Numaish visitors irked by cash-only payment at stalls
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Rachel Dammala
Hyderabad: Visitors to Numaish are irked by stall owners who are not willing to receive payments through card or digital modes. With no information that only cash would be accepted in stalls, and huge lines forming near the ATM, many have turned away, especially from the rides. The exhibition, which has a weekday average footfall of over 45,000 visitors, has been struggling with network jamming and signal issues.
"The signals were so bad that we could not locate a friend who was also inside for a long time. Somehow WhatsApp signals were better than our phone networks and managed to catch up after some tense minutes," said V. Harsha.
Syed Ikhtiyar was left red-faced when he and his family finished eating at a chaat outlet but could not pay the bill via his UPI.
"It was so frustrating. Unlike a product at a store that could be returned on non-payment, we had consumed food. My wife and I went around to adjacent stores offering to pay shopkeepers via card in exchange for cash. Fortunately, a visitor, a stranger, agreed to exchange cash because she had 'loaded up' after a similar nightmarish experience on her last outing," he told DC.
Diana Martin had trouble paying for her and her family's ticket at the only available UPI ticket counter. "We were in a long queue and the people behind us got restless as it took a lot of time looking for signals, borrowing hotspot from my uncles, and what not!" she sighed.
Ryna Putla said that the signals at the venue worked fine when she visited the Numaish in the second week of January but it was irritating on Sunday.
"I had to forgo what I took almost 40 minutes to select just because they would not accept cards and the network was down," she fumed, adding that her nephews had to go on only two of the many rides they wished because they had only that much cash.
"Not a single ride would accept a card or UPI payment. I saw many going away disappointed. This information that people at the rides accept only cash must be put up on some public domain and even on notice boards. Spotting an ATM will take time and the line is a big letdown," she said.
A crockery store owner from Uttar Pradesh, who did not wish to be named, said they were helpless in such a situation.
"Honestly, most of the customers are those who have been here before and are aware of this problem. This isn't new as this happened last year also. I believe the onus must be on them if they walk in to shop. We have to pay a certain percentage for every transaction, why would we want to miss out on that?" he attempted to reason. When asked about losing out on customers who can't pay via cash, he said it is a very minor group that walks away, most others will find ways to go ahead with the purchase.
Ashvin Margam, vice-president of All India Industrial Exhibition Society, who had assured to put in place facilities for a strong cellular network could not be reached.