Everyone likes to game the systems. Who doesn’t want free stuff, money or discounted stuffs. Here are Top 10 Examples of How Indians Cheated the System.
Flipkart’s Free Shipping Below Minimum Purchase
On Flipkart, Free Shipping is available only for products above Rs. 300. sOtherwise one has pay Rs 30 for delivery charges. Now, one glitch with FlipKart that people found was that technically FlipKart never ships multiple products together. If one shopped a number of products of more than a total of Rs. 300, you were eligible to get free shipping, but products always arrived individually. Some people found a loophole in this concept. What they did was they ordered the necessary stuff that was below Rs. 300 and merged it with an unwanted order, so that the total amount in the cart exceeded Rs. 300. Now the thing to remember here was that the unwanted product should have been such that it would always be delivered after the 1stproduct arrived. So soon after the first product (below Rs. 300) is delivered, the second product was cancelled, so as to avail a free shipping for anything below Rs. 300. I am not entirely sure if this still works, but it used to a couple of years ago.
In 2013, when Paytm was launched in India, they offered free coupons on recharge of mobile phones online through credit cards at no extra charges. People eventually found out that even on a minimum recharge of Rs. 5 or Rs. 10, they received coupons of Rs 200 for online megastores such as Jabong, Myntra, Yebhi, Naaptol, etc. People started using this loophole to maximum and even went on to use this trick in combination with others they found later until the idea of coupons with recharge was dropped by Paytm.
E-Bay’s Free Coupons
In the early days of e-commerce in India, around 2009, E-Bay used to give coupons of Rs. 250 to everyone who created a new account, so one could buy anything on E-Bay that amounted less than Rs. 250 for free. Many people from around India made hundreds of mail ids and ordered stuff varying from notebooks to soaps and shampoo (mostly college students). They even went on to improve their modus operandi by buying personal domains and using Google apps to make unlimited number of mail ids. Soon e-Bay realized that people were gaming the system and got the ‘Minimum Purchase’ condition in the checkout.
Air India’s Free Ticket
Air India in 2011 offered Companion Free Scheme. As per the scheme, passengers buying first class or business class tickets or full fare economy class tickets were entitled to have one free ticket for their companion. But the airline’s Vigilance Department discovered serious irregularities and misuse of CFS while scrutinizing the data between October 2011 to April 2012 for tickets issued at Delhi Airport. What they found was that the main tickets were cancelled after issuance or use of CFS tickets, so many people had travelled across India for free.
Dhirubhai Ambani’s Silver Cheat
Early in the 1950s, officials in the treasury of the Arabian kingdom of Yemen noticed something unusual happening to their country’s currency. The main unit of money, a solid silver coincalled the Rial, was disappearing from their circulation. They traced the disappearing coins south to the trading port of Aden, which was a British colony and military bastion commanding the entrance to the Red Sea and southern approaches to the Suez Canal. Inquiries found that an Indian clerk named Dhirubhai Ambani, who was then barely into his 20s had an open order out in the marketplace of Aden for as many Rials as they were available. Ambani had noted that the value of the Rial’s silver content was higher than its exchange value against the British pound and other foreign currencies. So he set on his journey to begin buying Rials as much as he could get his hands on, melt them down and sell the silver ingots to bullion dealers in London. ‘The margins were small, but it was money for jam,’ Dhirubhai later reminisced. After three months he was stopped, but he made a few lakhs of rupees at that time.
Insurance on Rail Tickets
In Mumbai, there is a group that runs an ‘insurance’ service for ticket-less travel on local trains. There are millions of passengers that use Mumbai local trains every day and therefore the statistical chances of one being caught is very slim. How the systems works is like this, you have to pay a very small fee to the ‘insurance gang’ each month. This is only about 1/10th of the expense for a monthly railway pass. You never need to buy a ticket, but keep travelling as always on the trains. If you get caught, don’t argue and just pay the fine. Come back to your ‘agent’ with the fine receipt, hand it over to him and you will be reimbursed of you fine. Everyone wins except for the Indian Railways of course.
Reliance’s Minimal Bills
Back when Reliance introduced cheap CDMA mobile phones in the market, it enabled middle class Indians access to mobile communications and they became quite popular. At that time call rates were sky high, so only urgent or important calls were made. However, some people discovered a flaw in these phones or maybe the network. The trick was that while on a call if they removed the battery, the call never registered with the service provider and hence no balance was deducted from the account. It was an excellent discovery and led many to make calls for hours without worrying about the balance. Even after upgrading the systems, Reliance never traced back these tricksters to pay them their debt.
State Bank of India came up with a scheme to promote mobile banking among its customers. According to its advertisement excerpts;
Any funds transfer transaction of Rs.5000 /- and above through MBS will be eligible for the Cash Back.
The incentives proposed are as under:
a) Rs.5/- per funds transfer transaction of Rs.5,000/- or above
b) A quarterly bonus of Rs.100/- to the top 100 customers doing the maximum
number of transactions. This is subject to the condition that the customer
does more than 10 transactions for Rs.5,000/- or above in the quarter.
You can see the full advertisement here (Page on Sbi)
People found a loophole in this scheme. What happened was four guys (A, B, C and D) would sit down with their mobile phones. A would transfer 5000 to B, B would transfer that 5000 to C, C would transfer 5000 to D and D would transfer that 5000 back to A’s original account. After each cycle they are richer by Rs. 20. They kept doing this multiple times a day for a few days until the Bank realized the flaw and puts a check on it, but until then people managed to make a hefty sum out of this loophole.
The office of the President is merely a constitutional body with minimal to no powers. Only one very big lesser known power is called the Pocket Veto. As per the constitution, when a bill has been passed by the Parliament, it has to been signed by the President to become an act. The President has only two options, either to sign it or send it back to the house for revision. If the house passes it again (with or without revision), the President has to sign it and it becomes an act.
From 1982-1987, India’s President was Giani Zail Singh. In 1986, The Parliament passed a bill, The Indian Post Office (Amendment) Bill, which could have given unlimited power to the government to intercept postal messages and practice censorship. President Zail Singh did not like this encroachment upon the Rights of Indian citizen. So, since the Constitution had said, “He should sign the bill,” but did not specify a time frame to do it, he just sat on it for more than a year until his term ended. There was a lot of tension between his office and the Prime Minister’s office, but he never signed it. He exercised the Pocket Veto, the very first and last such incident.
When his presidency ended, the Government had changed, and the new President, Mr. Venkatraman sent back the bill for revision and Parliamentary revision left out the nasty bits this time. So we have to thank him as probably to this day, the government can’t read our personal correspondence (without prior cause).
Some cheaters all over India swindled Crores of rupees from a simple flaw that they found in the ATM systems. While withdrawing money from the ATM, if the person withdrawing money doesn’t take the money rolled out in few seconds, the ATM takes it back and the money is not deducted from the holder’s bank account. The technique some people used was taking out part of the currency notes the ATM throws up and letting the machine swallow the rest. Since the machine cannot count the retracted notes, some banks credit back the entire amount to the account. So if a customer withdrew Rs 10,000, takes Rs 9,000 and lets the machine retract Rs 1,000, banks recorded entire transaction as null and the entire Rs 10,000 remained in the account. Most ATMs were designed to retract the cash if the customer didn’t pull it out within 42 seconds. Kerala-based Federal Bank had lost Rs 75 lakh to a Punjab gang that attacked its ATMs across the country using this method. After this episode, ATMs across the country have been altered and these days the ATMs don’t retract the money that it throws out.