08 Aug 2012

Shortcut to Growth: Cheat the customer

I may be getting old.
But of late I am constantly suspicious of large organisations who are trying to do me out of my hard-earned money.
Especially when I transact online.

For people like me, fortunately, there are plenty of ways banks and credit card companies help in safegaurding my money. However not all these options are quick or easy or either.

So when I was booking online tickets last night the first instinct was to check fares then go to the airline site, then see the final fare, generate a Netsafe card and so on and so forth.

Yes, you safe travellers, prudent online shoppers will tell me I did wrong.

And yes I did wrong. We booked our tickets on Make my trip!

So we find out fares, decide dates, time, flights, there, back, arrival, departure. The regular stuff. Then we mentally calculate roughtly how much it will be. Then we buy. Put in credit card details and whoosh! Your off to your destination. Right? No wrong!

Because what you are charged on your credit card is EXACTLY DOUBLE of what the amount is. Why? How? No one knows.

SO here’s the deal. The card has been wrongly charged. The first instinct is to call Makemytrip.
Which we do. There comes the IVR. First four digits of this. Then last four digits of that. Then press 1 for… and press 7 for… After using every button on the phone (or touching every square inch on the touchscreen phone) you get someone remotely human who happily tells you “The System is Down”

Ok… step back a bit here… remember the amnesia ad?
The one where all the guy remembers is that he went on several holidays (where he misbehaved like a true Indian!) on Make my Trip? Funny how your brand truly reflects in your advertiisng or how your advertising infects  your brand behaviour!

They’ve forgotten they have double charged my credit card barely five minutes back. Now the system is down?!

Well, there was an encore. Second round.

Is it success when they tell you that it was an error?

Or is it greater success when they telll you they will return it?

But hang on… they said they’d CALL me in 3 working days and then reverse the charges in another 5 working days. Do the math. That’s almost 2 weeks gone. 2 weeks that separate me and my money. Do some more math please. This amount due back to me is over 10 k. And this is not something that has happened the first time. I’ve heard this story from many people. It’s just that your guard is down and wham! You’re slapped with being a stupid customer by one of these game-playing cheating organisations.

Find 10 other foolish customers in a hurry and how much do you have for the day? And you sit on it for 15 days? At what interest rate? A banker would be ashamed to be sitting at the same table as you guys.

So here someone is travelling but I am off on antoher trip to spend hard earned money to get my own hard earned money back by some scamsters.

Is that the only way to growth that they can see? Cheating the trusting customer?

Guess we have to be wiser consumers. And the site can be better named:

Make my trip could well be Take My Trip!