An item I bought from the online shop Snapdeal.com was sent by the courier Ecom Express. According to the tracking result, it arrived in my city on June 30, but it is still not delivered as of today, July 10.
I live near the centre of a state capital, beside the main road, surrounded by many important landmarks. One such landmark is right next door and I include it in my address. I receive 200-300 courier articles every year without any serious problem.
Ecom Express seems to be rather new in my city. Since I don't know their location or contact number, I sent an email to their Customer Care on July 4, asking for their local address and phone number. The reply did not give me the desired information, but said that the delay was caused by an "unforeseen backlog" and to "anticipate delay in delivery".
The next day, Snapdeal sent me an SMS saying that my address is "Out of delivery area" and directed me to collect the package from the courier. I emailed both Snapdeal and Ecom Express, saying that I cannot accept their "Out of delivery area" claim. I explained the details of my location and my previous experiences with other courier deliveries.
I also added to Ecom Express that I would take the matter to consumer court if my package was not delivered without further delay.
On July 7, I received a missed call from an unknown out-of-state landline number. In case the call was from Ecom Express, I tried to call back 4-5 times but could not get through. I tried again the next day, with the same result.
On July 8, Snapdeal called me and asked me if I wanted to cancel my order. I said 'no'. The same day, Ecom Express added a remark on the tracking result "Address Unlocatable - Consignee not contactable".
I have recently found out by asking other couriers the general area where Ecom Express is located. It's about 4 km from my location, but they don't know exactly where or their contact number.
What I'd like to ask of experienced members is -
1. Do couriers have legal right to arbitrarily declare delivery area limits within the city they are supposed to serve?
2. If I take the matter to the local consumer court (District Forum), do I have a good case?
3. What would be a reasonable amount to claim as compensation for all the time and effort I put in, as well as the frustration and the very real mental anguish I went through?
I will also appreciate any other advice and suggestions. Thanks in advance.