Scam perpetrated by cleartrip.com: online Indian train ticketing

17 Feb

The email correspondence below pretty much says it all, except the intense frustration I felt at getting done over. These are small sums of money (not refunded) but it’s evident that’s how cleartrip.com make their revenue along with the banks and India Rail (IRCTC) who all have their sticky fingers in this scam. The process of getting two profiles registered and linked, finding the right tickets and making the bloody card payment also took two hours of my life I will never get back.

This is the full email trail so start at the bottom, or top, as you prefer.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
To: e-care customer support
From: Sharon Tickle

Re: General booking became waitlisted – rather annoyed (Cleartrip Indian train reservation)
February 17 2015 4:34pm

Dear Shruti,

Once again you have nothing helpful to tell me.

I will do you the courtesy of telling you that I have just cancelled the train tickets I booked through cleartrip. We will be flying from Goa to Kochi.

I won’t even bother to continue this correspondence by arguing my valid point that cleartrip should refund all surplus charges, including the booking fee, you have levied as I can see now that your company business model is built on the scam of charging both your booking fee and the transaction fee when the customer realises they are waitlisted, not confirmed as indicated at the time of booking online.

A company cannot offer a service and then not deliver it unless they fully refund the customer. You use technology as a smoke screen to rip customers off. Shame on you.

It appears also that Indian Rail (IRTC) are complicit in this scam. They also get their cut when the customer cancels.

Be assured many more foreigners will also know cleartrip’s illegal practices when this is published in my blog, facebook and on travel forums.

Yours sincerely,

Sharon Tickle

On 17 Feb 2015, at 3:37 am, “E-care Customer Support” wrote:

Dear Ms. Sharon Tickle,

Thank you for writing to us regarding your train reservation against Trip ID: 15021521574.

We understand your concern and apologize for the inconvenience caused to you.

Allow us to mention that, whatever information is published on our website is linked as per the details received from the Indian Railways.

As mentioned in our earlier correspondence, we regret to inform you that seats are subjected to availability as per Indian Railways and we as a travel agent do not have control over the same.

Hence, we request you to kindly keep a track to check the PNR status from your end till the time of chart preparation.

Pleased be informed that cancellation charges for wait-list booking are levied by Indian Railways and we do not have control over the same.

If you require any further assistance, please write to us at customersupport@cleartrip.com.

Thank you for choosing Cleartrip for your travel needs.

Regards,

Shruti Sukumaran.
Customer Service Executive
Cleartrip Customer Care
http://www.cleartrip.com

————— Original Message —————
From: sharon tickle [sharontickle@hotmail.com]
Sent: 16/02/2015 13:43
To: customersupport@cleartrip.com
Subject: Re: General booking became waitlisted – rather annoyed (Cleartrip Indian train reservation)

Dear Shruti at Cleartrip Customer Service,

That is a disappointing reply. Clearly a cut and paste of a standard response.

Please be aware that since I have not had satisfactory response I will be obliged to publish all correspondence with Cleartrip in my travel blog in its entirety. Readers will find it most interesting and it will stay on the public record forever (or as long as Internet 1 exists).

To return to a point you made in your email – I find it highly unlikely that in the few seconds between clicking the train schedule availability and the ‘buy’ button and entering my debit card details that the train berths would go to waitlist. If that is the case Cleartrip should have an option for the purchaser to immediately cancel the reservation without penalty, i.e. all monies paid including admin and debit card charges refunded to the buyer immediately. Otherwise you are profiting by a system error. If what I have experienced is standard practice it amounts to fiscal fraud.

It appears from my research that Cleartrip has what would amount to a monopoly on ticketing for foreigners who need to pre-purchase Indian train tickets online using a credit or debit card. I actually had no other choice. This puts even more onus on Cleartrip to act fairly to the consumer.

I suggest you consult with your manager to consider what further options I may have besides monitoring the waiting list myself and write to me again outlining them. I will need to make a decision in this matter within 48 hours.

Regards,

Sharon Tickle
http://www.sharontickle.wordpress.com

On 16 Feb 2015, at 6:51 am, “E-care Customer Support” wrote:

Dear Ms. Sharon Tickle,

Thank you for writing to us regarding your train reservation against Trip ID: 15021521574.

We understand your concern and apologize for the inconvenience caused to you.

Allow us to mention that seats are subjected to availability as per Indian Railways and we do not have control over the same, hence, from the time of checking availability and till the time of making the final payment the seat could have been sold out.

Please find the current status of your reservation.

S# Current Status
1. Waitlist – 1
2. Waitlist – 2

Which means that so far you haven’t been assigned a seat by Indian Railways as it is subject to availability with Indian Railways and therefore we have no control over it.

We would therefore request you to keep a track to check the PNR status from your end till the time of chart preparation. You can check your PNR status by calling Indian railways on 0139 or + 91 011 39340000 or by clicking on below link.

http://www.indianrail.gov.in/pnr_Enq.html

Please note that the chart is prepared by Indian Railways normally 4 hrs prior to the scheduled departure time of the train.In case of early morning departure trains the chart gets prepared by Indian Railways one day prior in the night itself.

If you require any further assistance, please write to us at customersupport@cleartrip.com.

Thank you for choosing Cleartrip for your travel needs.

