Yatra.com / confirmed tickets are invalid after paying in full
I would like to bring to your notice a case of severe negligence on part of Yatra.com, resulting in financial loss and unnecessary harassment to a genuine customer.
I had to travel from Mumbai to Kolkata, and was looking out for good bargains for air fares. I visited various online booking sites and airline web sites with the intention of getting the best deal. I found a few good deals some sites. After evaluation and computation, I found an offer at Yatra.com to be good. Although the ticket was priced higher than some other deals on offer at that time, Yatra.com and ICICI had a 30 per cent cash back offer for ICICI Gold Card holders. So, although I was missing out on cheaper tickets on other sites, I decided to book with Yatra.com and ICICI, in view of the 30 per cent cash-back. I did not know that a horrific surprise was in store for me!
I booked the Mumbai-Kolkata (IC- 675) ticket at www.yatra.com on May 9, 2007, at around 12 noon. After confirming availability online, the site requested for my credit card information and the ticket amount was instantaneously deducted from my card. Later, in about 5 minutes, I received a confirmation email from Yatra.com, thanking me for booking the ticket and providing the flight details. I thought I had just finished one important item on my To-Do list. But the ordeal was far from over!
Somehow, it struck me that I should reconfirm the booking with Indian Airlines. I called the Indian Airlines call centre, and was shocked to hear that there is no booking in my name. As I had received a confirmation from Yatra.com and my card account was also debited, I insisted with the airline official to check again. The airline official reconfirmed that there was no booking in my name.
I tried to get in touch with Yatra.com. Surprisingly, they don’t have local contact numbers. There is a toll-free number accessible only from MTNL/BSNL land lines, and a helping number at the Gurgaon office. This meant paying STD rates for getting help. I decided to correspond through e-mail. I sent them an e-mail informing them that Indian Airlines does not have my booking in their database. I got a prompt e-mail response informing me that my booking has been cancelled due to an error in the Indian-Airlines system. I was shocked and called their Gurgaon contact number. The official insisted that it was a technical problem with the Indian Airlines server. Their mail also said that they tried calling me several times. However, the call register in my phone does not show even a single missed call.
However, a genuine customer has suffered. I have not only lost out on good fares from other sites (These days, fares increase by the hour!), but am also having to go through unnecessary stress and tension, besides the monetary loss. The amount has not yet been credited back to my account.
I cannot understand how a booking can first be confirmed and then again be reversed due to a technical problem. Am not sure where the technical problem occurred, or whether the great deals at Yatra.com are just an eye-wash. Did they get someone who was ready to pay more for the same ticket? Such questions remain unanswered.
I would be grateful if we, through your esteemed publication, can help uncover and answer these questions. I would like to take this up at various forums including newspapers, travel publications and sites, consumer forums and government agencies such as MRTP, so that people are not misled by such advertisements, which appear very good, but are far from true. If required, I am also ready to use RTI and get more information.
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