Tuesday, February 02, 2016

The Ordeal Called OYO Rooms

(This is NOT my experience of OYO Rooms, but of Manoj Thelakkat. I am just reproducing his post in Facebook)

The Ordeal Called OYO Rooms – You are not apologetic for the inconvenience caused to me !!

I used to quote Ritesh Agarwal of OYO and his vision as an entrepreneur, even in my international trainings. So when I was coaxed to book a room using the mobile app, by a very friendly call centre boy, I was appreciative of their proactive selling skills. But, I was in for a rude awakening !

It started with my planned trip to Mumbai on 20th Jan, 2016. I usually have my list of hotels in Mumbai, but wanted to try out OYO this time. So, on the night of 19th, I was checking for OYO rooms, and I get a call from the call centre. He gives me an additional offer for the room I was looking in Khar, Mumbai. I agree, and he sends me a mail confirming the booking, and another mail with the link to make the payment. I make the payment, and receive the SMS on booking confirmation with details of the hotel ( Hotel Unicontinental, Khar ) and location map. I was travelling through Pune, so I called the hotel on the number given in the sms sent by OYO and confirm my arrival, in the evening.

After braving the Mumbai traffic, I reach the hotel Unicontinental at 2030 pm. I tell the guy in the reception that I have a booking and even before I could give him the details, he says we are sold out. I said, I have a paid booking from OYO. Unapologetically he says, we had not confirmed the booking with OYO, so we cant do anything. Its a first come first serve policy with OYO so we do not have any rooms for you. Both the guys in the reception take turns to say that, it always happens with OYO. I tell them that I called your hotel and confirmed on my arrival, and I have already paid. So you cannot deny me the booking now. He claims I had not called, and I show him my call record. He then says that number is not theirs. I call the same number from the phone, and their phone rings and he picks up the call himself. Now with nothing more to say, he adamantly says, there is no room, you can figure it out with OYO.

Its 2045 pm by now, and I call OYO. After 2 unsuccessful attempts, I reach them at 2049 pm. I tell the guy, my situation. He apologizes for the inconvenience caused to me .He says my booking is confirmed, and there is no hassle. I ask him to speak to the reception and hand the phone over. The receptionist tells him that there is no room and hands the phone back to me. The OYO guy tells me that he will sort the issue, and will escalate to another team. I'm kept on hold, and after a while someone comes on line and asks me how he can help me!! I'm surprised, and ask him, if he knows the case, he confirms in negative. He says, he was transferred the call and being the escalation desk he can check the case. I had to explain the whole story again to him. He also apologized for the inconvenience caused to me. I ask him for the solution, and tells him that I cannot search for another place, I need my stay arranged here itself. He says he will talk to the Cluster Manager of the area and the operations manager of the hotel (?) and will arrange a call back to me in 5 minutes. I was asked to wait for the call. I wait till 2120, no call came to neither me nor to the hotel. I call OYO back at 2120 and at 2122, and get the IVR that all their executives were busy. I get connected at 2123 and another guy picks the phone, and I’m told to narrate the whole story again. He also apologizes for the inconvenience caused to me. He tells me that I will get a call right away.

Realising nothing much is happening, I try my luck again with the hotel . I see another gentleman walking in for check in with an expedia booking, and he is also told that they are sold out. The man starts his argument with one of the receptionist. Seeing this, one of receptionist comes out tells me that there has been a check out and he will give me that room. In my one hour of waiting, I did not see anyone checking out. I would have slept in the sofa in my condition, so I take the offer anyways. They probably felt that two arguing customers are too much of a task.

I am shifted to the room, and am in store for the worst room I have ever seen. Forget the mini fridge mentioned in the booking, it didn’t even have a glass or a bottle of water. It seemed shady; the photos below will give the better picture. 

1) The stained dirty chair in room.
2)Depleted broken walls 
3)Wires dangerously hanging right outside the window
4)Breakfast is just tasteless Poha, and bread slices. Nothing else.

Now I get a call from OYO, and for a second I felt that they have sorted it out. But NO! It was a return call for my call they had missed. I tell him the situation I am in, and said, I have still not received the call that was promised to be made in 5 minutes at 2045 pm, and it was 2200 by now. He also apologizes for the inconvenience caused to me. He promises that his team will sort it out, and I would be shifted to a better room and that someone will give me a call with all details. He goes on to request me to adjust in the room for the night. 
Next day noon, after coming back from work, I meet the receptionists and demand to be moved to a better room. They agree, and tell me that they will arrange a room by the time I have lunch. Post lunch I come back and he says, the room is being cleaned and the shifting will happen soon. I get shifted after an hour. The next day morning I check out. 
On the 23rd noon, I get a call from OYO. NO, not the call promised to me on 20th, but a feedback call. I give him the details too. By now I had found a new respect to my patience levels. He also apologized for the inconvenience caused to me. Tells me he will ensure a call back immediately from his escalation team. I get a call after 2 hours which gets disconnected after a ring. I wait for a while, and call them back. Back to the call centre, and I tell them that I'm returning a missed call, and wants to be connected to escalation team. He keeps me on hold and then tells me that, he spoke to the escalation desk and they will call me in 10 minutes.

As I publish this, I have not received that call back, nor have I received that call promised in 5 minutes on 20th.

My suggestions, 
1) Avoid OYO, it’s not worth the start-up glamour, and the entrepreneurship fairy tale. They suck.
2) Avoid Hotel Unicontinental Khar. They are a disgrace in the name of hospitality.

My issues 
1) Why have you not called me with resolutions promised over multiple calls ?
2) Why did you charge me, if you had no confirmation from hotel ?
3) What kind of checks do you have on empanelling hotels ?
4) Does anyone check the rooms ? If yes, how can you sell such 3rd grade pathetic rooms ?
5) Is it not cheating to claim and show photos of facilities on your app and website, which are not available on the site ?
6) What action would you take on the hotel and what complaint redressal measures can I expect?
7) It is completely your responsibility, as I booked an OYO room, and didn’t even know the hotel name when I was booking.

Posted by @dinakaran