- Unethical business practice amounting to fraud Open
The Internet-based business model, one click economy where men, material and physical office presence is invisible, but you will get whatever you want through a single click. Many of us see it convenient, comfort, feel privileged and proud to be part of this online economy.
This information is about such companies taking part in online travel aggregators like cleartrip and makemytrip.com
Case *. Cleartrip.com
I had booked an air ticket, well in advance, to a particular location. After the booking, I got an email from cleartrip stating that because of some reasons the flight operator has rescheduled the flight and prompted me to cancel the flight through the link provided in the mail. I called up the helpline number of cleartrip and the call centre executive told me that the flight is on time, the mail I received was a wrong one. Suspecting something I told the executive immediately to cancel the ticket which had a refundable amount. The executive told me he has to talk to different people in his organisation and also with the airline to do the same. All these talks, exercise was going on for a very, very long time over the phone,* hours prior to ** hr window, where the refund is possible–once you are in the ** hr bracket of travel time no refund is possible. Though I got in touch with clear trip executive well in advance, there was a possibility to cancel the ticket refund me at least some amount. Now at this juncture, the real smartness of these companies and its employee shows up. The executive said he will get back with details after one hour but he called after * hrs, i.e just * hr before the time approaches ** hr bracket. Again he talked, gave reasons for not cancelling and in the meantime he suggested the flight is on time you can take a chance etc. And deliberately brought the time to the ** hr mark and then he said Sir since you are asking for cancellation now its ** hr from travel time and you will not get the refund, end of story. I lost the entire money.
I couldn’t do anything felt frustrated, cheated and just thought about the company and particularly the executive, as an employee (they reminded me of Americans sitting at their home town thousands of miles from the war zone and operating drones to kill terrorists) these people sit somewhere in the country’s corner’s call centre and killing consumers, without even a blink for a second, and making a clear profitable deal out of it and becoming very loyal to tech entrepreneur/investor, who is sitting in wealthy countries. Do these people have a conscience, morality, ethics nothing. Employees are just an automaton, cold-hearted just taking part in the companies crime through their business practice, earn their salary and live a life bless their heart. I consider that the amount is not a loss, but it’s a donation to my fellow countrymen.
Case * Makemytrip.com
This is a work in progress case yet to conclude. I booked a ticket on *th March to travel to a destination on **st March. The airline is jet airways. I got the confirmation and ticket from MakeMyTrip via mail. On *th March I got mail intimation saying that flight operator cancelled the flight due to operational reasons, and the mail prompted me to cancel the ticket with the full refund. Since I didn’t cancel the ticket from my side, I thought it would be a full refund. But the calculation on MakeMyTrip showed a major chunk of cancellation charges and I would get a small refund. Now I’m trying to reach MakeMyTrip call centre but no response. Jetairways call centre redirects me to the agent(MakeMyTrip). There is no way I can get in touch with anybody or there is no consumer care number which is functioning properly. Their call centre menus are strictly streamlined, regimented and programmed only to either the book or cancel the ticket. These companies use technology to its max to alienate consumers, not aiding them. No way anyone can get in touch with these company executives. The case is live and I’m pretty much sure I will lose this money as well.
So from the above * cases, I feel that the internet economy business model is worst. First, it gives the power to show a product/service which they don’t own, sell it, directly take money out of customers pocket. Second, even before they deliver the final product they cancel the deal and don’t even feel the responsibility to refund the money of an unsold product. This is how they earn the profit, increase their valuation and be the proud CEO’s, entrepreneur of such companies. If you ask them the answer from them would be, we are deducting the amount as we have invested time and money in a particular transaction, it’s our retainer fee. What will happen if you refund the money for which you have sold nothing? How come it becomes the company money as soon as I land up in the portal?
This is nothing short of daylight robbery, or a pickpocket or cheating. What kind of business model is this? How come these employees, CEO’s and investors become so cold-hearted while dealing with fellow humans? What is the rationale behind such action?
If these business models help the companies earn money in such a way and if it’s the accepted practice by the people and government. I would say forgive all the other fraudster, money swindlers, loan defaulters and others whom at least you can see them in physical form. But these invisible company employees and CEO's are just sophisticated fraudsters and they are nothing less than ordinary crooks. Imagine how many customers would have faced a similar situation and cancelled the ticket which is straight profit, loot and jackpot. It’s just white collar crime but legally done under the name online travel portal. This message is not ranting about the loss of money or taking out frustration through writing. It is just a reflection on mesmerizing messages that hit us daily from tech companies, the so-called “technology benefits customers” narratives. Any regulator is watching? Oh forget it, it’s just another day and a few rupees lost. We are just busy with big catches. Citizens, just be aware of these things.
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