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Old 13th March 2008, 12:23   #1
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Default VISA PVR Offer - An eye opener

This is with reference to the ongoing VISA PVR offer, in which VISA Platinum, Signature and Gold card holders get 1 ticket free out of every two tickets purchased (Wed only for Gold card holders). I used my HDFC Bank VISA Gold credit card to book 2 tickets for PVR cinema (Juhu-Mumbai) on Wednesday. I used the online booking facility, as was specified in the Offer Terms and Conditions.

As part of the ongoing promotion, I was supposed to be charged the price of only one ticket (i.e. INR 175) for every 2 tickets purchased. However, I was charged for both the tickets i.e. INR 350 + service charges INR 20.

The T&C on PVR Website states that "The current purchase process at Welcome to pvrcinemas.com will remain unchanged till the stage where the Eligible Visa Card number is provided. After this stage the website will recognize the eligible card, reduce the bill amount and inform the transacting Eligible Visa Card member accordingly". However, in my case, the amount did not change after I entered my eligible credit card number. Before I knew it, I was charged the full price of 2 tickets.

I wish to bring to your notice that PVR Cinemas website did not take me to any bank's payment gateway. I entered the quantity of tickets, my card details and my name, and clicked on submit button and it took me to the next page, which said that the amount has been deducted from my card account.

As far as my knowledge goes, all e-commerce websites are supposed to direct the customer to a bank's payment gateway (which is a secured and encrypted page) for completion of the payment. The PVR cinemas online booking site is NOT a payment gateway and is NOT encrypted or secured. This is a huge compromise on the card holder's security.

When I brought this to the attention of the Manager at PVR Juhu (Mr. Sudhir), he accepted there is a fault with the website's online booking system and this problem has been reported by many other people recently. He also told me about a 'quota' of tickets - 1500 tickets per day ACROSS all PVR cinemas in India. This he mentioned, was a hidden fact and not known to many people.

I want to have answers to 2 questions here
1. Why was there no message flashed on the screen informing that I have not qualified for the offer because the quota is already filled up?

2. Secondly, I don't think PVR Cinemas is authorized to deduct amount from the credit card without directing to a payment gateway and seeking approval for the debit.

More than a matter of money, it has become a question of business ethics. At first, the PVR Manager was not believing me and was trying to blame me for this 'mistake'. His words were "Sir, you might have forgotten to choose the option of VISA PVR Offer or there is a problem with your computer/internet connection"

After some bit of pressure tactics, he admitted the fault with the website and the hidden quota fact came up then.

I would like to report this to the press (Mid-Day or Mumbai Mirror) and want to know if any member knows the process to do so?
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Old 13th March 2008, 12:28   #2
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I was once charged for tickets i couldnt use on the PVR website. I was tying to book tickets, and when i reached the last stage after entering my card details the site hung up. Needless to say, my money was debited. I sent a mail to the PVR customer care service, but to no response.

Since it was question of Rs.350/-, i didnt want to waste my time pursuing it further. Left it at that, but decided NEVER to go to PVR again, or use their online booking.

Customer service is not exactly a virtue of many companies these days.
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Old 13th March 2008, 12:32   #3
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Nishant, I have used this offer quiet a few times with my platinum card.
After putting the card number and clicking on submit, a message pops up saying that you are eligible for the free ticket offer.
Last week when i was trying to book tickets i also got the message that the free tickets quota is exhausted and if I would like to continue.

Dont know why you did not get this message, maybe something to do with the gold card, since gold cards have recently been included in this offer(that too for Wednesday only).

My 2 cents.
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Old 13th March 2008, 12:39   #4
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Originally Posted by benbsb29 View Post
Customer service is not exactly a virtue of many companies these days.
This is true and very sad. This is mainly because of the large amount of business that they are getting in cities like Bangalore where there is not much competition also.

