More semi-random thoughts on the consumer services wave in Singapore

Had the pleasure of meeting Jeremy yesterday for a coffee finally. One of those people I would chat with over twitter but we had never met in really life. We chatted about the local startup scene, our tour of duty in Asia, politics and of course – consumer services. More info on Jeremy here –

Back to the consumer services thing – what I find fascinating is that essentially two girls with an idea and some money can start a consumer services company overnight. Which is cool but unfortunately what happens is that a service is now offered to the public before it is really ready. A blog or some website that is not selling anything doesn’t really factor here but if a service is selling something then it gets real. The customer expects it to work. Just heard about a local service yesterday, JFDI company, that woefully missed their scheduled delivery window with nary a phone call. Pretty much a fail on all levels for a company that has to show up on your doorstep at a specific time.

My own story about iCarsClub hints at a bigger issue which is a well funded company in some ways is no better in delivering their service that a not well funded company. Just look at the comment train for similar experiences to my own.

To summarize, I searched for and called up all the car owners (90+) as shown in the system and was unable to even book a car for just an hour (I had reduced my initial idea of booking for 6 hours down to just one hour to see the response).

Being utterly disappointed in the system, i promptly called up the hotline intending to withdraw my credit and but was simply met by an utter silence. No pickups and no return calls. I will be posting a formal complaint (claim) against the company for intentional fraud or otherwise to the small claims tribunal if there are no answers from the company in the coming week.

And imagine my surprise when I came upon news that the company has recently secured $10 million in Series A funding, with a purported 1,400 personal cars available for rental in Singapore, when in actual fact, reality depicts otherwise.

What I am still surprised about is no one in the local media seems to think it is worthwhile to follow up on funded companies to see how they are doing, how the consumer is fairing and a general update on the progress. Maybe there is no money or readership in this – I don’t know but I think there are people who want to hear about it. A product idea is brewing – but I don’t have the time. My take on iCarsClub is they care more about rapid expansion than about the quality of their service. To this day no one has responded to me about my experience or review. Huge customer service, social media fall in my opinion. If this was my service and someone wrote about it I would be chomping at the bit to respond and hopefully correct the perception. iCarsClub clearly doesn’t give a shit.

Recently tried Redmart and everything worked as planned. They did not have one item – I need to see if the refund processed on it.

This is the new thing I want to try ::

Feel free to leave comments about any experiences you had with local services.

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