Mangalore-based Vishal Rao creates ‘RuinedMyTrip’, which appears in the top search results for ‘MakeMyTrip’ on Google, to avenge cheating by the travel portal
Feeling cheated by a company, either because of unfair treatment or poor services, many of us would usually end up staying silent. Yes, in the head of the moment, we'd get angry and some of us may even vent the anger on the company's staff. Still fewer would choose to take legal recourse through the consumer court, where the battle could be long. But here's an example of a person who chose to use his skills with the Internet to fight against injustice.
Mangalore-based Vishal Rao was cheated by the online travel agency MakeMyTrip. He had decided to spend Christmas 2010 along with his family in Mysore. So he made the bookings through the online agency well in advance. Imagine his surprise when he was denied accommodation at any hotel in the tourist city.
MakeMyTrip had accepted the necessary payments and even sent him an e-mail confirming the booking, but he found that the agency had not made the hotel reservation. "In fact, in the confirmation voucher which was sent through e-mail, apart from the check-in date and time, it was also stated that 'your booking is confirmed and you are not required to contact the hotel or MakeMyTrip to reconfirm the same'," Mr Rao says.
Aggrieved by this treatment, Mr Rao created a blog, 'Ruined My Trip', to make people aware about his experience and the unfair business practice by the company.
There are hundreds of such blogs highlighting consumer complaints on the Net and most of them are hardly noticed, barely receiving a comment or two. Unfortunately for MakeMyTrip, the blog 'Ruined My Trip' turned out to be different.
Being, an expert in the web business, Mr Rao used his skills in the search engine optimization (SEO) area to push his blog into the top ten Google search results for 'Make My Trip'!
"I could (have) filed a case in court against MakeMyTrip.com and this could have taken years, or write a review on the net. I checked mouthshut.com and was surprised to see that there were hundreds of others with similar experiences. But this made no difference to them (the company), simply because the reviews were not showing up in the results when searching directly for 'Make My Trip' or 'MakeMyTrip.com'," he says.
"I decided to create a dedicated web site documenting my experience and allowing others to share theirs too. I used my SEO experience to make this website (to) show up in the top ten Google results when people searched for 'Make My Trip' or 'MakeMyTrip.com'. So nobody will have to go through the horrifying ordeal I have gone through. This was far more satisfying for me than filing a court case against them."
Mr Rao warns the offending companies: "Don't take your customers for a ride. You never know when one of them will turn out to be smarter than you."
Talking about his Mysore experience, Mr Rao said that when he inquired why no hotel room was booked for him, he found out that MakeMyTrip staff called the manager of the hotel only at noon on the day he was to check in. "I (had) booked the rooms on 15th December and they called the hotel on the day I was to check in, to confirm the booking."
Mr Rao managed to get rooms at another hotel and enjoyed the holiday with his family. A few days later, the company wrote saying, "We are really sorry and you'll get a refund within seven days".
"They (MakeMyTrip.com) have a full-time SEO team to make sure that none of the negative reviews crop up in the top ten results. As you can see, almost all the sites in the top ten results are their own sites, which easily distract people," Mr Rao explained. MakeMyTrip even offered him a gift voucher of Rs10,000, which Mr Rao refused.
Blaming system error for non-booking at the hotel in time for Mr Rao, MakeMyTrip, in an email said,"The customer in question had booked a hotel on our portal. However, the online booking could not get confirmed due to a system error. As a process of reconfirmation, we contacted the hotel on the day of check-in, but the hotel was sold out. Our team tried to reach out to the customer but unfortunately could not connect with him. We did connect with the customer later on and offered a full refund on the booking; we deeply regret the inconvenience caused. Upon checking the customer's blog, we reconnected with him and relooked at all details on our end. The case was further analyzed by higher authorities and as a gesture we offered the customer a MakeMyTrip voucher."
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Bangalore-based ZipDial receives Series A investment of over $800,000 from both Indian and US angel investors, led by Mumbai Angels, an angel investing group
ZipDial receives Series A investment of over $800,000 from both Indian and US angel investors, led by Mumbai Angels, an angel investing group.
ZipDial Mobile Solutions Pvt Ltd is a Bangalore-based company founded by Valerie Rozycki (CEO) and Amiya Pathak (COO), technology entrepreneurs with degrees from top global universities and graduate schools such as IIT-Kanpur, IIM-Calcutta and Stanford University as well as extensive professional leadership experience in both India and the US, including companies like mChek, Zapak.com, eBay, and Ketera.