Not surprisingly, the tickets for PVR Bangalore are costlier than any other city.
If the free ticket offer was not there, I would have missed so many movies
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Old 13th March 2008, 12:39   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revved_up View Post
After putting the card number and clicking on submit, a message pops up saying that you are eligible for the free ticket offer.

Last week when i was trying to book tickets i also got the message that the free tickets quota is exhausted and if I would like to continue.
Exactly my point. Either I should have been informed that I am eligible for the free ticket or not. But either ways, message should have appeared. Right?
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Old 13th March 2008, 12:51   #6
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Nishant looks like there is a problem here. As revved up confirmed, there seems to be a message that informs the customer about the offer either ways. Since it is a pop-up I suspect that you have the pop-up blocker enabled on your machine which suppressed the message and it went ahead. This is my guess but could very well be what happened in your case.

benny, i would say you should have gone ahead and taken the money back. You just had to call the customer support of your card company and lodged a disputed payment complaint. You could have also done the same from the Visa call centers. That immediately stops the payment. Of course they send you a form to fill-up and submit.

Its as simple as that. The moment you lodge a dispute the payment to the merchant establishment is stopped and till it is resolved they do not ask you to pay. Of course if the merchant proves successfully that they indeed issued you a ticket and there is a secondary link from where you can check your booked ticket and take a reprint then your goose is cooked.
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Old 13th March 2008, 13:08   #7
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Originally Posted by Zappo View Post
benny, i would say you should have gone ahead and taken the money back. You just had to call the customer support of your card company and lodged a disputed payment complaint. You could have also done the same from the Visa call centers. That immediately stops the payment. Of course they send you a form to fill-up and submit.

Its as simple as that.
Zappo, i was lazy to say the truth. I expected my complaint to be favourably addressed by the folks at PVR, but they didnt. Maybe i was giving them a chance.

Will be more careful henceforth.
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Old 13th March 2008, 13:43   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zappo View Post
Nishant looks like there is a problem here. As revved up confirmed, there seems to be a message that informs the customer about the offer either ways. Since it is a pop-up I suspect that you have the pop-up blocker enabled on your machine which suppressed the message and it went ahead. This is my guess but could very well be what happened in your case.

You could have also done the same from the Visa call centers. That immediately stops the payment. Of course they send you a form to fill-up and submit.
Hi Zappo,
I also suspected this to be the case. But I double checked, and I dont have any pop up blocker in my system. Infact, many other e-commerce websites which do have pop ups (online travel/airfare/ticketing websites) have worked well on my same laptop since the last 2 years.

Do you have the VISA helpline no handy? Also, I just checked my HDFC card account online and I have already been charged the total amount. Whats my recourse in this scenario?
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Old 13th March 2008, 14:58   #9
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This goes off-topic but
Hyderabad PVR, Mithya Saturday 1:10 PM show.
The a/c did not start till after the interval.

Hw and to whom do we complain when they charge 100/- and make you sweat.
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Old 13th March 2008, 15:14   #10
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nishant, you can go ahead and lodge a disputed payment complain with your card issuing bank. You will most probably need to fill up a form. The same I guess can be done via Visa. Check their website or else the docs that came with your card. It will have the way to reach nearest Visa interaction point in it.

Once you lodge a complain it basically means that you are refusing to pay. The merchant is informed of the same and asked to fight it out. Now, here it may happen that the merchant will not put up any fight at all and you will be home and dry. But if they do then of course you will have a fight in hand. In your case it will probably take a turn where they will provide evidences to the fact that they have always had enough warnings and messages built into the system and some supporting cases from the past. They will basically prove that it was your negligence that you did not read the message or took time to understand it and hence PVR is not guilty.

The pop-up blocker is another very plausible alibi they can/will take. You can not on the contrary prove so easily that the pop-blocker was not operational at that point in time. Of course, it is a fact that a well designed system should not proceed ahead unless and until it gets/captures the user's response. So if the pop-blocker stops the message from appearing then the submission should not happen.

