Sunday, 1st December, 2019

HDFC funds transfer within the bank failure

We regret to inform you that we could not complete your transaction. For more details, please contact your nearest HDFC Bank Branch, or our PhoneBanking service. You can also write to us at : https://leads.hdfcbank.com/applications/webforms/apply/HDFC_CustomerCenter/CustomerCenter.aspx

If you are getting the above error and unable to send money from one HDFC bank account to another HDFC bank account, then most likely the reason is because it is too late in the night so the transfer is not permitted.

I am not sure of the exact timing yet, but I have had this message appear in two separate occasions when I have tried to send money too late in the night, around 10 PM or later.

The solution is to do the money transfer next morning & it will work. From my experience, it does not matter whether its a working day or a holiday, it works in all days, just not in late nights.

When I find out the exact timings I will update this post.

Tuesday, 12th November, 2019

Kuwait international airport transit hotel

If you have more than a few hours of layover period between your connecting flights at the Kuwait international airport, then you are eligible & need to be transferred to a transit hotel within the compounds of the airport called Safir Airport Hotel. As per Kuwait law you are not allowed to wait at the airport more than a few hours, this is probably because the current terminal is too small to handle much people, they are building more huge terminals.

And if you don’t have visa to enter Kuwait then the only place you can be at is this hotel. I am not sure about other airlines, but if your connecting flight is on Kuwait Airways then this accommodation will be free for you.

How to go to this transit hotel

To get to this hotel, once you arrive at the airport, go to the Transfer Desk. If you arrived on the 1st level of the airport then take the escalator one level down & you will find this transfer desk on the ground level. This desk is BEFORE security clearance for next flight, some security personnel might assume you are there for your next immediate connecting flight & point you to walk towards the security line but you can tell them you have long layover & go to the transfer desk instead.

Share with them your onwards journey details or boarding pass if you have. They will give you a blue coloured Transit card & tell you which gate you have to go & wait. Then you will go through security clearance, and go to the gate number as told by the transfer desk staff, and wait there. Soon staff will appear there & take you to that hotel in a bus, with any other passengers if any.

You will submit this blue transit card, your passport & boarding pass to the front desk staff at the hotel. They will give you room key, a card against your passport & wifi code vouchers.

The food, breakfast, lunch, dinner will also be free for you if your accommodation was free, all paid by your airline, again I am not sure about other airlines but this is the case with Kuwait Airways.

You can roam around within the hotel, come down to the lobby level for food at the restaurant, they usually call when its time for food. The rooms are good & clean. If you ask politely they might be able to give you a room with an airport view, instead of the back side view which will be just other buildings.

The number to call the helpdesk is 0 from the phone in the room.

When it is time for your next flight they will call you, or you can call them beforehand to know when you can come down. They will again take you the airport in a bus or a small vehicle. You get a nice free tour of the airport on your way 🙂

There are a lots of negative comments about this place online, but we had a really relaxing time & the staff there which are mostly Indian were quite nice to us. We had a 22 hour layover & really appreciated the Kuwait government authorities who have made this provision, it was very helpful. I recommend it.

Sunday, 10th November, 2019

USB charging port on Kuwait Airways flight from Delhi to Geneva

Yes this flight has a USB C port in front of every seat, in the bottom of media player screen, to let you charge your mobile devices. But many of them have become loose with use so they might not work, you are better off carrying a power bank on your own.

Thursday, 7th November, 2019

Mobile charging points in trains of Switzerland

Power outlets in Switzerland trains

Switzerland has different types of trains, and I have travelled on several of them. All the trains I have been on had power sockets to charge your mobiles, laptops or any other electronic devices.

The sockets are of Type J and look like the picture above. They are positioned over the head of the seat so be careful while plugging in your power adapter as it might fall off if not plugged in properly.

Wednesday, 23rd October, 2019

Tourist visa to Qatar for Indians

Me & my wife have visited Qatar in October 2019. Indian tourists don’t need to apply for a visa to visit Qatar, we get Visa on Arrival stamp free of cost at the airport.

Documents Required

They will only ask for your return flight & accommodation details. Their official website says each traveller should have a debit or credit card in their name but they didn’t ask us any of our card details even though we had them ready.

Sometimes they might casually ask you your return date or how many days you’re going to stay just to double check.

MIA Park, Qatar

MIA park with beautiful views & spots for photos, just behind Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. A must visit in the evening.

Tuesday, 22nd October, 2019

How To See

How To See by Thich Nhat Hanh

Read this tiny book by Vietnamese buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Each page has just one or two paragraphs, but they are powerful stuff.

I can’t say I understood it completely. It needs to be read several times to fully comprehend & a lifetime to implement all the teachings.

Monday, 21st October, 2019

How to raise a chargeback dispute on a HDFC Bank Credit Card transaction and get your money back

So I had heard many horror stories in the past and it finally happened to me. After all these years of using a credit card I had finally been a victim of an online payment fraud using my HDFC Bank Business Regalia Credit Card. And I have been able to get my money back by following the official protocol & with the help of fine customer support team at HDFC Credit Card division. Below is the series of events that happened:

26th August 2019: I booked a hotel room in Doha, Qatar using the card from an online hotel booking agent Amoma.com

14th September 2019: Amoma.com emailed me, they said they are shutting down their business & my hotel booking might be cancelled by the hotel. They emailed me from a no-reply email address, and their website was shut down without any phone numbers or email address, so I did not have any method to contact them for any further questions.

