When you are in a different city, town either holidaying or on business, one often thinks of the convenience one would experience if they simply rented a car for safe travel, time management, and most of all convenience.
Hence when Zoomcar, an Indian self -drive car rental, was launched in the market, it met with great enthusiasm, and people talked about the debut as being an excellent idea that catered to the needs of the people and met the demands of a vast set of the population especially the young and – on – the -go!
It filled the gap that brought convenience and privacy and allowed people to have the flexibility they craved for.
Irrespective of the occasion and the demand, it was easy to just hire a Zoomcar and Zoom for a night out with friends, family, and much more, whether in your own city or otherwise.
It filled the gap for those who did not or could not invest in a car but longed for the freedom of having one’s own mode of transportation other than the two-wheeler.
Whether planning a holiday with friends, family, or merely a night out in the city, it offered the best alternative. At a price, people did not mind shelling out for that specially planned event.
However, lately, the mood and the experience of renting a Zoomcar seems to have soured. With thousands now sharing their experience on social media of what a nightmare it is and was of this self–driving car service experience.
Introduction and Launch of Zoomcar service
Zoomcar was launched in 2013 by the duo David Back and Greg Moran and is headquartered out of Bangalore.
The story is impressive; the duo from America met while studying at the University of Pennsylvania and went on to their separate endeavors; however, the pair had an idea about moving to India and starting a venture in car rentals.
Perhaps, the idea came about out of their own experience on the roads of India and the shoddy public transport system in the country; maybe they did not want to invest in a car and longed for an option of just hiring one – we do not know – but the ideal was sure novel and worth investing into.
Today Zoomcar operates in 45 cities across the country; however, David Back in 2015 resigned from the company citing personal reasons and decided to move back to his home country.
Impressive funding, investors, and valuation
As novel as the venture, it is equally interesting to note the line of individual investors that backed the project.
It includes Former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, Chair of the UK Institute of Directors Lady Barbara Judge, Vice-Dean of International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School William P. Alford, Wharton Statistics Chair Edward George, and the former Director of the Cambridge Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies Shai Vyakarnam.
It also boasts Indian Institutional investors that include Mahindra&Mahindra, Ford Motor Company, Sequoia Capital, Nokia Growth Partners, FundersClub, Basset Investment Group, Athena Capital, Empire Angels, Venture Souk, Our Crowd, Globevestor, and Cyber Carrier CL.
Former Infosys CFO Mohandas Pai and his business partner Abhay Jain also invested in the venture.
Zoomcar was able to raise total funding of Rs. 673 Cr, and in its latest round of funding, it has been valued at Rs. 1778 Cr.
While the idea and the great response Zoomcar garnered from both the investors and the general public, it has been somewhat challenging for Zoom cars in the latest reports.
The company has been bombarded by customer complaints and bad reviews from those who recounted bothersome tales of their experience while renting the service.
Many users have come forward with their dissatisfaction, sharing and recounting stories of service that has gone horribly wrong.
These include and primarily concern the refund policy of the Zoomcar rental service.
The allegations include non-payment non-refund of money charged for the service that was not provided.
- Whether it is canceling of the booking since the asked car was not available,
- many paying money from their own pocket for the maintenance of leased vehicles,
- unprofessional behavior by those employed by the company,
- alarming experiences by female customers,
- ill-maintained cars, and
- a ton of complaints about non-payment of money due as a refund for many months.
Customers are shouting themselves horse recounting their horrifying experience with the car rental service on social media. Several have also mentioned contacting higher up’s in the company but with no respite and no proper communication in regards to the money that is stuck and pending with the company.
They are also active on social media, trying to caution new users about all the ills and the bad experience they had to face.
Suppose one opens social media to check the reviews. In that case, one is taken aback as almost all reviews can be rated as from bad to worse; one has to dig deep to find one good review about the Zoomcar rental service.
Zoomcar also had a bit of a snag with the Advertisement Standards Council of India (ASCI) in 2015, when one of their video advertisement was banned as it was found in violation of India’sIndia’s Dowry Prohibition Act 1961; the advertisement was later pulled by the company.
Why is Zoomcar and its Management not showing responsibility?
When running a venture, the most critical aspect is the branding, the public image, and the users’ perceptions.
In Zoomcar’s case, it is surprising that the company management is absolutely non-responsive.
It has not made any efforts to reassure its users of change, any heed to their complaints, and no sign or assurance of refunding the money of thousands who have been waiting patiently for several months to get their refund.
Why is the management so quiet? Why are they not bothered about the hullabaloo that is going on in the market? Why are they not concerned about what the investors have to say?
Are they so sure that these reviews and the customer complaints do not matter, that it is ok to not refund the money of thousands who have been waiting in line for god knows how long?
Or it is that they are no longer perhaps wanting to run this venture, perhaps for those who have had horrible experiences with Zoomcar, if the car Zooms into nothingness and the venture becomes just a blip in the radar, it would hardly make a difference, perhaps the sigh would only be for the money they lost and not refunded as per the company policy.
Zooming away on Zoom cars is at your own risk!