Monday, June 07, 2010

Thomas Cook Ready to Overcook your Trip

Wanted to write about Thomas cook last month itself when we suffered a lot from this travel agency. The only mistake we did was we trusted them as good travel agency and applied for the Singapore tourist visas. Lemme narrate it chronologically:
When I went to them for the first time they said yes they process the visa and very much experienced in it. It will take maximum a week to get it done. As per them we have to apply within a month of travel to Singapore as per the Singapore tourist visa rules. So I decided to apply 1 month within the travel dates and asked the agent fee plus all the required documents. He told me the docs and promised me to email the visa form to fill up.
Week 1: I returned from there after that and got involved in arranging all the requested docs. The travel agent could email me the docs after 3 days when I kept on reminding him twice a day over the phone. Anyways, I ignored it as anyhow I was busy in arranging docs. Finally on 6th day I went to Thomas cook office, madhapur, Hyderabad and found that guy was on leave. His colleagues asked me to come on Monday.
Week 2: I went on Monday again found him absent on Monday as well. Afrer another 2 days of struggle finally i could catch him in office. He looked at the docs and told me few corrections in 1-2 docs. I returned and took a day and went to office again. The travel agent was absent for some unknown period of time. One of his colleague told me that I can give the doc to him and he will handover. I thought it is fine and asked him to verify throughly. He did the same and wrote on my receipt as "docs verified" and signed it. He said he will send it that day itself and I should get it within 5 days.
Week 3: I spend the whole week with assurance in mind that I should get it by Saturday. On Saturday evening around 6 pm I got a call from Thomas cook office which I could not receive. At night when I saw the missed call I thought they would have called me to pick the visas. I thought of doing it on Monday.
Week 4: Monday morning at 10 am I called them to ask if I can come and they shocked me saying docs are not complete and they need marriage certificate and photos with Matt finish. That's just crap I bursted on them that you don't know even that basic requirements and said me a week ago that all is fine. The most annoying response was Singapore embassy keeps on changing requirements so it's not their fault. I asked show me anywhere that marriage certificate and photo quality requirement change even in last 6 months for which he had no answer. I went to their office and told them be sure again as I don't have that much time left to arrange some more docs if you will come back to me saying some more docs are still needed. Another foolish response from the agent was we can return your fee we took for processing the visa. I asked if that is what they work for and matters to me? For which he was again answerless. I spend one more day getting the marriage certificate and desired type of photos and gave him crossing my fingers.
Week 5 (final week when we had to travel): on Monday I got a call that visas are in the office and I can collect them. I went to their office and found that guy is sure that docs are there but no idea where they are kept. He searched for half and hour and could not find. I decided to talk to the manager of hitch branch and with his intervention they finally traced a person who kept the docs in a locker and having keys with him. The person came to office in an hour and handed me the docs. I opened the docs for the verification and found that only my wife's passport has e-visa attached to it. Mine was missing. And i got the same annoying response that they have no idea and will find from their chennai office. They asked me to go back and they will get back to me. I thought that's a bad idea keeping I have just 4 days in hand. I waited there for things to progress. After wasting my half day there one of the chennai guys told me that he will give me a call in an hour. Since hyderabad office had no role to play so I decided to go back to office. After an hour I gave a call to them and in another 3-4 back and forth calls they emailed me my e-visa.
That's simply horrible and I would have loose a lot of money if I would have delayed my visa process even by a week. The best thing that happened in the entire process was I did not trust them to process it I a week and applied it 5 weeks earlier. Must say never go to Thomas cook for any sort of visa processing or travel arrangements. They almost burned our plans while cooking it.

Update 1: Thomas cook customer care replied me that they cannot view external web posts etc. so I just copy pasted it to the email.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cafe Coffee Day - A coffee without a smile...

Few days back I visited with my gal to a Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) at canaught place, new delhi. While seated we noticed a big poster saying if your coffee comes without a smile take it free. And we just discussed if the coffee guy will really place it with a smile....

And this did not happen... Taking it lightly while paying at the counter as were in a bit hurry I told the person at billing counter that you guys announce to provide free coffee in case it misses a smile and was surprised to see an ignorant gesture.

I was just thinking that its better to try to apply such things without a publicity. For me this incident bought down the CCD's image...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hyderabad Central Put Customers in the Corner

Yesterday, I went to one of the oldest Shopping Mall 'Hyderabad Central' in punjagutta. I bought a wrist watch and there was an offer to get microwave bowls of worth 2000 by paying only 450.

I was anyhow feeling the need of that stuff so decided to buy. So here are the seriously annoying things that turned my mood off.

