Cleartrip.com NOTHING CLEAR ABOUT IT

Greed does not pay. Sadly, I found this to be true whilst attempting to book an airline ticket through an online portal called “Cleartrip.com”.
I had used this service in the past, but once had an experience of the money having been debited and then the ticket not coming through and since then I had discontinued their services.
Alas, I was lured by an offer of one free ticket for each ticket booked and had a go.
Late evening, around 715 pm or so, I filled out all the details for a Chennai to Pune flight by Kingfisher airlines. It showed a fare of around 3857/-. No sooner had I pressed ‘submit’ (or the equivalent of wanting to conclude the transaction) that I got an SMS saying that my bank account has been debited ( I had used netbanking facility of my banker) with the said amount. I started to smile on having successfully navigated yet another net based transaction (you see, the BSNL internet connectivity is such that it keeps going off, so to complete an online transaction, it is an achievement for me). Alas, my smile froze. A message flashed online that the transaction ‘failed’. I had no clue of what happened. I checked my bank account. Yes, the amount had been debited.
So, I presumed that there is some glitch and called a customer support number of Cleartrip. I was a bit disturbed since I did not have any reference number. The lady who attended to my call resolved that by checking with my email id. Luckily, I was a ‘registered’ user and hence I had logged in with that id. So, it was easy to trace and she gave me a Cleartrip ID number. She said that the ticket was not issued due to some ‘link’ not working!! I tried to probe further, but got no farther.
She told me that my money would be ‘reversed’ immediately and that I could call in half an hour to check about the fate of my ticket etc.,
Alas, after an hour I could not get through in spite of several tries and so I kept it for the next morning.
Next morning, I checked my Cleartrip account to see if any ticket had been issued. None. I checked my bank account to see if the amount was credited. No. Cleartrip was still holding on to the money for a ‘failed’ transaction!
I called them up and once again was given a spin as to why the bloody thing did not work out.
Now, I got on to the website of Kingfisher directly and booked the ticket. Surprise! The fare was lower though they did not give any buy one get one free.
Is Cleartrip justified in doing what it did to me? It is very clear that they did not give me service that they promised. And the fact that in spite of taking my money, they could not deliver is proof that they did not have any valid arrangement with the airline.
Cleartrip is clearly not my cup of tea. Henceforth, it is the airline website or a physical travel agent. Online travel brokers/agents are high risk and we have no control over the transaction. Take care, folks. Cleartrip is out. I have no clue about other such brokers and I have no intention of finding out either.

These kind of bucket shops should learn from the railways website called irctc.co.in which I use very regularly for train tickets and in over two years of continuous use, I have no complaints.

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10 thoughts on “Cleartrip- Caveat Emptor.. Caution

  1. Bala, Sherpalo is a significant investor and I think the guy to write to is Sandeep Murthy – you should be able to find him on LinkedIn. I know a co-founder (who no longer works there) – they aren't crooks and am confident that an e-mail to the right guy will elicit action.

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  2. Agree with Rohan, I had once met their Head of Corporate Strategy, Sameer Bagul at a TiE event alongwith the rest of the senior management including Mr. Murthy of Sherpalo, please connect with them rightaway – I have also send him a link to this post.

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  3. Sure, Rohan. My point is that if money has been taken from your account, there should be zero delay in giving it back if you cannot deliver.
    After the debit, I still have to find money to buy the ticket, which I could not buy from them. And if you wait for their refund (God knows how many days, though I am promised before EOD today) the fares would have gone up for the date of travel.
    In the past also, this website screwed me up.
    Knowing someone and getting a refund accelerated is not the way a business should be run.
    Cheers
    Bala

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  4. Dear Bala,

    First please allow us to apologize for the events that prompted you to write these comments and the difficulties you experienced while attempting to book a reservation on our website.

    We request you to provide us the Trip ID for the reservation in question so that we can investigate in the matter and get back to you.

    Regards,

    Cleartrip Customer Care

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  5. Dear Jay,
    The ID was 1007296784.
    I did get the refund on the next day towards the evening. It would be great if your folks had told me that they would accomodate my next booking by using the credit. If I did not have enough money in my account, I would have had to wait till the refund and watched the fare going up.
    Hope this feedback helps.
    Best regards
    bala

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  6. Dear Bala,

    After investigating your case, we would like to share that in such cases (Unknown Payment cases) we do not come to know immediately, if the money has come into our account or not. So when you had called us, our phone representative informed you that the amount if debited from your account would be reversed back.

    Also, we have a set process where the reconciliation is done on daily basis and if any transaction (Payment Failed) found with no confirmed booking, the refund is processed back into the same account.

    However, we appreciate your feedback and will forward it to the management to study the feasibility of retaining the amount for the next booking.

    Regards,
    Jay

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  7. oh man,only if people were so upset about how their tax money were being misspent.atleast the cleartrips of the world get punished for their mistakes (btw, big fan of cleartrip -most friendly travel website)

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