Clicky

badge

Sunday, June 11, 2017

AirAsia money debited but ticket not confirmed- Resolution Experience!

Online transaction systems are largely fail proof. Either transaction completes and your order gets processed, or transaction fails and you've to try again. But exceptions do strike once a while-I became victim of such an incident recently, while trying to book a ticket with Air Asia.

At the end of a ticket booking, I made payment through ICICI Bank net banking. I got SMS that money has been debited. But for some strange reason, AirAsia's website generated a PNR but showed "Payment Pending", which was strange.



I spoke to Air Asia customer care immediately and I was asked to send screenshots of bank statement to India-support @ airasia.com, which I promptly sent. I was asked to call back later as "back end team is not available now"

I spoke to ICICI Bank support, who confirmed that transaction is cleared from their end.

I spoke to AirAsia support again, who asked for 3 days time, claiming they need to check with finance team.

No response to my email, no call back.

I called after 3 days, after 20 minutes of hold, they give a lame excuse that they've not received screenshots. I resend it immediately but instead of confirming receipt of email,  they attempted to put me on another round of long hold. I had to disconnect and call again and now response was "we got the email, we've escalated this further, we need 2 more days"

I asked them to acknowledge my email. I was told that is not possible. I asked if I should keep calling or they will call back? I was told they will call back (which never happened)

The only good thing customer care staff did was to extend hold on the PNR (it will be active for few more days till they sort out what to do with this)

I checked if I can make a fresh payment.  Got below error!

Realized that AirAsia website won't allow second attempt for a payment type that failed. Payment via net banking costs Rs 80 extra whereas credit card payments cost Rs 640. I was in no mood to try the over expensive mode of payment.

The sale would end within few days. I would be at a disadvantage even if they refund money on a later date- I will have to wait for next big sale for a possibility of getting same low fare.

Air Asia facebook page offered to help. I have PNR, said I have sent screenshots to India support email. But after sometime they came back and asked for transaction no. I didn't feel like giving same details to multiple teams again n again, so I refused to keep giving more details.

Another 2 days passed, no callback, no response to email. I wonder why fail to take a complaint/issue to a logical conclusion. You need to confirm ticket if you got the money or say that you've not got the money. May be they were adopting a wait and watch strategy as the ticket was too cheap to be profitable. (once the sale ends I will have to buy at normal fare) May be they just don't like passengers like me who only fly on cheapest fares. So eventually I had to stop chasing AirAsia and worked with bank to reverse the transaction. Eventually I got the money back.

Why do online transactions fail?
I think there's no one reason. It could be your slow net connection or overloaded vendor website (high traffic during a sale) or some fault with 3rd party payment systems that sit in-between banking software and vendor website. While most of them are secure, once in a while we should be ready to face this kind of risks where one party thinks payment has happened while another system thinks it didn't get the money.  Eventually most of such transactions will be settled automatically and electronically, but it helps to stay on top of it and ensure that it is rolled back.

Summary:
  1. Don't expect any call back from Air Asia customer care. They don't give a reference number and not even acknowledge the emails sent.
  2. Don't take their words at its face value. Call again after sometime to see if you hear same story or something different.
  3. It is very surprising that Air Asia needed 1 week time to check if a transaction has failed or not.
  4. In my case luckily PNR got generated with hold status. If money was debited but no PNR came up, I would have had even more tougher time fighting this as there'll be no screenshots to prove something went wrong.
  5. Be cautious while performing key transactions- avoid if network is slow, take screenshots at critical points to be extra safe. If possible do it at off peak hours..
Update: AirAsia has sent an email asking me to make fresh payment. The email is a no reply one. Obviously whoever sent that mail don't realize that their proposal is not desirable to me as they won't allow same payment type again and paying by other means like credit card will cost me Rs 600 more. At the same time, I had some issue with a Flipkart order, wherein their support teams promptly called me, arranged for replacement.

Similar: ATM outputs Rs 100 note instead of Rs 500- my experience * Air Asia recent updates * Air Asia Big sale tips and tricks

2 comments :

Gopal K said...

Useful in case this happens with us... Will have to be careful

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Gopal Best wishes and happy journey for your trips