Anil Joshi, head Mumbai Angels, who lead the deal, said that Mumbai Angels decision to invest in ZipDial was simple. "We believe that ZipDial with their patent-pending technology and strong team would leverage mobile platform to deliver host of services to customers across industry." He informed that Sunil K Goyal, founding partner, YourNest Angel Fund and Shravan Shroff, Founder, Fame India Ltd have joined Business Review and Investment Committee (BRIC) of ZipDial to represent the investors from Mumbai Angels Group.
Sunil K Goyal explained that the Mumbai Angels Group is extremely impressed with ZipDial offering of a mass market tool for market research, and customer feedback. A brand or a customer service organisation can get real time response and analysis from their customer, with them using free service of ZipDial. ZipDial's patent-pending missed call concept offers varied services like polling, generating sales lead, and so on. According to him such an approach is unique and would certainly bring customers closure to their brands using high penetration of telecom services.
Mr Shroff explained that investors from the Mumbai Angels Group viewed ZipDial as a high quality early stage company with potential for sustainable scalability and profitable growth. He added that group was delighted by the business progress achieved till date.
"We are delighted to have Mumbai Angels as an integral part of ZipDial now," said Ms Rozycki. "We plan to make ZipDial yet another success story from their portfolio, helping to inspire even more entrepreneurship and innovation in the Indian market."
A 5% rally from today's low possible on the back of a weakening dollar
The market opened soft on lacklustre global cues, following easing of oil prices and concerns about the pace of the global recovery. The Sensex fell 76 points to 19,187 and the Nifty opened lower by 38 points at 5,748. Realty, consumer durables and metal stocks witnessed selling pressure in opening trade. The market immediately touched the day's lows with the Sensex erasing 161 points at 19,102 and the Nifty falling 50 points to 5,736. February industrial output figures, which were released yesterday, also dampened sentiment.
However, across-the-board buying after the decline in the market over the last few days, turned the tide and the indices jumped into positive territory in the first half hour itself, pushing all sectoral gauges into the green. The gains continued through the session with the market scaling the day's high in the late session. At their intra-day highs, the benchmarks touched at 19,737 and 5,924.
The market closed slightly below these levels, as the Sensex surged 434 points to close at 19,697 and the Nifty gained 126 points to settle at 5,911, erasing the losses of the last five sessions. The benchmarks made lower lows and higher highs today. The advance-decline ratio on the National Stock Exchange was a positive 1301:483.
While all key gauges ended positive, the broader indices underperformed the Sensex. The BSE Mid-cap index rose 1.40% and the BSE Small-cap index advanced 1.30%.
Among the sectoral indices, BSE Capital Goods (up 2.73%), BSE Auto (up 2.54%), BSE Bankex (up 2.32%), BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (up 2.24%) and BSE IT (up 2.15%) were the top gainers.
The Sensex gainers were led by Jaiprakash Associates (up 7.09%), Hero Honda (up 5.86%), HDFC (up 3.92%), HDFC Bank (up 3.30%) and Larsen & Toubro (up 3.26%). Tata Power (down 0.51%) and Sterlite Industries (down 0.40%) were the only losers on the benchmark.
Recovering from their early lows, markets in Asia closed with gains in the range of 0.55% to 1.56% as a weaker yen helped tide over nuclear concerns in Japan. Upbeat ratings of carmakers by Nomura Holdings resulted in auto stocks in Japan and Korea settling higher.
Meanwhile, Japan cut the outlook for its economy on Wednesday for the first time in six months, stating that last month's devastating earthquake and tsunami would hurt growth.
The Shanghai Composite surged 0.95%, the Hang Seng rose 0.66%, the Jakarta Composite gained 0.41%, the KLSE Composite was up 0.63%, the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.90%, the Straits Times climbed 1.09%, the Seoul Composite jumped 1.56% and the Taiwan Weighted was up 0.55%.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net sellers of stocks worth Rs691.22 crore on Monday, whereas domestic institutional investors were net buyers of shares worth Rs263.81 crore.
Tata Chemicals (up 2.13%), which had acquired 25.1% stake in the ammonia-urea fertiliser complex at Gabon in Africa for $290 million, plans to invest a further $170 million in phase two of the project and raise its stake further. The company, however, did not specify the exact percentage of stake it would further acquire.
Brokerage firm Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services (down 6.39%) on Tuesday said its consolidated net profit dropped 60.96% to Rs2.92 crore in the fourth quarter ended 31 March 2011 over the corresponding period a year ago. It had a consolidated net profit of Rs7.48 crore in the same period last fiscal, the company said in a filing with the National Stock Exchange.
Pharma major Strides Arcolab (up 0.56%) today said it has received the US health regulator's nod to market a product from its new facility in Karnataka. The approval by the US Food and Drug Administration is for commercialising the first liquid injection sterile product from the company's new sterile injectable complex in Bangalore, the company said in a statement. The company, however, said it was not in a position to disclose the name of the product due to confidentiality.