12+ frequent issues faced by Zoomcar hosts - eNidhi India Travel Blog

12+ frequent issues faced by Zoomcar hosts

While I have already written why host program is illegal, I am seeing thousands of individuals have become hosts listing their cars on Zoomcar and facing issues daily. Everyday we see 100s of tweets from frustrated hosts and customers. I felt it is important for the information of general public to list the common challenges faced by Zoomcar hosts, so that they are aware of what they are signing up into. At this moment we don't know what % of Zoomcar hosts and customers face this issue- but the potential and probability are real.

1 Criminal Charges because of Zoomcar customer’s illegal activities

When you give your whiteboard car to someone else, as a owner of the car you will be a party if the car is used for any illegal activity- such as but not limited to- kidnapping, murder, attempt to murder, smuggling, human trafficking, extorsion and so on.

Ideally Zoomcar should indemnify vehicle owners of all criminal charges when the car is listed, but all they offer is “assistance” which could be as simple as telling “go to court and try to get your car back”, without any commitment to recover the car and clear the host from any criminal charges.

Below is a case of criminals booking Zoomcar to kidnap a student named Anmol Aroda and car owner being jailed, begging with zoomcar to help him get his car back. It has been 4 months and there is no update. I doubt if Zoomcar offered any practical help. Read original tweet here

Implications of criminal charge will be huge. Besides the lengthy court visits, you may not get passport, you may not get a job and face many other issues. Even if provided not guilty after several years, the damage is done. Renting out whiteboard car for commercial purpose is simply illegal but many hosts don’t realize this and zoomcar is giving some lame excuse that it is rented under some private lease and is allowed. They refuse to give any documentation/approval or evidence to back this up. Their youtube channel won’t accept comments, twitter handle doesn’t respond beyond what bots can give automated template replies. A regular taxi driver is not responsible for crimes of his/her customer because he has a commercial license. But white board car owner is responsible for whatever happens in his/her car as he/she is supposed to give it only to known friends and relatives, not strangers.

2 Total Loss of a car in accident 

Many of host’s cars are wrecked beyond repair by zoomcar customers. Zoomcar doesn’t have any compensation policy other than asking hosts to claim insurance. As a car owner, below are my impact if my car is totaled

  • Prolonged wait: Zoomcar has no SLA/time commitment to resolve their side of the issues. Host may have to wait for months before any repair or compensation is approved, if at all. Time and energy spent on follow up is too much stressful. Check various tweets and social media updates.
  • Hosts won’t have a car for their personal use till they buy a new car, which may have 3-6 month waiting period. Zoomcar doesn’t pay any compensation except 300 INR per day downtime for a max of 28 days in some case. This amount is not enough for auto charge to go to city center. Zoomcar should pay at least 2000 INR per day on weekdays for office taxi expense and 5000 per day on weekend for outstation taxi rental expenses, or Zoomcar should provide a replacement car till new car is delivered. But nothing will happen, hosts are left to fend for themselves.
  • All the accessories added are wasted, you have to spend again.
  • Your 2 year old car for which you paid 10 lakh may have IDV of 7 lakhs now. You could have used it for another 7-8 years easily if well maintained. You getting 7 lakh from insurance won’t help as new car of same model is costing 12 lakhs now with 6 month waiting period and a possible price hike during delivery. Host will have to pay 5 lakh extra from pocket, for which they should earn 6.5 lakhs pre-tax income.  Why hosts should bear so much expense & inconvenience for Zoomcar customer’s fault?

3 Tracker device that drains battery

Zoomcar installs a tracker device on host’s car. It is Zoomcar's properiterary device hidden somewhere in the car to track location, lock/unlock through the app and other purposes. Hosts/regular mechanics are unable to switch it off or remove. This device needs continuous power from car’s battery to operate. If car is not started for 2 days, car’s battery will drain and won’t start. Every two days you need to start the car, keep it running for 20-30 minutes- burning fuel and wasting time- Zoomcar won’t admit their faulty device and most host’s don’t realize this till their battery fails completely. This would eventually force host to buy a new battery at their own expense and as usually zoomcar won’t help in any way.

4 Pay 590 per month for tracker device

Zoomcar has started charging 590 INR per month (per week in some cases) to hosts in the name of tracking device. But Zoomcar won’t share car’s live location with hosts in the name of privacy of customers. Cars don’t return by the end of booking end time, hosts have no clue where the car is and Zoomcar just won’t support in any way. Maybe Zoomcar employees are enjoying the car or car is sent on another booking without host knowing or getting paid for. If left unattended zoomcar’s tracker device will drain car’s battery and leave it unmovable. So host has to own all the risks, pay and not question anything.

5 Almost Everything is host responsibility

Rental customers abuse the cars. They drive rashly, drive on roads not suitable for small cars/4x2 cars, carry loads car can’t handle or use wrong gears burning clutch and so on. Zoomcar doesn’t have any process to track this and won’t compensate hosts.

  • Tyres that could have lasted 40000 kms would need replacement at 15000-20000 kms, costing 20000-40000 for a set of tyres
  • Clutch wears out early
  • Suspension gets damaged due to driving on bad roads or with excess load or aggressive driving- host issue
  • Customer runs AC on battery and ruins battery & AC- host issue
  • Customer steals expensive components or replaces genuine item with fake, host responsibility
  • Paying traffic challan issued because of violation by customer is host responsibility... (refund may take ages)
  • Customer fills diesel in petrol car and it is host's responsibility to get it fixed at their own expense

Many other issues may get developed- everything is host responsibility as per zoomcar, as they want go asset light and just pocket commission, leaving all the risk with owners.

