They say, “Something that’s a boon can quickly turn into a curse if it’s not used appropriately”. The internet is one such boon that has made everything Swift and convenient. You can order almost anything online with a few clicks. PULA has been an amazing platform for female entrepreneurs. We believe in supporting small businesses and giving our members a platform to promote it. However, there are some elements that engage in dishonest dealings.
In July 2017, a group member posted about suit materials at a throwaway price. A lot of ladies ordered the said materials and paid the money in advance. A few days before the post, she had posted a picture of her husband along with an adorable child thus portraying herself as a normal mum on the group. The picture got several hundreds of likes and comments. However, things took an ugly turn when the seller deleted her Facebook profile, turned off her phone and disappeared. At first everyone assumed she was going through some issues and that she would soon return, but that never happened. After a lot of posts and complaints, group founder and admin Sonia had to take matters in her hands. She posted asking members if anyone knew the seller personally. The post was flooded with comments; some blaming the group, some trolling and some being hopeful. Sonia took it all in her stride and was determined to get to the bottom of this. She posted a 2nd post informing the group members that all was not lost and that appropriate action could be taken. She appealed to the group members that had fallen prey to the scam asking them to contact her via Facebook messenger so the matter could be taken forward.
Then came the 3rd and final post from Sonia. We have always maintained that PULA is not a business group and that any deals gone wrong are the buyer’s responsibility. She didn’t have to go through all the trouble but she did given the fact that she is a good human being. An angel in disguise from the group came forward and offered to help since she had a cousin who works for the Crime Branch. All the contact information and bank account details of the fraudulent seller was forwarded to the group member’s cousin who put in a request to have them blacked. Paytm helped with a number where the seller transferred funds. When Sonia called the said number, it was the seller’s friend, he got scared and shared the seller’s sister’s number. Sonia was already in touch with the seller’s sister since the previous night but it looked like the person posing as the sister was the seller herself! She wouldn’t admit it, though. However, when the member that had helped us with the Crime Branch connection called the seller and told her that the cops had been informed and that she would soon be in trouble, she agreed to pay up.
The total amount of money she had scammed 18 ladies for came up to a whopping 61,000 INR! She transferred the money to Sonia’s account and it took Sonia over 3 days to transfer them to the ladies that were scammed and thus, after all the chaos and several sleepless nights for Sonia and probably all involved, the case was closed but not without an appeal from Sonia to the members requesting them to be alert while buying. She also had a strong word for the members that defamed and trolled her and PULA. It’s easy to blame and accuse but hard to lead the way and be a part of the solution instead of a problem. Lessons learned! This instance highlighted the power of PULA yet again.
This real incident is conceptualized by Prajakta Mayank Noel from the post on PULA.