suspends refunds, consumers unhappy

By Zhang Ye (Global Times)

08:39, November 13, 2012

Tmall, the business-to-consumer (B2C) subsidiary of Alibaba Group, has temporarily forbidden its buyers from returning goods that have not yet been delivered, online shoppers complained to the Global Times Monday, although Tmall said the move was intended to help sellers to serve buyers more efficiently.

"I regretted buying a set of bed linen on Tmall Sunday. According to my previous shopping experience, I could cancel the deal and get refunded immediately after negotiating with the sellers. But now the deal can not be canceled before the goods are delivered," a Zhengzhou resident surnamed Yi told the Global Times Monday via telephone.

Online platforms generally allow consumers to apply for a refund at any time as long as the goods have not yet been sent out by the sellers, in order to protect consumers' rights.

Tmall suspended this service between November 11 and 18, intending to make it easier for sellers to deliver goods rapidly after its Singles' Day promotion (on November 11).

The number of orders surged during this year's promotion on Sunday, resulting in a total sales volume for Tmall of 13.2 billion yuan ($2.12 billion), according to data released by Tmall Monday.

"Sellers are very busy delivering goods and have no time to handle applications for returning goods. Besides, the temporary shutdown of this service will hold large amounts of money on Alipay, the online payment platform developed by Alibaba, providing considerable funds for Alibaba's operation," an industry insider told the Global Times Monday on the condition of anonymity.

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