While hosts were told only customers with high rating will be provided host cars, now Zoomcar doesn’t have any car of their own, so all customers will be assigned white board host cars.

5. All damages are minor as long as car is moving

While Zoomcar collects penalty from customers for damages, the same is not paid to hosts. Hosts are told to live with the damages and compensation/repair will be done after 5 such similar damages.  So many scratches, dents and other damages are left as is, for hosts to fix on their own, or live with it or beg zoomcar for repair.

6 Partial, delayed and pathetic repairs

When a car is damaged, it needs to repaired in time, by an authorized service center with genuine spare parts. But that would cost lots of money, so to save money zoomcar won’t authorize any repairs as long as car is movable. Even otherwise some bare minimum repairs are done, often with fake parts or shoddy workmanship to cut corners and save time.

Downtime computation -paltry 300 Rs per day for max 28 days- now starts from the date car is given to service center- if they don't pick it up for months, hosts get nothing and can keep staring at their wrecked car.

7 Theft by customers and staff

Many hosts have complained that their brand new tyre & alloy wheels are replaced by an old tyre, or other parts of the car and Zoomcar has no process to assess and compensate. Read a sample tweet here.

Many hosts are noticing their cars don't return after a booking- either they are allocated to another booking without telling the hosts or staff use it unofficially

8 Faulty, fraudulent calculations & delayed payments

Zoomcar’s calculations are disputed by many hosts and payments are seldom not processed on time. Read a sample complaint here. Zoomcar has not been fair and transparent with their calculations & payments.  Some are getting 12 to 15 Rupees after car was out for 106 hours! In many cases hosts themselves are asked to pay Zoomcar every month, as the charges, penalty and other things exceed any possible earnings.

9 Auto-closing tickets. No one to call and hold accountable

While Zoomcar talks about dedicated relationship manager and so on, there is no real support for hosts. 

  • Hosts are asked to raise a ticket which is automatically closed after few days with some template response, without taking consent from host if the issue is resolved
  • Email support team gives template response, asking to wait
  • No active number to call to
  • No escalation matrix, CEO or Founder do not respond if tagged on twitter
  • Social media team only gives some template replies buying more time.

All tricks in the book are used to evade responsibility, make hosts wait forever and avoid spending any effort or money to resolve the actual issue.

10 Challans and seizure

When customers violate a traffic rule, challan comes to home of the owner, usually after few days by which customer would have returned the car and walked away. Now it should be Zoomcar’s responsibility to trace the customer and make them pay traffic challan, but Zoomcar asks hosts to pay from their pocket and then never compensates. If not paid, next customer may have the car seized and driving license impounded, again Zoomcar does nothing to help.

Renting white board cars commercially is also illegal, though zoomcar claims otherwise. Renting customers if caught by police would clearly say they rented from zoomcar and won’t say they are your relative. That is enough for police to issue challan up to 20000 INR or even impound your car. Refer this incident that happened in Goa

11: Work as unpaid fleet executive

The idea of listing your can to earn extra money is that when you don’t need a car it will earn revenue for you. But it doesn’t like that with zoomcar

  • Zoomcar doesn’t have any garage or staff to take care of cars anymore. Hosts should keep it near their home and care for cars- cleaning, filling fuel, checking damage etc. You can’t go to work or out of station leaving your car by the roadside, so hosts end up acting as unpaid fleet executives.
  • You can’t plan either. If you’ve listed the car and thought of going to office between 9 AM and 6 PM, customer may return at 1PM and another customer may book at 5 PM, Previous customer may return early, return late- you can’t plan to be at drop location at specific time. You will end up taking leave for whole day- your one day salary is also one
  • Besides all these, lots of time and energy has to be spent to follow up with Zoomcar, crosscheck their faulty calculations & claims and spend more money to maintain the car than what is earned from Zoomcar, making the whole proposition unviable

12. Bonus: Possible income tax claim on money received from Zoomcar

Many hosts don’t realize this but soon this will be a problem. 

  • You pay traffic challan and zoomcar reimburses
  • You fix a damage and zoomcar reimburses
  • You suffer massive inconvenience and zoomcar gives some paltry compensation

13. Not settling dues of hosts chose to exit

Tired of damages to their cars, faulty payments and penalties, if a host choses to exit the program, Zoomcar is not doing full and final settlement. Host has to forgo all pending payments and repair bills as Zoomcar claims since you are no longer a host no payment will be processed for you.

All the above are not your income- it is expense reimbursement. But Income tax department doesn’t care. Any incoming money could be treated as your income and they may expect 20-30% tax on that depending on which bracket you fall. If Zoomcar pays directly to traffic department or service center etc this risk can be avoided, or Zoomcar should have separate account for non taxable reimbursements. But no such process.  Because the host program started recently tax department hasn’t woken up to this yet, but soon this will be an issue that will affect majority of the hosts.

In an attempt to earn a small amount, you will risk massive damages to your car or even losing your entire car, pay from your pocket for penalties, repairs, tracker device and even risk facing criminal charges. You be the judge.

Issues faced by Zoom Car customers is listed in another blogpost here

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