When Zomato Gold was initially rolled out in November 2017, it sold like hot cakes. In fact, the company had to alter the rules to make access to Zomato Gold 'invite only' due to its burgeoning popularity. According to Zomato Gold's rules and regulations, diners could avail 1+1 on food or 2+2 on drinks, which was essentially a royal steal for young working professionals. However last week, Zomato Gold pushed out an alteration to its Zomato Gold terms and conditions that has left all its users fuming.
As per their release regarding the alteration in the terms and conditions, Zomato said that starting Monday, there will be a change in the number of Gold unlocks on a table. For every two diners, only one Gold unlock will be allowed, and similar if there are three diners. If there is only one diner, then there cannot be any Gold unlocks. If there are four or five diners, then two unlocks will be allowed and so on and so forth. There is still no cap on the maximum number of unlocks allowed. The release also mentioned that if there are twenty diners then ten Gold can be unlocked.
Before this, if there were two diners, two Gold unlocks were allowed.
The latest change has not gone down well with Zomato Gold users, with most of them taking to Twitter to express their disapproval. Existing users are unhappy with the recent change, with some pointing out that changing conditions post subscription is unfair. Some pointed that out that while Zomato has the rights to change the policy, they should be changing it for new users as the existing ones had already paid up for a year.
@Zomato@ZomatoIN@zomatocare@zomato This is not done. You can not change conditions with which we have subscribed post subscription. You could have made it applicable to new users but not old users. If this is going to happen I don't won't my zomato gold ID. I'll ask for refund pic.twitter.com/HwZ9tDBddr- Deep sanghvi (@deep__sanghvi) September 9, 2018
@ZomatoGold@ZomatoIN@zomatocare While we respect your right to alter the T&C for Zomato Gold, at least honour the validity of our respective memberships before changing a policy MAJORLY. We trusted you and paid up front for a year. Don't betray the trust!#Zomato#ZomatoGold- Sahej Abrol (@GarlicAndWine) September 8, 2018
One Twitter user mentioned pointed out how unfair it is that Zomato firstly bombarded them with mails to invite other subscribers and grow the Zomato Gold network, and then suddenly changed the policy overnight.
From a customer point of view, this is as dickish as a move gets. First you advertise it and bombard everyone's mail asking them to refer their friends and grow the Zomato Gold network. Then, you change the rules overnight which is absolutely unethical- Akshay Nayak (@akshayt19nayak) September 15, 2018
Another user also pointed out how unfair it is that a single diner will not be able to use Zomato Gold on oneself, despite paying for the subscription.
@Zomato@ZomatoIN@zomatocare@deepigoyal new Zomato policy is really making me angry,if I alone want to go and eat,I cannot use my Zomato gold.I paid for it and still I cannot use it for myself alone.U people have cheated Ur customers.U owe us response. #zomatogoldcheater 👎 pic.twitter.com/VbZEOzJy5p- Yukta Aidasani (Priya Idnani) (@priyaidnani) September 11, 2018
Users have gone on to call the company 'cheater' and 'unethical'.
A Zomato spokesperson told BusinessToday.In that the change in policy does not affect 98.65% users - a number they arrived at based on usage patterns. The spokesperson also said that with this slight change they are now able to add a lot of popular restaurants. "The change in policy does not affect 98.65% members based on their usage patterns. Zomato Gold was only being used by everyone on a table, in very large groups - by a very small percentage of our users (<1.5%). Through the inclusion of a small clause limiting potential abuse, we are now able to add a large list of very popular partner restaurants where our users can avail benefits in addition to our current list of 4000+ partners," the spokesperson said.
As mentioned by Zomato, already twelve members have reached out to them for refunds. However, the company says that it is impossible to have a different set of terms and conditions for existing new users because of operational constraints. "Therefore, we have created a fair usage policy for existing users as well. We will respect their decision if they don't want to continue with Zomato Gold anymore, and will refund them on a pro-rata basis," the spokesperson said.