ITZ Cash has sent out a strong warning to its franchisees (ITZ Cash Worlds), asking them not to employ illegal and unethical practices while dealing with customers of IRCTC. An anonymous tip pointed us towards a circular on the ITZ cash website, sent to vendors. Naveen Surya, MD of ITZ Cash informed MediaNama that action has been taken against 100-200 franchisees in the last one year, and it has a team of field staff to ensure that franchisees abide by norms.

The irregularities in bookings has been mainly reported for Tatkal railway tickets, which are used for last minute railway bookings (bookings for which open second day from the date of booking), see a high demand. Last year, the Railways had barred agents from making bookings between 8am to 9am on the IRCTC booking portal, to facilitate other passengers.

The Itz Cash Circular To Franchisees

According to the circular that ITZ Cash sent to franchisees, it has informed that IRCTC has reported certain activities including:

Charging fees to customers in excess of the fee prescribed by IRCTC.
Changing/editing the value of the ticket to show higher fare than the actual fare
Creation of dummy user profile (personal login IDs) on IRCTC Web portal (B2C) as a passenger and book TATKAL Railway e-Tickets for their customers and make commercial use of the IRCTC web portal which is only meant for end customers for self use.
Booking TATKAL Railway e-Tickets during agent restricted time 8.00 a.m. to 9.00 a.m. by creating and using number of personal login IDs.
Using illegal software for automating the bookings through IRCTC web portal and Web-services.
Non refund/Delay of refund amount after cancellation
– Non filling up of the requisition/cancellation slips, Filing of False TDR claims,
– Non adherence to the DO’s and Don’ts and other terms and conditions as prescribed by IRCTC from time to time.

ITZ has warned franchisees that if they are found guilty, it will lead to disabling of their sub-agent IDs, and in cases of over-charging, double the amount will be recovered. Also a penalty of Rs 20,000 per case and filing of an FIR or suitable criminal proceedings will be initiated against the franchisees.

Impact on Cash Card Transactions At IRCTC

MediaNama has also learnt from sources that IRCTC is not allowing Tatkal ticket bookings thorough cash cards during the one hour block period since the last four months. Interestingly the number of total transactions made through Cash cards on the portal have dipped if one tries to analyse the data provided by IRCTC.

There was a 16% dip in the number of total transactions through cash cards if one takes a look at IRCTC transactions for May 2011. In April 2011, the dip was just 6% compared to March 2011.

In May 2011, 6,13,685 IRCTC transactions were made through ITZ Cash cards. It accounted for 5.93% of total transactions, 7.04% of total successful transactions, with a 90.95% success rate. However, there was a 13% dip in the number of transactions.

Is That All?

We feel that the move will surely result in reduction of illegal transactions at least the ones being carried out through cash cards.

However, instead of singling out cash cards, IRCTC needs to look within, instead of looking only at what is happening externally.

Perhaps booking tickets isn’t easy enough, user friendly enough, there are server problems which make booking difficult, or there isn’t adequate distribution – which is why people go to touts.