Once upon a time I received an unsolicited email from a company called Taxify that had just entered the Nigerian market but I found the mail interesting because it was about another taxi hailing company ready to give Uber a fight for its money.
Since Uber launched in the Nigerian market, we had seen a number of other taxi hailing services disappear most notably easytaxi, so the market became more or less a monopoly which I believe does not benefit the consumer neither does it help the economy.
After a few back and forth with some of the guys running the operations, I decided to give Taxify a shot and found it pretty much effective as well as cheaper than Uber considering the fact that a number of drivers worked for both companies.
From that moment on I started doing more of Taxify and less of Uber but I missed one thing and that was of the fact that Taxify only accepted cash something I was no longer used to.
So I wrote them asking for card payment option, I jumped in as soon as it was available and started using card instead of cash. The first shocker I experienced was that the drivers were not properly briefed about the card payment development so each time they dropped me off, I usually hear something like "Oga money" and I'd then take the pains to explain that it is a card trip (let's just regard this as one of the teething problem of an economy trying to go cashless).
Anyways fast forward to a later date, I had already taken multiple trips that were billed to my card, then all of a sudden I started receiving notifications of fresh deductions even when I did not take any trips. I had about 7 or so deductions before I suddenly realized that I had to take action.
I thought about a number of options but concluded that the best option was simply empty the account so whatever bug (as the team called it) sucking my account will have nothing more to suck.
Lesson learnt: until our digital economy matures more, I'd only connect my secondary ATMs to avoid issues such as this.
In one of my mails to the taxify team, I described the experience as follows "....as soon as I noticed the way deductions were happening, I made a wise decision of emptying that account, so I moved all funds from that account linked to my visa card into another account. So I effectively cut of the bloodstream that rendered powerless, that bug of yours that want to keep feeding fat on my account.
This is basically why I have tagged this article, Taxify's Money Zapping Bug. The bug has actually refused that I delete my card from the taxify app, so I had to deactivate the card from the bank end so I can resume using my account again.
Well, the Taxify team has assured me that the money zapping bug has been tamed and no longer on the prowl. However, the next painful part is that I have now been subjected to the painful process of filling forms for all the multiple deductions and have been mandated to provide the following information; Name/Phone Number on your Taxify Account/Email Address/Bank/Account Name/Account Number/Amount Debited/Number of times charged, if I want a refund.
Quite frankly, I am yet to get this done after about a week or so of receiving that update from the team because it is simply a painful process and this is the kind of experience an average Nigerian customer is subjected to by various organisations.
If this had happened in Europe where Taxify originates from, I am sure they will not dare ask any customer to fill any form, rather, they will take the pain to identify the double deductions and refund riders or compensate them somehow.
Beyond just writing about the experience, I imagine for one that this might have happened to someone who barely trusts using his or her card online. Should that be the case, why should anyone blame such a person or Nigerians for actually being afraid of using their cards online? Any wonder why we have an abysmally low number of cards being used online.
If a brand like Taxify can deduct one's cash arbitrarily and subject him or her to searching out the deductions weeks after, then it is certainly a sad development indeed.
I think it's time we begin to sue service providers for various breaches and corporate misdemeanor and this to me is one of those. Until I decide how best to deal with this situation, I am simple thrilled that I have been delivered from Taxify's Money Zappying Bug!
CFA is the Founder, www.CFAtech.ng & Co-producer/Presenter,Tech Trends on Channels Television