Here is my first experience with Zoom car
Rental period: 4 days from Sunday morning to Wednesday night
Car : XUV500 booked to transport 4 adults and 2 kids to Madikeri
Location: Zoomcar Bangalore Brigade Metropolis
I had been planning to rent a zoomcar for some time now to check how they are and the vacation a couple of weeks back offered the perfect chance. With 2 young kids and lots of luggage an SUV was the the default choice and I had to choose between the Scorpio and XUV 500.
I had not driven the XUV500 and wanted to try it out on a long run as my net car while the Scorpio was no choice as the body roll (even in the new one) made my wife and kids car sick (my daughter is nauseous even in the best of cars and the Scorpio is a recipe for disaster right from the start). Comments on car, service etc
1. I had asked for a home delivery and pickup for the car as I had a lot of luggage and had to leave early. Wanted the convenience of having the car at my doorstep.
Zoomcar kept me in suspense until Saturday afternoon and finally confirmed home drop Saturday evening (this call was from the local office) after a couple of follow ups to their call center. Surprisingly no one thought it important to call the customer to update status. In my first call to them they said that I will be updated 24 hours before booking commences and i had to remind them that it was well past the limit. I guess the agent did not check the booking before answering.
2. I had a home from at 6am in the morning. The local office could only deliver at 6.30 am (since opening time is 6am and only then executives arrive?) so the asked if they could move my booking to 6.30 am and drop the car at 6.30am. I agreed and also confirmed no extra cost to me. Then got a mail with the change in booking with a 200 Rs booking change charge. 2 irritated calls later and explaining that the booking was changed by Zoomcar for their convenience and not mine, got the charge reversed.
3. Car delivery was perfectly on time, the executive did a full overview of the car and filled out the checklist with me. Took photo of all the car from all sides. Except for a few minor dents and a broken tail lamp the car was in decent condition. Interiors were clean. The car was supposed to be about 8 months old and had 43K on the ODO. That's a lot of driving. Tyres were old but OK. Not a lot of thread though.
4. Stopped at the A2B on the way in Mysore road for breakfast and saw at least 5 Zoomcars parked there. Looks like the service is popular enough. We wanted to do Shivanasamudra and took the turn after Maddur but it was essentially a single lane due to road works. My daughter then decided that it was a good time to empty her stomach on the floor mat. So after parking and cleaning the car mat for half an hour, we scrapped the plan to Shivanasamudra and returned back to Mysore road to Madikeri
5. The car had no issues on the drive up until 20 Kms before Madikeri. Did a constant 100 to 110 kmph. Suddenly 20 Km before Madikeri the OBD Check
lamp came on for no reason. I started getting concerned. If you have driven Zoom car they have a nice sticker right on the driver windscreen corner saying "call customer service assistance if the OBD check lamp comes on". So I park my car and call Zoom car. The call center had no clue. They said they need to pass this on to tech team and will be called immediately. No call from them. After 3 calls and some shouting got a call back from the local office where I rented the car. Was asked to explain the problem which I did and the "Tech team" which I assumed called me had again no clue what OBD check lamp was and promised to call back with more expertise immediately. In the meantime it was 6pm, getting dark and with 2 kids below 3 and 2 adults above 60 I decided to keep going to the resort and park my car there. After 1 hour after reaching the resort and no calls from Zoomcar I was fed up.
Finally i figured I will call the local office directly and called them. Again no one had any clue what the OBD check lamp was and I was close to driving back overnight and hitting them on the head with the manual in the car and the sticker they have so nicely pasted in the windscreen. Was asked to Whatsapp the photo of the indicator. Did that and stopped for the day.
6. Called Zoom car again the next day morning twice . Same boiler plate answer that "someone from our technical team will call you in 2 min" and then no calls. Was even asked one of the times to take the car to a local mechanic to get it checked out and I had to then explain fundamentals of car maintenance to them.
Then called the local office. The guy who picked up the phone said he was the new shift person, has no clue of the problem, got my current location from the car GPS and promised that someone from M&M will come check my car in 2 hours. No one turned up. Finally I was fed up and decided to let fate take car of my car on the drive back which was anyway 2 days away.
7. The next day discovered another problem. The central lock was not locking all doors. The driver door had to be locked manually which was conveniently not mentioned to me (the person who came to pick the car up told me it was a known problem in the car ). Thanked gods that nothing got robbed when we parked in all the places where we stepped out. Never really struck me to check central lock!! good learning this and was really pissed off that they forgot to mention this.
8. Next day, started the car for some local trips and sight seeing and magically the check lamp did not come on. Felt relieved. The car stayed that way until the next day on our way back until we crossed Mysore. Then suddenly ABS and the check lamp came on and the car was feeling different. Finally It it me that its probably got to do something with the ABS malfunctioning and also remembered the ABS had come on a couple of times the last time I had the problem. Switched off the car, let it rest for a couple of minutes and then re started. The ABS went off but the OBD lamp stayed on for a few more kms before switching off. Did an uneventful trip back to Bangalore and even did Shivanasamudra on the way back. Pick up and check of car was quick and on time.
9. Other observations
One of the head lamps in dim was not working properly. Lamp alignment was somewhere up in the air and to the left.But thank fully i did not do too much night driving.
The clutch, especially in 1st and reverse was really bad. Slotting and moving had some audible noises. That's not going to last very long. The person who picked up explained that not a lot of people talk about problems and generally cars go through a lot of abuse. That's a real pity.
10. I had a fuel reimbursement (had filled fuel) and gave the bill to the person who picked up the car. Both the refund of deposit and fuel bill settlement happened within 3 days. I had a hard time getting a bill though. Apparently the full Invoice (and I had to explain what an invoice should contain to the call center) is generated online under your account only after the entire settlement is complete.
All in all the experience with Zoomcar was ok. Will probably do it again Liked
1. The concept, hassle free booking
2. The car cleanliness and condition except for the niggles I had
3. Cost of renting (13k for about 4 days which was a good deal)
4. Pickup and drop which was on time and hassle free
5. Chargers, adapters that come with the car. Rooftop fitted carrier, spare bulbs.
5. Self Drive!! Disliked
1. The joke of the "technical team". If you have no clue of issues for which you have a sticker pasted in the windscreen, then you have no "technical" team.
2. No coordination between Zoomcar call center and local office. I literally was begging them to give me some direction on the issues faced. About 15 calls from my side and none from them
3. Customer service in case of problems needs to go a long way. God forbid if your car stops. Actually I think that might be better - in one of the calls one of the reps told me "don't worry sir, I have your coordinates, call me if your car stops, I will send a replacement within the next 1 to 2 hours".
I wanted to scream at someone on preventive maintenance and how to take car of a car. If you are a car lover you will hate this attitude.
4. Other process niggles (booking change charges, not knowing when an invoice will be available, lack of coordination between different teams, not explaining the issues in the car that are not immediately obvious (like central lock in my case) etc)