A fraud: one of its kind!!

You would have seen that ad from a car company promoting to pick up and drop your car for servicing. We are busy. With this busy schedule, if someone provides us with a service which saves us even an hour of the day, then nothing like it. And it is not that complicated after all.

You book a service with an authorized car service center and schedule a car pickup. The service center provides you with an order id. A valet in the car company’s uniform arrives at your house at the scheduled time. The valet provides you with a job sheet which has all your details including the order id and a confirmation that the car is being picked up for servicing. Once the car gets serviced, someone from the service center delivers the car back to your address and you settle any bills that were incurred.

Plain and simple. Right? Not Really.

What if the valet bumps your car? What if something gets stolen during the pickup or delivery? Worst case, what if your car gets picked up and never reaches the service center (gets stolen i.e.)?

If you think, the last one couldn’t happen, it did! It happened with my cousins and it can happen with you! You might just get duped and lose your precious belonging to scamsters. And once it does, begins the run from pole to post to get answers of people who are liable for the loss. Certainly, the service center will never accept their shortcoming and the car company will reply to tweets via their automated bots. They would even go to an extent of blaming it on to you. “Why did you give your car?”, “Why didn’t you confirm with us before handing over your car?” will be standard responses. To make the matter worst, police wont register any FIRs, because cheating and robbery is a not a crime of serious nature, I guess. And without FIR, you can kiss your insurance goodbye!

This can be a cyber crime, maybe. But then, the scamsters did a lot of homework, from uniform to fake job sheet (as is being claimed by the dealership). It can be an inside job at the service center, because highly unlikely that someone without access to the service center’s documents can have such precise information like customer name, order id, address and the date and time of pickup.

I know, you want to trust your dealership or service center. But then that trust will vaporize in an instance when any of such incidents happen. So what should you do if you really have to use the pickup and drop service, but still want to be safe? First of all, keep all the documentary proofs. This will help you when reporting. Second, take photos. Take photo of the valet who comes to pick the car. Ask them for their IDs. Take its photo. Third, before you hand over the car, confirm the identity of the valet with the service center. Ask them who did they send to pick the car up. Fourth, ask the car dealership/service center to acknowledge that they have received vehicle.

A service center and/or a car company, on their side should also put in these controls. It goes without saying, that customer data is Personally identifiable information (PII) and should be treated as much guarded asset. Sadly, laws in India are incompetent when it comes to data protection and companies do not take this seriously. Time and again, we have seen companies fail to protect customer data and go scot free, without any liability. Additionally, to create a better and trusting environment, share with the customer, the photo and name of the valet who would be picking up the car. Finally, keep your customers updated with the status of the servicing.

Owning a vehicle comes with its own responsibility and the biggest of them is its maintenance. While, the service centers will offer you great deals of incentives, unfortunately, with an ecosystem like in India, onus will be on you to take care of your vehicle, on and off the road.

Saavdhaan rahiye!! Surakshit rahiye!

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Aman Agarwal

Aman Agarwal

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Software developer by profession, computer gamer by hobby and a foodie by heart!!