How to handle e-wallet grievances
Mobile e-wallets are gaining currency and are easy to use. However, should any issues arise while using them, how will you resolve them? Read on to know
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared on television sets on 8 November, and declared a war on black money through demonetisation of high-value currency notes, the space for digital transactions increased overnight. Without losing any time, fintech and e-payment companies ramped up their marketing efforts. Banks, too, entered the battle for eyeballs. Rajiv Lall, managing director and chief executive officer, IDFC Bank Ltd, said e-wallets have higher mindshare and recall, compared with banks’ apps largely because the e-wallet service providers have spent more on marketing and advertisements.
For instance, at Lil Flea Market, an annual shopping event in Mumbai held on 9-11 December, most had adopted Paytm. A few credit and debit cards were also used, but none used unified payment interface (UPI). Now, if more people are using e-wallets, customer service issues and grievances can’t be far behind.
If you have a complaint against a bank, you can let the bank know of the issues over phone, email or by visiting the branch. If the issue remains unresolved, you can go to the banking ombudsman. If you are still not satisfied, you can fight the bank in the court of law.
But what about e-wallet service providers? Here is what you should know:
Complaints are usually around transactions. Deepak Abbot, senior vice-president, Paytm, said very few wallet-to-wallet transactions fail. “Say, if you send money from Paytm to Paytm, if it fails the money will go back to the sender. There is no pending state between Paytm-to-Paytm transactions,” said Abbot. Abbot said that payments can only get delayed when sending money from Paytm to a bank account. “E-wallet to bank account issue (can) arise if, say, the bank server is down, NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) switch is down, or there is a timeout from bank side. In such situations, we get the money back or the money gets stuck in the system,” said Abbot.
He added, for example, if someone sends a request and “there is an NPCI switch in between and it gets timed out, we don’t get confirmation from bank.”
Sometimes, problem in Paytm to Net banking transactions arises because the e-wallet company has to send these requests or messages to the bank, manually. So, there are chances that something could get missed. The e-wallet companies usually process such requests in batches every 24 hours, after which the banks have to take up these requests at their end. “Now it depends on the banks too. For example, State Bank of India and HDFC Bank Ltd take 4 days to process; a corporation bank can take up to 8 days. It entirely depends on how fast the banks can process,” said Abbot.
But why does the amount you load go missing? “The reason could be that our server was fluctuating because of (high) load or slow connectivity between app and our server. Momentarily, you may not see the amount, but the amount exists. Sometimes, the customer may have multiple payment accounts. So when they login using a different account they may (think) the money is not in that account,” said Abbot.
What you can do
Unlike banking customers, e-wallet users do not have recourse to an ombudsman. Then, how can their grievances be addressed? The redressal process is different for different service providers. E-wallet companies that have a partner bank, follow the same procedure as banks. “We act as a business correspondent to our bank partner. We have a 24x7 customer call centre.... Entire regime of business correspondent comes into play. The customer can go to the bank and if not satisfied, to the ombudsman,” said Suresh Sethi, business head, Vodafone m-pesa Ltd, which has 8.4 million customers in India.
However, independent e-wallet complaints are beyond the purview of the banking ombudsman as of now. To begin with, you will have to contact your e-wallet service provider. “We have a helpline number that is available during day time... customers can raise (disputes) in the app itself, on the transaction history page, via call centre, email or over social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter,” said Mrinal Sinha, chief operating officer, MobiKwik. In case the transaction is beyond the scope of the e-wallet company, and within the banking system, then you will be given the bank details to track the transaction.
“When it comes to transactions between e-wallets and banks, the moment we do a transaction, we share the bank reference number. If the issue is from the bank’s side, customers can quote the reference number and follow up with the bank directly,” said Abbot. But some believe that a lot needs to be done in customer service, as they are still not used to transactions that take place without a paper trail.
According to Pramod Saxena, founder and chairman, Oxigen Services (I) Pvt. Ltd, the bigger challenge is regulatory compliance. “RBI has recently issued letters to all prepaid payment instrument (PPI) issuers to prepare the required details to subject to audit. For a customer, if Rs20-50 gets locked up, there is no receipt or any paper trail to rely on. Hence, companies will have to engage more with customers,” said Saxena.
In case of a dispute, if the company’s response does not satisfy you, then the next step is to go to court. But approach the court only after you have raised the matter with the e-wallet company and any other party involved in the transaction. You need to have all your documents handy, which will be in the digital format in case of e-wallets for proofs.
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