It is very common for companies to face the ire of its unhappy customers, with even biggest of brands and companies have to suffer from this ignominious fate. However, the situation can become little distressing for companies if the number of complaining customers keep growing in leaps and bounce. This apparently is what exactly happening with Nestaway, which offer homes and flats on a rental basis through its online platform.
Just type Nestaway on the Twitter search bar and you’ll come across a barrage of complaints against the online rental startup. While nowadays it is pretty common for customers to vent their frustrations on social media platforms, Nestaway’s tryst with unhappy customers seems to be on a mass scale.
Nestaway’s customers are basically complaining about two things; one is the non-payment of security deposit and other is leveling of hidden charges. According to unconfirmed reports, many of the angry customers have also dragged the Bengaluru based company to the consumer court. Furthermore, agitated customers have started online petition to secure public support against the company’s alleged malpractices. At the time of filing this story, 204 people have signed this online petition on Change.org.
One customer named Ayush Singhal said that he has vacated Nestaway property almost 2 months back but has failed to receive security deposit. Another tenant named Nausheen threatened to take legal action against the company, claiming that Nestaway was charging the rent even though she has paid the rent.
Here are some screenshots of complaints that Nestaway customers have posted on their Twitter accounts…
Nestaway’s response to the online backlash
Nestaway has resolutely defended the allegations, arguing that most of the allegations leveled by the customers are completely unfound and unjustified. The Bengaluru headquartered company has put forward three main points in its defense.
- There has been a dramatic rise in ‘move out cases’ in recent months due to Covid-19 crisis. It has resolved over 3000 move out cases where security deposit was pending.
- Customers complaining about hidden charges are actually crying foul over the payment leveled against them for property damage. The company claimed that the third party companies did inspection of the property damage.
- Refund of 95% tenants, who have moved out before June, has been processed.
- Security deposit of tenants living in the containment zone is still pending since inspection of property cannot be carried due to restriction of movements.
It is pretty clear that Covid-19 crises has not only clipped the wings but also brought the businesses of co-living startups to a grinding halt. If reports are to be believed then co-living startups like Nestaway and Zolostays have witnessed drastic drop in their occupancy rate during last 2-3 months, since most students and young working professionals have fled to their native places due to the lockdown period.
Before the lockdown, the co-living industry was expecting the demands from students and working professionals to grow at 5-7% but this has now completely slowed down.
One industry expert has claimed that the pandemic crisis might push the co-living industry to consolidation phase, with big companies buying out small & relatively unfounded startups
Another industry expert claimed that Nestaway and Zolostays should be able to endure the ongoing storm, since they are very well funded startups. However, their ability to overcome the crises will also largely depend on health of their balance sheet, the expert added.