Howler, a fairly new event technology platform that offers a cashless experience at markets, festivals and concerts, has come under some strong criticism.
Howler CEO Shai Evian explains the system is meant to promote safety and convenience for both the patrons and event organisers.
However, the platform - used at events such as Ultra, Plett Rage, Rock on the Lawns in and the Cape Town Jazz Fest - has received some negative reviews online.
The cashless system sees the use of prepaid cards or wristbands in order to make transactions at events for foods, drinks, merchandise and more.
Some users have complained about the slow refund process, while others claim to have been overcharged at events without their knowledge.
Here's what Howler CEO Shai Evian had to say about some of the complaints:
Claim: Patrons don't get refunded for money left on their cards
The CEO says that if you've topped up online, then the money is automatically cashed out after the event. If you load money at the event then the money needs to be manually reversed online.
Claim: It takes too long to cash-out when money is refunded
He denies claims that it takes at least five days to have money refunded and says the standard waiting time is one or two working days.
There is a R5 cashout fee for having money refunded to your account, Evian adds.
We process 72 hours after the event.— Shai Evian, CEO - Howler
It's not in our interest to hold a customer's money and want to them to get the money back as soon as possible.— Shai Evian, CEO - Howler
Claim: Patrons can't verify if they are being overcharged
Eviam argues that Howler provides an increased level of transparency at events by showing users their remaining balance after each transaction.
He says bartenders and vendors can be held accountable for overcharging users if the matter is reported. He adds that partons must be mindful of their balances after every transaction.
After every transaction, the bartenders and vendors are trained to show the balance on the cards. If you have a dispute, we have a support desk that deals with transaction history.— Shai Evian, CEO - Howler
I don't believe people are being charged more on every transaction.— Shai Evian, CEO - Howler
Claim: The once-off cards are not user-friendly
The CEO has revealed that Howler is trialing a system where the same cards can be repeatedly used across various events with rolling balances. He says this may take several months to test.
You can't really use the money left from one event at another event. It's not user-friendly.— Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist
Claim: You can't get your money back after a two week period
Evian maintains that users can claim their money back even after a month has lapsed following the event if they follow the necessary procedure online.
Visit the Howler website to learn more.
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This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Howler CEO responds to complaints about the new cashless system used at events