Saturday, March 1, 2008

Consumer’s a Hobo and [Y] Co.

Growing economy, increasing buying power, liberalization etc. etc. are only fancy phrases. The modern Indian consumer market is as progressive as an Opera.

After all the bullshit is slinged and the beat settles, the fact is you still have to pay extra in the form of a tip, bribe or commission to get basic service.
Let me narrate one of the instances that has disgruntled me.

I’m coming to U.K. so I book a ticket from Delhi to London for a particular date.
Then I change my mind and decide to fly to Manchester instead. Promise you for sane reasons. Now, I check with [Y]atra, the online booking portal I've got my tickets booked with, if I would be paying any extra money to cancel the ticket already booked and book another one on the new route with the same airline. Unfortunately, people at their call centre cannot even attend to an FAQ respectably.
They were however nice enough to give me the requisite information ultimately. So, I’ll be charged Rs. 400. I’m like fairplay, I’ll go with that.

So I cancel my ticket to London and book one to Manchester. Now, both tickets cost close to 20,000 leave alone the cancellation charges. That apart, the time and effort in calling these instruction reading service executives, takin a million ref. no.s and wt not.
Anyways, once I’ve booked it I ask them how long it would take for them to credit the amount of the first ticket into my account. Now the thing is, this is my dad’s credit card and its not a lot of fun playing wit. Right so these buggers tell me they’ll credit it back to my account within 3-4 days. Fairplay.
Its been a month since I’ve come to Leeds, and the money has still not been credited to my father’s account. This, inspite of him repeatedly calling them up and mailing them.
Its painful to even think of him going through that routine. I mean he had to pay the credit card company double of what he had to at the end of Jan.
It is important to understand that this is not just about the money, but about the whole façade of customer service and online transaction security.

Its time we have better consumer forums that are accessible and fierce. Some one’s gotta take [Y]atra’s trip and make mine better. Untill then, I’m awaiting a defamation case. haha. O I forgot they’d be too lazy to file one, besides their damages would never exceed mine. Fuck it! who's reading this.


keta.. said...

pretty much on the NRI track already buddy!!

Kuber said...

wtf do u mean by dat ketaki!!!

brijesh tripathi said...

hey all the terms mentioned in the beginning are as fancy phrases as everything else - they are true too.
i never paid extra to get the basic service - it was usually for exclusive service, which i hardly use.
I hardly pay tip and whenever i do i do it from my heart - ahh so sweetI do imagine & understand the case may be different in uk, but then nothing can beat the bribe money paid in India - for 'basic' services like vehicle registration, electricity, property - any govt. activity....
so am i contradicting myself?
not if i explain my point - all i'm saying is yeah you do have to pay extra - but that extra is for extra service - in case of my quoted examples, it is for the time factor or something-missing-but-can-be-done-by-jugaad factor..etc.
agreed, the system needs to be improvised - if it's corruption here, it's elegance/tip-system[pardon my limited vocab] elsewhere, while it may be something else somewhere else - now that's a poem.

all things aside - i do feel, yeah, the system , be it [y]atra, be it some other service provider - these are all the thorns that accompany the sweet rose of sitting at home and ticketing your way away - and too add to that these thorns seldom come our way....of course we never forget even a single occurrence of it - that's us.
so i have drifted from - arguing that the terms mentioned as fancy phrases to be reality - to saying that it is the system - which itself is a pseudo-transparent word - to saying that it's the individual perception that customizes these definitions.

so no worries mate - you know you will get that money back - i know it's a pain writing all those mails and making those calls..especially if that's someone not very comfortable with the medium - internet - it's just a thing that happened - of course non-competency on [y]atra's part but then , i guess, in this case u fall in that 0.11% dissatisfied customers - Yo maan.. it'll be good soon, somebody's going to make a trip from [y]atra soon - hehe i've turned this out into an extreme overreaction - while it was just a simple blog - a note of one's bitter experience - nevermind homie - u do me the same when i have one..
and just to put the cherry on these needless-to-be-told things while answering the question, may i add - yeah i read this! ?
[i really wonder if there should be a question mark in the end - grammatically and otherwise]

Kuber said...

Last thing first..Yes grammatically there should be a question mark but its a rhetoric so its excusable i think..Besides i feel quite strongly about this not because i'm in another part of the world but because its not the first time i've been in those 0.11% of dissatisfied customers. I think that %age fig itself is questionable as dissatisfaction is so damn subjective and everybody equally disgruntled doesn write a blog about it...
I would also like to add that sometimes that extra bit of service is just percieved as extra by the customer when he is well and truly entitled to it every single time...the lack of it most of the times is what makes the few times extra special..

Mellow Muse said...

hmm.. not bad at all..
keep it goin..