Regards,

Shruti Sukumaran.
Customer Service Executive
Cleartrip Customer Care
http://www.cleartrip.com

————— Original Message —————
From: sharon tickle [sharontickle@hotmail.com]
Sent: 15/02/2015 21:14
To: traincs@cleartrip.com
Subject: General booking became waitlisted – rather annoyed

Dear Admin Team,

When I booked the Goa-Kochin tickets x2 for 24/3/2015 – see screen capture attached and PNR 2101309203 – the website said there were two general tickets available but as soon as I paid those tickets were actually waitlisted.

Please advise my options as I do not wish to hold a waitlisted ticket that I cannot be sure will be confirmed. After all the time and trouble I went to get a cleartrip profile along with the booking page I am rather annoyed about this.

Regards,

Sharon Tickle

ref:_00D90lYuT._50090hMKQg:

IMG_4864

7 Responses to “Scam perpetrated by cleartrip.com: online Indian train ticketing”

  1. higonrg@cs.com February 17, 2015 at 6:17 pm #

    Hello Sharon,

    I apologize, but I somehow find this amusing. I have never been to India but have heard many, many times that train travel there is a ticketing nightmare, and apparently something not even the Internet can solve!

    I suggest you post on the Lonely Planet “Thorn Tree” forum regarding this scam, as Lonely Planet has a huge Indian following.

    I just went through a whole rigamarole with “Booking.com” regarding one of their vendor’s practice of adding 4% to our bill when we paid using a credit card. I wouldn’t have minded that much if they had advised us in advance. At any rate, 6 weeks later I am still pestering them with regular emails regarding the totally insufficient 10 euro credit they have promised but have yet to deliver!

    Anyway, enjoying your blog postings as always. Hope you can remedy the Indian train frustration with another visit to Andalucia!

    cheers, -ig

    • Sharon Tickle February 17, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

      Don’t apologise, it was a total farce and I was the butt of the joke….

    • Sharon Tickle February 17, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

      Sorry, didn’t finish that reply. Finger slipped!

      Well, k am in Madrid now and dancing every day and seeing wonderful flamenco every night with the happy prospect of Festival de Jerez from Friday. Just back from Eva Yerbabuena’s show and processing it. Second time around and still very powerful.

      Adios!

  2. Lynde Hankin February 17, 2015 at 9:34 pm #

    Wow !!! That is all very interesting well done you! Hope stuloves goa as much as you.. Lynde

    Sent from my iPhone

    On 18/02/2015, at 2:51 AM, Never Ending Gap Year wrote:

    > > Respond to this post by replying above this line > New post on Never Ending Gap Year > > > Scam perpetrated by cleartrip.com: online Indian train ticketing > by Sharon Tickle > The email correspondence below pretty much says it all, except the intense frustration I felt at getting done over. These are small sums of money (not refunded) but it’s evident that’s how cleartrip.com make their revenue along with the banks and India Rail (IRCTC) who all have their sticky fingers in this scam. The process of getting two profiles registered and linked, finding the right tickets and making the bloody card payment also took two hours of my life I will never get back. > > This is the full email trail so start at the bottom, or top, as you prefer. > ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. > To: e-care customer support > From: Sharon Tickle > > Re: General booking became waitlisted – rather annoyed (Cleartrip Indian train reservation) > February 17 2015 4:34pm > > Dear Shruti, > > Once again you have nothing helpful to tell me. > > I will do you the courtesy of telling you that I have just cancelled the train tickets I booked through cleartrip. We will be flying from Goa to Kochi. > > I won’t even bother to continue this correspondence by arguing my valid point that cleartrip should refund all surplus charges, including the booking fee, you have levied as I can see now that your company business model is built on the scam of charging both your booking fee and the transaction fee when the customer realises they are waitlisted, not confirmed as indicated at the time of booking online. > > A company cannot offer a service and then not deliver it unless they fully refund the customer. You use technology as a smoke screen to rip customers off. Shame on you. > > It appears also that Indian Rail (IRTC) are complicit in this scam. They also get their cut when the customer cancels. > > Be assured many more foreigners will also know cleartrip’s illegal practices when this is published in my blog, facebook and on travel forums. > > Yours sincerely, > > Sharon Tickle > > On 17 Feb 2015, at 3:37 am, “E-care Customer Support” wrote: > > Dear Ms. Sharon Tickle, > > Thank you for writing to us regarding your train reservation against Trip ID: 15021521574. > > We understand your concern and apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. > > Allow us to mention that, whatever information is published on our website is linked as per the details received from the Indian Railways. > > As mentioned in our earlier correspondence, we regret to inform you that seats are subjected to availability as per Indian Railways and we as a travel agent do not have control over the same. > > Hence, we request you to kindly keep a track to check the PNR status from your end till the time of chart preparation. > > Pleased be informed that cancellation charges for wait-list booking are levied by Indian Railways and we do not have control over the same. > > If you require any further assistance, please write to us at customersupport@cleartrip.com. > > Thank you for choosing Cleartrip for your travel needs. > > Regards, > > Shruti Sukumaran. > Customer Service Executive > Cleartrip Customer Care > http://www.cleartrip.com > >

  3. Heather watt February 18, 2015 at 8:58 am #

    The day the British left India it’s gone to pot .
    George

  4. Otto February 1, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

    Thank you for your blog. Cleartrip also scammed me. Raised the price after I agreed to send the payment to the credit card company.

    • Sharon Tickle February 1, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

      Really sorry to hear that Otto. Hope the rest of your travel experiences in India went well. All the best, Sharon

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