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Friday, May 20, 2016

Concerns with Ola Money- for customers and drivers

Looks like Ola's wallet, Ola Money has a series of issues that affect both driver partners and customers. This post lists those concerns and possible resolutions.

As a customer, I have following concerns with Ola Money
1. Ola Money directly deducts amount without any confirmation from me. It assumes system is always right. If I have any dispute about the amount, I don’t have any way to hold the payment. Even if ride doesn't arrive but driver has marked ride complete, money is gone immediately. Then I have to raise a ticket and wait for few hours to few days to get it refunded. Like how credit card users are required to enter a PIN/OTP, there should be a confirmation step in my opinion

2. There is no option for me to choose between Ola Money vs Cash payment for a particular booking. When I have 2 SIMs android lets me select a default SIM for each type of activity (which SIM to use for Data, Call, SMS etc) OR let me chose on a case by case basis. Similar settings should be offered in Ola Money. Why can't I pay by cash if I wish to? (Say in a scenario where driver urgently needs cash and not willing to accept Ola money rides)? Better still, can I pay cash + Card? (Say amount is Rs 234- I will pay Rs 200 in cash and 34 by Ola Money, so as to avoid change problem)

3. Gone Forever: Once money is credited, there is no way to get it back to our bank/credit card account. Credit card transactions can be reversed, so why Ola insists money credited into Ola Money account can never be refunded? I feel it is a trap and discourages me from putting more money into Ola account. Once my current balance is used, I may not recharge again.

4. Discount process is complicated: Ola promises 5% discount if paid via Ola money. But this is a complicated process. For each ride I need to use the code like OMSAVE etc. When you are in a hurry to book, this step adds unnecessary complications and waste of time. I took some time to figure this process out, so lost out on money saving opportunity during several rides. Instead, why can't Ola credit the discount amount upfront on recharge? Like if I recharge with Rs 1000, credit 1050 to my Ola Money Account.

5. Drivers refusing to serve in case of Ola Money- Many drivers refuse to serve if payment mode is Ola money. Reason for this is explained in next section of the post. Below is what a facebook friend experienced recently in Bengaluru as all drivers refused a ride. Having money in wallet is supposed to make life more convenient for me, but because of all these issues, if I have Ola Money, I am inviting more trouble than convenience
Twitter receives regular complains on #OlaMoney

Do you agree with above? Did you face any other challenges with Ola money?

Drivers' concerns with Ola Money!
And Ola cab drivers have following complaints/reasons why they don't like Ola Money

No cash left for food and fuel: If 2-3 out of 12 rides are Ola money, then drivers have no problem. But if 8-10 out of 12 rides end up to be Ola Money, then driver is not left with enough cash for fuel, food and other immediate expenses. Ola takes several days to credit the money back to driver's account, after deducting its commission and other receivables. Because of this delay, drivers hate Ola money. Assume it is 11 PM in the night and despite working since 4 AM, driver doesn't even have 500 Rs in his pocket- how will he tank up for next day, how can he guy goods required for his home? He is forced to borrow money- sometimes at interest.

Delayed payments- As against promised 48 hours, drivers claim it takes much longer for money to reach them.

Ola is promoting Ola Money aggressively because of multiple reasons
1. It gets to hold the money for several days and earn interest on it (from the moment money is loaded till it is actually spent- could be few weeks at least)
2. It gets upper edge over driver settlements- if cash payment, Ola has to collect from driver, with Ola money, Ola is the master and will have more control.
3. Having some money in Ola Wallet forces consumers to consider Ola first instead of going to competition.

Some possible solutions Ola should consider:
1. Give customers options to pay in cash, even when they have balance in Ola Money
2. Credit some amount to driver instantly- say 50% to driver's account instantly after a ride or once a day- this way drivers get some immediate cash for critical expenses. Settle the balance little later after applicable deductions etc
3. A confirmation step before deducting Ola money can save lots of complaints and support work

An Indian Express news report on this topic can be read here.

Update: Blogger and Social media expert, Hrish Thota has suggested that we can always add discount code later after booking is confirmed (but before the trip starts)

8 comments :

Yogesh Parashar said...

Ola is best topmost taxi service provider.
Hope they will make their services better and will look into all the problems riders are facing.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yes Yogesh

These things can be improved if Management wishes to.

Sandeep Shande said...

yes .. the option of paying by OLAmoney or cash or CC should be there.

Also, apart from crediting OLA money immediately, how about promoting OLAmoney for buying fuel and daily expenses for drivers. Cash sometimes gets inconvenient because of change-problem, security issues etc.

Chandresh said...

Very well covered .. Yes , I have faced similar issue at multiple situation . At the end of day " CASH is King " and wallets have a long way to go before becoming our mainstream mode of payments .

And yes if there is 5% discount , do it directly rather than asking to input discount code every time .

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Sandeep- I don't think that will be good idea. Ola will then have to deal with more vendors and stakeholders, bringing in more complexity. Already there are many channels- cash, credit/debit card, sodexho, fleet cards, loyalty cards etc.. No need for one more.

@Chandresh- thanks.

Sharad Dubey said...

Early Morning trips are always cancelled by Ola leaving the cusfomers high and dry. There will be an automated email from call centre saying the driver has cancelled the trip and looking for another cab. Many of my colleagues have experienced this.
We need an option to get back my money from Ola Money.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Correct. They only refund if customer complains. In my opinion they should add a compensation element too- just like how they charge a cancellation fee.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Correct. They only refund if customer complains. In my opinion they should add a compensation element too- just like how they charge a cancellation fee.