Social media backlash compels Paytm roll back top-up charges

11-03-2017
DH

"I will react faster. I won’t say I will do anything different but I will react faster. Yesterday, we rolled 2 per cent charges for adding money to credit card on a Paytm wallet. Last night it was rolled back. In less than 24 hours," Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma said at a ’Knowledge Factory’ event.

He was talking about a possible action plan of Paytm in case it faces a social media backlash like Maggi crisis in 2016 that led Nestle India destroy around 38,500 tonnes of the noodles.

"I want to give you the reason for roll back. Obviously, a lot of people were gaming. You know what the bankers were gaming was my problem. I want to tell bankers you have a problem for common consumers. I am giving you money any which way you can use," Sharma said.

He said people in India are gullible which is a big problem for any company to build business. "People get into the quick concerns and outrage on them but at the same point of time you have to react for certain people in a larger sense so your system have to be changed. I just felt bad that we were really not charging people because we were giving money back, except we wanted to reduce that money method. It was net net found out that we should let these (credit card gamers) guys block...hack with you," Sharma said.

He said those people may feel bad about when told that they "were doing fraud".
"In my mathematics it is called fraud," Sharma said.

He said that Paytm’s millions of cards were found to be very savvy and premium cards. "They are intelligent people. Only intelligent people can take money from credit card to the bank and rotate for a 0.1 per cent interest. You know interest that they will save...Then Twitter is an amazing media. It sort of gives you myopia of that you have a public opinion while you have an opinion of thing which is in front of you and which may not be public opinion," Sharma said.

On this issue, the way company handles its image of being associated with Chinese firm, Sharma said, adding sometimes business is like a cultural bond between two countries and drives things which are on a positive side.

"I go out there (in China) and tell them that let me tell you one thing that somewhere if you could talk to Xi Jinping (Chinese President), please talk to him and get to us security council seat," he said. Sharma said Paytm is an Indian company which will build product and services required for India, unique and not copied either or vice versa and also not driven or controlled or guided by even China.

Nestle India Chairman and Managing Director Suresh Narayanan said there was no fact behind the Maggi crisis and the company destroyed Maggi sample to keep up with consumer’s trust in the brand.

"The fact of matter is consumer trust and consumer confidence is the only thing on which the company stands. The fact of the matter is kind of rhetoric that built up most unfortunately led to a situation where there was no factual debate on the issue but more emotive question whether we were the next worse after the Bhopal Gas tragedy. Then you really have little option," Narayanan said.

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