16th September 2019: I emailed the hotel where I had booked the room. They replied same day that my booking was still valid. That assured me 100% & I didn’t have to worry about it any further.

5th October 2019: We landed in Qatar in a late night flight & reached the hotel in Doha with full confidence. They told me on the spot that my room booking was cancelled on 18th September 2019 because the agent Amoma.com did not pay them. Imagine my plight, in a foreign land, late at night, with my wife by the side, no room to stay!

I had to pay the hotel again a for the same room for the same number of days at a higher price. This was a clear case of fraud by Amoma.com, they took money from me but did not pay the hotel. Neither me nor the hotel was at fault.

6th October 2019: I emailed HDFC Bank’s credit card customer care at customerservices.cards@hdfcbank.com, with clearly describing all the events that happened, how I was victim of a fraud, and I asked for a charge back. They replied same day that my request has been forwarded to the concerned department & they will respond to me within 7 business days.

8th October 2019: I got email from their Credit Card Disputes division. They assured me that they have immediately initiated the necessary steps for investigation towards the disputed transaction intimated by me. And they asked me to provide 2 things urgently which will help hasten the investigation:

  • Copy of the order confirmation / agreement provided by the merchant confirming the date within which the goods / services were to be delivered.
  • Details of any written communication / documentary evidences which you had with the merchant in resolving the dispute.

So I replied to their email the same day within 3.5 hours. I provided them with specific facts & figures:

  • The date of transaction
  • The exact amount paid
  • Email from Amoma.com confirming the hotel booking
  • Email from Amoma.com mentioning the shutting down of their business
  • My inability to contact the merchant as there was no method of communication present & their website was closed
  • Email confirmation from the hotel itself of my booking still valid
  • Another email from the hotel to me confirming that I had to pay again to book the room because the agent had not paid them, so the booking was cancelled the first time. I had acquired this email by making a special request to the hotel management while I was staying there & explaining my problem.

I provided all these proof by converting the emails to PDFs, with proper naming & numbering the files in the order which I received them, so that it will be easier for them to understand.

11th October 2019: They replied saying a full fledged investigation was underway & they will reply to me within 7 working days.

21st October 2019: I waited for 7 working days, but did not receive any email. So I emailed them in the morning of 8th day. Upon not receiving any email reply till the evening I called credit card customer care phone number in the evening, and they informed me that the amount has already been refunded to me!

I logged into NetBanking account, checked the credit card charges & the disputed amount was indeed returned back to me on 15th October 2019. So they just did it silently. It was amazing! If you’re curious my amount was 27139 rupees.

So now you know how to raise a dispute on a payment done via credit card & initiate a charge back process. But fair warning: it will only work if it is a genuine case of non delivery of goods or services by a merchant despite your payment. Don’t try to game the bank, because you simply can not, you will fail.

Also the onus is on you to present your case to the customer care in a very clear & orderly manner which will make sense to them. So always save all kinds of proof of your online payments. Emails, physical bills, invoices, phone call recordings, everything helps. Scan them, make PDFs, attach them to the email.

Despite the payment being done more than a month ago they were still able to help me. So I learned banks can move mountains for their loyal customers who abide by their rules & pay their credit card dues in time. Protection from such fraudulent transactions is definitely one of the biggest reasons to use a credit card apart from other benefits such as cash backs.

Also note, during this period of investigation, I discovered that third party funds transfer facility was disabled on my bank account as an extra layer of security. So while I was able to receive money I was not able to send anyone any money. That was taken care of by one visit to my home branch & signing a fresh application form to re-enable third party fund transfer on my account. It only took 1 business day.

This entire experience has further increased my trust on HDFC bank, and their wonderful customer care team. I thank them & will continue to recommend their services to everyone.

Wednesday, 16th October, 2019

Qatar free tourist SIM card from India

Qatar sim card free

On our way to visit Doha, Qatar from Kochi International Airport we found 2 outlets providing Ooredoo 4G SIM cards absolutely free of cost. Ooredoo is one of the best mobile network providers of Qatar.

These outlets are near Gate 1 in the international departure area right after the Duty Free shopping section after you clear immigration & security.

Cost of SIM card Qatar

You just need to provide your passport & they will scan it & give you the SIM cards. There will not be much data or talk time balance on it. You will need to recharge it upon arriving at Hamad International Airport. There is a Ooredoo counter on the extreme right corner of the airport near bus stops. Its in the external areas of the airport which you reach only after getting your visa on arrival at the immigration counters and clearing security.

Free Ooredoo sim card from India

I recharged 30 Qatari Riyals on each SIM card. It came with 2 GB of data & 3 months validity which was perfect for our week long trip.

I am really thankful for this step by Qatar government or tourism department or any Indian authority whoever is responsible for providing this facility because I had read it was 30 Riyals just to buy one prepaid SIM card at Doha, not including any topups. So it saved me 60 Riyals for 2 cards which was awesome for a budget tourist like myself!

Tuesday, 15th October, 2019

Reloading HDFC Forex card using another person’s credit card

It will not work. You can reload your HDFC bank forex card online using a debit or credit card which is only in your name.

I tried loading 500 Qatari Riyal to a VISA Platinum ForexPlus Multi Currency Corporate Debit Card which is in my name by using my wife’s HDFC Regalia credit card. The amount was immediately taken away from wife’s credit card & was shown as a transaction item in the credit card account, but it did not show up in my forex card account.

Then on the 6th day the amount was reversed back to the credit card as the card holders were different, and we got SMS messages regarding the transaction failure.