Describe A Problem You Had While Shopping Online Or In A Store

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card

Describe a problem you had while shopping online or in a store.

You should say:

When it happened?
What you bought?
What problem you had?
And explain how you felt about the experience.

Note: You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.

Model Answer 1:

Well, I am shopaholic by nature and never miss a chance to buy something new and special for myself and I am especially into buying new and fashionable outfits and here I would like to narrate the recent experience rather a disappointing experience that I had while shopping at a store.

What you bought? and When it happened?
The fact is that last month, End of Season Sale was on and I was quite excited about it. There was a massive discount on most of the major brands so I decided to go for shopping to buy something for myself.

I went to my favourite shopping mall MBD which is approximately 100km from my hometown, as most of the major stores are there so it makes the shopping experience fun and enjoyable.

There after checking many stores I ended up at my favourite store of CK and there I found the most items at 50% discount.

There were I decided to purchase few T-shirts and I must say that it was not an easy thing. There were lots of people in the store and everyone was after different articles and it took me more than 1 hour to try different T-shirts that I wanted to buy as most of the time the try rooms were occupied.

What problem you had?
After an hour or so when I selected few of the T-shirts that I wanted to buy ,I approached the cashier or the counter to make the payment. Unfortunately, here when I handed over the debit-card to the cashier. He swiped the card but it didn’t respond .

There must have been some kind of technical issue because he tried multiple times, but the payment didn’t go through. I was in trouble at this time . I tried to make the payment in cash but when I checked my wallet there was not enough money in it.

I requested the store person to let me pay the token money and allow me a day time to pay the rest of the amount but he didn’t because it was the last day of the sale. In fact , I was too far from my hometown so my friend or family member even couldn’t come to help me out.

And explain how you felt about the experience and Conclusion:
Eventually, I had to leave the store empty ‘handed and I missed the T-shirts that I wanted to buy but now I always try to carry extra cash when I go for shopping so that it doesn’t happen to me again.

Model Answer 2:


  • I normally don’t buy clothes or shoes online because of size issues.
  • Different companies have different sizes and sometimes the large size of one company is a small size for another company.
  • However, recently my friend ordered Nike shoes from Amazon, and they were nearly half the price of the Nike retail store.
  • So, I also decided to buy shoes online.

What you bought? and When it happened?

  • 2 months ago, I placed an order for Adidas shoes from Flipkart, another famous retail store.
  • Actually, the same shoes were available on Amazon as well but were about Rs 200 costlier, so I decided to go for Flipkart.
  • I was so excited about the shoes.
  • In fact, I was boasting about the great deal I found on the Internet to my friends.

What problem you had?

  • However, when I opened the box, I was quite disappointed.
  • My shoes were duplicates.
  • The brand name written on the shoes was not Adidas but Adidaas, with a double a.
  • I know a big brand could never make such a big mistake.
  • So, I called the customer care number of Flipkart and told them about the problem.
  • They told me to take a photograph and send it.
  • Immediately, they offered me two choices.
  • Either they could refund the money or I could buy something else for the same price.
  • At the same time, they removed the seller from their platform.
  • They told me to courier the shoes back to the seller.
  • When I emailed them the courier slip, they refunded me the whole amount along with the courier charges I entailed.

And explain how you felt about the experience and Conclusion:

  • I was quite happy with their handling of my complaint.
  • However, I also felt it was a waste of time.
  • The whole process took about two weeks.
  • I could have directly gone to a store and picked up the shoes and the whole thing wouldn’t have taken me more than an hour.

IELTS Speaking Part 3 : Follow up Questions

Here some examples of follow up questions that you may asked during your speaking part 3 by examiner related to cue card “describe a problem you had while shopping online or in a store”.

1. What kind of customer service do you think is good?
I think that creating a good customer experience depends on multiple factors. The companies should ensure that the staff providing the service should be prompt, attentive, and most importantly be very patient and polite with the client.

2. What are the differences between shopping online and in-store?
There are numerous differences between online shopping versus shopping from brick and mortar stores. First of all, online shopping is more convenient as it saves a lot of time and energy. Also, it can be done 24×7, whereas, the stores are generally open for 10-12 hours only. The only benefit of retail stores is that an individual can make a better judgement of the look and feel of the product which is not possible online.

3. What problems do customers often have while shopping?
Generally, the customers are not able to easily find products/goods that match their needs or taste. For example, sometimes if a person likes a particular piece of clothing, he/she might not be able to find the right size for it. Other than that sometimes they might have to deal with rude and impolite staff.

4. What do you think customers should do when there are problems with products bought online? 
The customers should immediately lodge a complaint with the website from which they have bought the product. Also, they should go through the refund and return policy for the product and then take the necessary action.


Photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash

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