1. The titan outlet from where I bought the watch told they do not carry even the Titan cover to wrap it and only Hyderabad Central printed cover can be provided. That too from the billing counter.

2. Once I went to billing counter to collect the cover and asked for buying the micowave bowls as per offer he asked me to go to 3rd floor for that. That sounded me bad to un-necessary route the customer.

3. Anyways, I went there and found just one person trying to help out everyone and in a way resulting in annoying everyone. Not the fault of the person but the management to keep just one person where they know more will be required. Where you can imagine to complain for such things when that happens within customer care center.

4. After some struggle I finally got the stuff for which they did not provided me the bill. I did not realized it as I was in hurry. I have to gift it so asked for the gift wrap for which they directed me to go to basement. What a pain to just move up and down for buying a single item. To make a note Hyderabad Central pretty proudly announces that they believe in customer satisfaction. I found it completely missing.

5. With no choice I went to basement and asked the person to gift wrap. And the awesome reply was "Sir, we do not gift wrap complementary items". I was pretty annoyed and said boss I have paid 450 bucks for this. Then how it is complementary? He did not listen for the same for first 10 mins and then finally said ok show me the bill for this. Asking for the bill made sense to me but this should have been the first response from him. There I realized that the customer care did not gave me the bill at all. So, I asked him to pack it and put the bill number for the watch I bought. He said he need to ask for that. I said sure and for which he said I do not have any phone/intercom to call to customer care and he cannot leave the desk. As per him, in fact on the entire floor there is no intercom even for emergency situations.

6. This finally made me another trip to 3rd floor to get the bill for which the person was simply not surprised and gave me a bill. In fact he asked: "Why? Is someone asking for it?". This was pretty unexpected to me. They are supposed to provide the bill even if customer does not ask and the guy was asking me a question like why I need that. This is just against the law which Hyderabad central seems to be violating frequently.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Make My Trip -- Break My Trip

So, this is a very annoying incident happened recently when I had mistakenly planned to book my trip using
My 4 relatives were planning to travel from Delhi to Banglore and asked me to help out in bookings. I went ahead and did a booking. Few hours later when I went to print the itinerary I realized I did a wrong booking and booked from Delhi to Hyderabad instead of Delhi to Banglore.  As I am living  in hyderabad for last 4+ years so kinda of easy to digest mistake for me. Anyways, so there was option other than canceling the ticket and wasting 3250 as cancellation charges and booking the right tickets. So, to cancel I logged on to once again and tried to cancel. System refused me to do so as there was an infant traveling. For any reasons I did not bother much and thought to do that later online.
So, I just decided to book the correct tickets again and I did so. After this I had finally 2 itineraries one from Delhi to Banglore (the correct one) and the another from Delhi to Hyderabad (to be cancelled via customer care). I called to customer care and they took almost an hour to final attend my call.  I told them the situation and asked them to cancel the itinerary from Delhi to Hyderabad. After spending some 20 minutes the care guy told me it is done.

Few hours later, I went to cyber cafe to get a printout of the Del-Blr itinerary for the next day scheduled departure. And was shocked to see that the customer care guy Canceled the wrong tickets. I had to call to customer care again and had to wait for about more than an hour to be attended. Customer Care replied that they cannot do anything at the moment but if its a mistake from their side then they will pay back the cancellation charges plus the fare difference between the wrongly canceled flight and the next booking for the same flight by me. Fair enough. I disconnected.

And, after this I waited for 10 days for amount to be paid back by Break (make) my trip and found only the fare returned after deducting the cancellation charges. This made me loss 3250 as the cancellation fee and around 2500 increased fare for booking the same flight again. I called to customer care (must mention same 1 hr wait time on phone) to know about the status of my complaint number IN0910R0064497 and found that they are still not sure about that.  I repeated the incidence and they assured to get back within 2 hours. After waiting for another 3 days I had to call again to know about it again to suffer again for another hour in the wait queue to get another assurance of refunding money within another 2-3 days.
That did not end here and I had to call Break My Trip again (this time with a wait time of 2 hours) finally with another assurance of refunding it within 10 days. I patiently waited for that much time again and finally forced to write this blog so that other people make sure not to book through for any reasons.
Few very annoying things:
1. Wait time of over 1 hours in the call.
2.  Just asking the incidence freshly from the customer even after providing the complaint number. Which they should bother to open and go through.
3. Definitely the repetitive assurance for refunding money.
4. And, false promises to call back in 2 hours and never do that.

Update 1: Finally after a month of struggle they returned my money. Was such a pain. Guys be careful !!!