I guess you should try it. There is nothing to loose in this for you, at least as yet. You just have to call up the call center and they will suggest suitable action.

bblost, its a little late now in the day. You should have immediately gone ahead and sought a refund when the AC was non-functional. Your first point of contact would have been the theatre manager.

Now, I do not see anything less than a complain with a consumer fora. There too you will need to prove that the AC was indeed dysfunctional during the movie on that day. A tough ask I guess...
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Old 13th March 2008, 15:24   #11
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well.. .frstly - the transaction having to go to the bank will not go since payment gateways are not always operated by banks. If you have a credit card- the it goes through visa / master card's payment gateway as they are the issuing authority. If its a debit card - then you might go through the bank, but it depends on the site. Like IRCTC does not take you to the bank site (as an example) unless you choose direct debit facility.

There is a lot to be desired in the online booking scene... getting pop-ups is a lot of work that needs to be done on the backend - which will need to intereact with the payment gateway to check eligibility - most of these apps- i suspect - run on desktop server rather than server class machines. What the big cinema houses fail to realise is that many of us "online" folks find it easier to book online - rather than come and stand in line.
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Old 13th March 2008, 15:42   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madan80 View Post
well.. .frstly - the transaction having to go to the bank will not go since payment gateways are not always operated by banks. If you have a credit card- the it goes through visa / master card's payment gateway as they are the issuing authority. If its a debit card - then you might go through the bank, but it depends on the site. Like IRCTC does not take you to the bank site (as an example) unless you choose direct debit facility.
AFAIK and IIRC, most of the online transactions go through payment gateways, irrespective of the mode or the type of card chosen. e.g. I always book on IRCTC using my credit card, and it ALWAYS has popped up a new window which asks me which payment gateway to use. I choose either HDFC or Citibank as these are the cards that I have. Once when I was using a friend's card, I chose ICICI Bank's gateway as well.

The entire logic of using a bank's PG is because it is secured and encrypted. This is displayed by https://...... and a padlock sign in the bottom right corner of your screen.
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Old 13th March 2008, 15:47   #13
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I did not want to spoil the day for my wife.
she puts up with a lot on my account and I did not want to spoil the day for her.

Also I have a ride getting planned later this month, so there is no way I am gonna do anything to hurt the chances.
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Old 13th March 2008, 15:57   #14
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Originally Posted by Zappo View Post

The pop-up blocker is another very plausible alibi they can/will take. You can not on the contrary prove so easily that the pop-blocker was not operational at that point in time. Of course, it is a fact that a well designed system should not proceed ahead unless and until it gets/captures the user's response. So if the pop-blocker stops the message from appearing then the submission should not happen.
I have used PVR's website for booking tickets and have got the javascript alert. Its a Javascript alert and not a popup. all popup blockers block the new windows but not JS alerts. So Nishant is good there. Even if there is a popup blocker (like i have), you would still get the alert (like i got).

To me, it seems some kind of defect with their software.
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Old 13th March 2008, 16:23   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nishantgandhi View Post
AFAIK and IIRC, most of the online transactions go through payment gateways, irrespective of the mode or the type of card chosen. e.g. I always book on IRCTC using my credit card, and it ALWAYS has popped up a new window which asks me which payment gateway to use. I choose either HDFC or Citibank as these are the cards that I have. Once when I was using a friend's card, I chose ICICI Bank's gateway as well.

The entire logic of using a bank's PG is because it is secured and encrypted. This is displayed by https://...... and a padlock sign in the bottom right corner of your screen.
They do through payment gateway.

But the procedure can work on two ways:

1. Merchant (PVR) can redirect browser to bank's website and bank handles credit card processing. Bank just informs PVR that transaction was okay or not.
2. Merchant gets card details from you and get authorization directly from gateway.

Method #1 is more secure since merchant will not know your card details.

But theaters prefer Method #2

Since in this case they know that card number and verify this card while handing over the ticket at counter.
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