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Brick In A Poke

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Laxminarayan Krishnamurthy figured a Samsung Galaxy Core 2 smartphone would make a perfect gift for his wife. When the package arrived from e-tailer Snapdeal.com, it contained a brick and soap. No phone.

The Mumbai retiree was told the phone was stolen by unscrupulous middlemen transporting the package. So Krishnamurthy did what a lot of annoyed consumers do these days: he went on Facebook and vented.

Online sales in India are exploding, but there are a lot of unhappy customers these days like Krishnamurthy. The logistics infrastructure -- warehouses, skilled workers, planes -- isn’t fully in place to make online shopping the mostly seamless experience Americans and Chinese take for granted.

“Had ordered a samsung mobile through snapdeal and we got a soap bar!!!” he wrote on his page. “The worst customer service ever received!!!” His rant was shared more than 21,000 times as consumers chimed in with their own complaints of theft, damaged goods and lost or delayed orders from Snapdeal, Flipkart.com and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), India’s biggest Web stores.

A new twist on the old story.

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