Is GoIbibo.com really that good as its TVC’s claim to be?

GoIbibo.com is an online travel website, one of the many in India. To set themselves out of the crowd, this year they released with an aggressive TV campaign which took on the offline travel agents community bigtime, showing them in poor light. Here is one of the TVC, in Hindi, where they show that offline OTAs take a lot of dilly-dallying to process ticket refunds and how they are better.

I don’t use their website frequently, but when they offered a competitive price on a Kingfisher Airlines ticket a while back, which was a lower fare class than even Kingfisher’s own website, it was only logical to book with them. I know I was taking a risk by booking Kingfisher, but this was a leisure trip, and I could have afforded a little delay since their schedule at the time of booking was stable. I did book some insurance along as well, just in case…

Kingfisher first decided to cancel my flight (a morning one) and put me on an evening flight. As usual, this made me eligible for a full refund. However, when I called, GoIbibo put the ball back in my court saying they cannot proceed with a full refund until the airline approves, and puts in a note to this effect on the ticket record. They could not contact them because Kingfisher was not taking calls, and I was supposed to contact Kingfisher, get them to put the note in the ticket, and then they would process the refund.

What is funny is, someone claiming they are good at it, eventually wants the customer to do their job. And this was 10 days before the flight, so, I gave them the benefit of doubt. A week later, I was still trying, and this time on email, I get the same response, which I reproduce for you here:

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Luckily for me, Kingfisher contacted me after a twitter message to them, and organised to update the record and I got my refund back quickly. But I had do take initiative here, otherwise the website would have hidden under the garb of Kingfisher strike and they are not liable to pay!

Just makes me wonder, are they really as good as they claim to be? Is their marketing message really true or just advertisement to drive traffic to their website? What has been your experience with them?

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Comments

  1. Our team did not give up, they only requested you to try from your end (we have mentioned in our booking terms and conditions also that in case of direct cancellation with ailrines , customers need to provide us an endorsmenet copy of cancellation ).
    Our team was chasing KF but not getting any response ,as soon as we were able to get the remarks in your booking, there was no deay in refund from our end.

    As per ailrines, they are taking 2-3 weeks to process refund after submitting the endorsmenet copy to them .

    Also, we have not been selling KF for quite sometime now, not sure when did you book as so far you have not provided us any details which would help us retreive your booking .

    Please note that there are certain processes we need to adhere to which have been laid by airlines ,they cancelled flight but did not authorise refund on the same which is a miss from their end and to expedite the same our team simply asked you to try from your end as well and luckily airlines finally did what they were supposed to do at the time of flt cancellation itself .

  2. Hi,
    Please note that you were only requested to try from your end while our team was trying to get the refund remarks /endorsment copy from the ailrines, nowehere is it mentioned that we will not try from our end.

    As mentioned earlier also this only helped us expedite the refund , we have claerly mentoned in booking T&C that in case of direct cancellation by airlines an endorsement copy is required to process refund.
    Once the same was done by ailrines there was no delay from our end.

    Also we have not been selling KF for sometime now and since you have not yet provided us your booking ref. or any other details ,we are not sure when did you book the same,it was booked probably at a time when all OTA’s were selling the same.

    We do have our relationship managers for all airlines but the min timeframe advised by KF (post getting the endorsement copy ) is 2-3 weeks .

    thanks.

  3. Hi,
    Please note that providing endorsement copy/ entering cancellation remarks in PNR is the most basic thing all airlines need to do to enable agency to initiate refund .
    We only asked you to do what would have expedited your refund else it would have taken much longer for us to get a revert from them considering the high number of such requests airlines must be getting from other agencies as well .

    • @Anjali, I invite you to take this offline with me. But from a customer perspective, if I engage a travel agency to book my tickets for me, I expect them to take care of the entire process even in case of a cancellation rather than leaving their hands-up saying this is Kingfisher Airlines and hence you cannot deal with them. Remember, you sell Kingfisher Airlines seat on your site long when other agencies have withdrawn such a practice. You must be knowing relationship managers there for your TA who should have been able to do this for you. Or else don’t just make a claim in the media that you handle airline cancellations better than a normal offline TA. I should have had no role to play in this except authorising the cancellation of my ticket.

  4. Hi,
    Please note that the example given above is related to a booking with Kingfisher airlines and hence is exceptional as everyone is aware of the situation with the ailrines .

    For refund to be processed in case of the flight cancelled by airlines, all travel agencies or OTA’s require some kind of endorsment document or notes in the booking validating the cancellation from airlines end needs to be presented to claim refund , as you have mentioned above- when Kingfisher provided the approval ,refund was processed from our end as well .

    thanks.

    • @Anjali, please clarify why was I required to do your job? You guys just raised your hands. And yes, even if it Is Kingfisher, if you chose to sell them on your site, you are responsible to fix the situation. Don’t get the client to work on your behalf, or don’t misrepresent as per the ads that you cancel better than the clients.

  5. i have booked many times on goibibo.com and always saved Rs. 300 to 700 on tickets compare to other portals like makemytrip/yatra.com who never give any offers.

  6. I have seen some of their offers such as Rs. X off. But they usually mark it up themselves and then reduce it due to the offer. Not worth the pain, plus the website is too cluttered.
    In my experience so far, only Yatra is one the decent ones out there, of course YMMV.
    Having said that, I think its better to book directly with airlines unless there is a compelling reason to book with third party agents.

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