E-Commerce seems to be all the rage these days with COVID-19 restrictions in place.
Social distancing, Tracetogether everywhere, the traumatic supermarket rushes—aiya just order everything online lah.
It’s just a few simple clicks and you will find whatever you want and need at your doorstep.
Or is it really that simple and convenient?
No Goods in Sight
Recently, a 43-year-old woman by the surname of Huang told Shin Min Daily News that she had failed to receive the items she bought from a Mdada livestream on 31 Oct despite waiting for more than two months.
Having paid for the ordered branded wallet and an article of clothing that cost S$535 and S$128 respectively, Huang was only met with more delays and empty promises of her items arriving after contacting the customer service in early December, and then a full refund for the wallet 11 days later while the status of the clothing item remained unknown.
Safe to say, her wallet has fewer holes, but the continuation of this frustrating situation did little to soothe Huang’s aggravations.
Moreover, Huang was not the only customer who filed a complaint, since another customer bought a pair of shoes for S$103 on 23 Oct and has yet to receive them.
The Faces of Mdada
Before we get into the company’s response proper, what is Mdada, and who runs it?
If you’re asking that, you must’ve been living under a rock.
Mdada is a company that was co-founded in Sep 2020 by Singaporean media stars Pornsak Prajakwit, Michelle Chia, and celebrity hairstylist Addy Lee, who sell various products through entertaining Facebook livestreams.
You can certainly say that they have taken the spotlight in their own way once more.
The company’s rise to popularity is owed to the natural traction that its co-founders already possessed, and the CEO Pornsak posits that their success is built on the fact that they are known faces with the ability to interact well and promote the products, which makes their viewers more willing to trust and buy the products they personally use and believe in.
While Mdada has kept its revenue figures confidential, they have admitted that it has been very profitable.
Mdada’s Dallying Responses
Their venture into European products, however, especially the cheeses, have soured and started to cause a stink in their reputation though.
Last Thursday evening (30 Dec), Addy Lee shared on a livestream that their forecast for Europe had been mired with financial losses and that there was a 12% administration fee that their customers weren’t charged for because they had forgotten about it.
Additionally, their venture has been riddled with logistical issues like goods not being delivered to their European storehouses yet since COVID-19 has affected general mobility and the ease of trade. Lee also mentioned that they were even trapped in Europe due to the reinstated travelling restrictions from the new wave of Omicron Variant cases.
Of course, is Addy Lee exaggerating his own losses and playing the sympathy card to mitigate the customers’ anger on their failure to deliver, or is there more truth to it?
COVID-19 Situation in Europe
Certainly, there has been waves of lockdowns and tightening restrictions occurring throughout Europe:
- Germany peaked in COVID-related deaths in April 2021, and has been dealing with its fourth wave of the COVID Delta Variant since June 2021
- Italy eased its COVID restrictions since May 2021, but there are still red zones rules in effect which affect businesses in select areas.
- United Kingdom is still grappling with the negative effects of the earlier COVID Beta Variant, and Brexit restrictions have come into effect
- Netherlands is still in partial lockdown
- Austria had a strict four month lockdown since Dec 2020 which was only eased in 7 Feb 2021, then implemented a strict 20-day lockdown starting from 19 Nov 2021.
These are just a few listed examples. The European products that Mdada promoted are being produced in some of these countries.
The CEO Pornsak publicly apologised for the logistical oversight and has halted further Europe-based livestreams for the time being to handle the outstanding orders and hasten its deliveries and asks for the customers’ forgiveness.
Alas, unlike the food shows that Pornsak hosted in the past, or the hair that Addy Lee used to style, customer dissatisfaction is not something that can be brushed off with a comment or carefully snipped away; an order missed, a mistake made, all of it is recorded and there to stay.
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Featured Image: Facebook (Mdada达达开播)
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