Apr 6, 2007

Pre-Emptive Billing = Extortion

After the first sensual appeal of a new glittering car, everything financial about it after the purchase is murky. Have you ever dealt with a used car salesman or a glib car mechanic? We all know how much of a rip-off these encounters are.

Yesterday I gave my car for servicing to Malik Motors, a dealer for Tata Motors at Tolichowki, Hyderabad. Obviously they offered all sorts of additional services beyond the basic oil check, fluid refills. And after servicing the car billed me a fuel performance product without even checking with me, the customer. They just assumed that I will buy it given its touted benefits since it just cost another two hundred rupees. Now rolling back that transaction in their billing systems took them another 30 minutes when I was really hard pressed for time. The added assumption here was given the difficulty of reversing the transaction, the customer would meekly accept it and fork the additional money.

I noticed they were using a sophisticated real time customer relationship system deployed by Tata Motors to track the history of each car that has ever rolled of its stable. However the aggressive and preemptive billing behaviour was anything but sophisticated. There is a thick line dividing proactive customer service and extortion. Too bad they found it an easy jump across.

ps: This happens to be my first post from a mobile phone (edited later on Blogger)

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