More cooking gas customers are opting for digital payment options for booking refills. They feel this does away with the need to keep ready cash in hand. This also becomes handy when the refills have to be delivered to the watchman or the building manager, while the customers are out.
“Customers are happy with or without tipping or the delivery boys. As far as they are concerned, they are done with the payment. Several young customers in urban areas are going for this option,” said a distributor.
Chittlapakkam resident Madhavan Venkatesan said he found it convenient to order and pay online. “The only thing is that we have to make the payment within 24 hours, thereby booking before the invoice is raised. Otherwise you will have to pay cash to the delivery person,” he said.
Sometimes consumers complain of payments being made, but the amount not being reflected on the bill. They then have to pay the delivery boy. Similarly, online payment is not free — there is a small fee for use of the payment gateway, which some consumers say should be waived, or be borne by the oil companies.
Indian Oil Corporation sources said that from last year’s 4%, online payments had increased to 5.1% of total bookings made. “Initially, the system had some glitches, but now those have been set right,” he said. There are a total of 60 lakh LPG consumers in the Chennai region of which IOC has 37,69,000, BPCL 11,15,000 and HPCL 10, 95,000 consumers.
Explaining the procedure for online payment, an official said that after booking the cylinder through IVRS, the customer would receive an SMS on his/her registered mobile number, with the link for online payment,