The Cleartrip- Paytm Fiasco! And a question of who lost the customer for whom?

By Sanchit on Thursday, June 16, 2016

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paytm cleartrip cashback fraud

This is a post about about a recent transaction I had with Paytm and Cleartrip which ended in Me deciding to avoid using them in future and how 1 Business can affect the other due to its mistakes. So here it goes-

Many months back I read a question on Quora " Why should 1 use Paytm when there are other websites available?" And here is what Mr Vijay Shekhar Sharma ( Founder of Paytm) had to say-

why should you use paytm

The answer is 100% relatable. I Myself use Ebay, Amazon, Snapdeal, Shopclues, Paytm, Freecharge etc depending on various factors. Each website has certain advantages and paytm knows its biggest advantage is CASHBACKS.

Initially I started using paytm for the cashbacks and now I use it mainly 3 cases-

1.) When there is some good deal

2.) When My paytm wallet is linked to some app (Uber, Little etc)

3.) When I am on some website and lazy enough to write credit card details!

I used paytm for bill payments, DTH payments, buying stuff on paytm, shopping on other websites and till date I didnt face any issues except 2 incidences-

1.) Once I got Duplicate Sennheiser earphones from paytm. I immediately filed a refund request. It was approved swiftly and refund processed to paytm wallet. Good work!

2.) Another Time there was a cashback coupon of "15% discount" while booking ticket at Pvr cinemas. I booked  the ticket but did not get any cashback. After few days I got an email from paytm saying

 "The coupon was for every 10th transaction at paytm but they forgot to add this line to the terms"

Now mistakes do happen but the one committing it should own up to it and not pass to others. I emailed paytm and a cashback of Rs 50 was received. The amount was not much but it would have been a case of wrongful advertising had it not been processed.

Coming to the latest incident (and the entry of cleartrip)-

I had to book 2 flight tickets and was looking for deals online. Till date I had used Goibibo for flight and hotel bookings and was very happy with it. I have tried other apps (yatra, via, tripadvisor etc) but I didnt like their user interface. I was always looking for atleast one more app as backup.

I checked on Paytm and there was a cleartrip coupon of 10% discount (maximum Rs 500, Minimum transaction Rs 3000 excluding tax, maximum redumption 4 times) on using coupon code CTPT10.

I installed the cleartrip app and created an account and the user interface and general app navigation was quite good.

Now those people who know Me knows that I complete go into the "zone" when I have to make booking or read some terms and conditions. If their life is at stake and they have to chose 1 person to read the terms and find a loophole it would most likely be Me.

So the ticket booking process started after research of 1 Hour-

1 Ticket was close to Rs 7000 while the other one was close to Rs 4500. I figured out I would save around Rs 1000 by using coupon code as the max redemption was Rs 500.

Entered the details for the 7000 booking in cleartrip and selected paytm wallet as option. Got the message that I could not pay via paytm as RBI has placed guidelines of maximum wallet usage of Rs 10,000 without KYC verification and My paytm wallet usage for the month was already close to Rs 5000. Immediately applied at Paytm to send someone and collect the KYC documents to upgrade wallet.

Now the hunt for another coupon started. There was a coupon for Rs 300 cashback on domestic 1 way flight booking on cleartrip. I figured out I can use that coupon, get Rs 300 in cleartrip wallet and use paytm to book 2nd ticket as it was for around Rs 4500 and less than the wallet limit ( I had spent Rs 5000 earlier and the limit was 4500).

I was skeptical when I would get the 300 cashback as I wanted to book the ticket immediately. Thankfully the cashback was received immediately.

I proceeded to book the 2nd ticket and applied Rs 300 cashback I had just received. Since the terms and conditions for the paytm coupon mentioned "minimum Rs 3000 transaction" I checked again to see If My base fare went below that amount after adding the cashback. But no everything was fine. I applied the code "CTPT10" and got the below message-

cleartrip fraud

Booking was done and surprisingly no cashback received. I knew something was wrong as paytm cashback is instant. I thought of contacting support but the faqs said it can take upto 24 hours so I decided to wait as maybe it takes Time to sync with cleartrip.

Still I sent an email to paytm and got an automated response that the query would be answered shortly. More than 24 hours passed and no response was received so I  decided to tweet to paytmcare and this is how it went-

paytm cashback

paytm bad customer support

So a regular paytm customer was saying that he is damn sure that coupon was applied the best response that paytm could come up with was "No". Remember still no reply to the support email which said they would respond ASAP!

I realised there may have been some issue with the cleartrip app and they might have not sent the notification of coupon being applied to paytm so I decided to email cleartrip. I emailed cleartrip and got the reply that for coupon to be valid 100% payment was to be made via paytm wallet and since I used CT money as well (Rs 300 cashback) the coupon was ineligible.  Knowing that nothing of that sort was mentioned in the terms I asked them to guide Me to the appropriate terms and conditions. The link provided was-

cleartrip cashback fraud

After going through the terms AGAIN I told them that nowhere in the terms was mentioned that 100% payment was to be done via paytm and the money in My cleartrip wallet was MY money and not some offer. Even if that was the case there app should have shown "coupon code not applicable" instead of the below message-

cleartrip cashback fraud

No reply to that email was received till date.

So in the end the cashback was gone (around Rs 400) which is not a major issue (I have spent 1 Business hour on writing this post which would have been more valuable) but I was upset at the response I got from paytm and cleartrip.

To conclude here is how things stand now

For Paytm-

 I was a regular user with purchases, bill payments etc. Had requested wallet upgrade to spend more than Rs 10,000 per month. It was most likely a cleartrip error and their app didnt notify paytm of the code being used but once I mentioned to support that I was 100% sure I had used the code they should have done better to help.

I have decided to scale down my paytm usage considerably and use it in most critical cases. I have not filled the KYC details and would send the paytm person back when he comes to collect them.

For Cleartrip-

Their terms and conditions were incomplete and app implementation bad. I was looking for a backup app to Goibibo ( Goibibo spending till now this year over Rs 50,000). I would look elsewhere now.

So paytm and cleartrip both lost a customer over around Rs 400. The brains at paytm and cleartrip can go figure out what their new customer acquisition cost is and probably improve for future. It is for them to check whose fault or lack of implementation led to this. Though cleartrip looks to be the culprit.

Many hours after I had joined cleartrip and booked tickets I got "welcome" email from cleartrip thanking Me for joining and giving Rs 500 coupon for "1st booking". That email lies somewhere in My trash now.

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