Zoomcar flooded with complaints over pending refunds due to lockdown

While some customers have pending refunds of over Rs 85,000, some have even threatened legal action against Zoomcar.
Zoomcar flooded with complaints over pending refunds due to lockdown
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Car rental startup Zoomcar, which raised its latest round of funding in January, is now facing the wrath of customers on Twitter for pending refunds following cancellations due to the lockdown.

Zoomcar has been called a “huge disappointment”, a “scam” and “cheat” online for the delay in processing refunds, some of which have been pending for months.

Apart from complaints on Twitter, some customers even created a spreadsheet with names, booking ids and the pending refund amount. This spreadsheet alone has over 60 entries, with pending refunds ranging anywhere from Rs 1,400 to Rs 79,000. Some customers claim that the refund amounts are even more than a lakh rupees. Many have even threatened legal action against the company.

Zoomcar offers rentals as well as subscription services, both of which were affected due to the lockdown.

Naveen, one of the customers awaiting a refund of over Rs 85,000, told TNM that Zoomcar had run a campaign in February that gave customers a discount on rides. In February, Naveen booked multiple rides for June and July. As bookings were cancelled due to the pandemic, he filed for a refund in April, well before the scheduled date of journey. At the time, Naveen says, they were allowed to get a full refund if they cancelled over 24 hours before the journey.

However, since April, Naveen claims that the standard response he has received from Zoomcar is a “technical issue”.

“They always tell us that the refund will be processed in two to three weeks,” he said.

Naveen also made a booking on Zoomcar to travel from Bengaluru to his hometown in Andhra Pradesh, and then applied for the interstate pass. If he didn't get a pass, he had to cancel that booking and apply again. He paid for each of those bookings and then cancelled them, none of which have been refunded till now.

Naveen claimed that instead of a refund, he was offered a coupon that could be redeemed for a later booking on Zoomcar. When he refused, they told him it would still take two-three weeks to process the refund.

Some customers have even gone to the consumer forum regarding their grievances.

Another customer, who did not want to be named, said that he made bookings for almost every weekend from March 1 to August 8 as part of the same discount offer that Naveen referred to. He made 24 bookings in total.

“They started saying their payment gateway is failing and told me this for two months,” he says.

The customer claims that he has made over 150 calls and sent multiple emails to Zoomcar, and has received refunds for some of his bookings in parts, but has to keep following up for the remaining. He was to receive around Rs 80,000 as refund in March, and only started receiving money in instalments from May. He says that he still has Rs 12,000 pending.

Disgruntled customers have even made a WhatsApp group due to pending refunds.

“They are doing all this at such a difficult time when many have lost their jobs,” the customer said.

Some customers are especially furious because they incurred credit card interest on the amount paid.

“This is around 50 times I am requesting for the refund; you all have taken 5 months, but still not received the money. Every time, you all are replying the same; I really need money at this time. Please provide resolution, else I will go for legal action against you,” reads one complaint on Twitter.

“Zoomcar, you do not have any issues at the time of booking; all your issues occur at the time of refunds only. Really disappointed. I was your old customer but you are going to lose me and many more customers. I am going to file a case in consumer court,” reads another tweet. 

While Zoomcar has replied to many that there has been a delay and that refunds will be processed soon, customers are not happy. “Have still not received any update on my refund. It has been one month. You guys should really do a check for your worst services ever,” one customer said.

TNM has reached out to Zoomcar, and this story will be updated if they choose to respond.

”In the last two months, we have been approached by car rental firms like Zoomcar, Drivezy and Revv to sell their cars. The exact figures are confidential but many of them are reducing the fleet by 30-50%. This is something we hadn’t seen earlier. Some deals are already through, while others are being negotiated,” a senior manager from the car division of Shriram Automall in Bengaluru told the Federal.

Zoomcar last raised $30 million in funding in January led by Sony Innovation Fund, which is the VC arm of electronics giant Sony. This was part of its $100 million Series D funding round. Prior to this, it has also raised money from Mahindra & Mahindra.

The mobility sector was badly hit as India went into lockdown for three months, coming to a complete halt overnight. Now, due to a surge in the sale of second-hand vehicles, as customers are moving towards owning vehicles to minimise contact, it could impact rental companies like Zoomcar. 

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