Try being a senior citizen in this country! Just day to day living is made tough by the service provider. Make no mistake when I saw the ARPU for airtel going up, I was happy – I am a shareholder and my latest buy was at 276! So in this bad market it is making my portfolio look good.

However when a senior citizen showed me her phone – she had sms’s from the company …saying all kinds of nonsense and charging Rs. 30..IF SHE DID NOT REPLY.

She was told by her children to ignore sms from the service in a day they exhausted Rs. 120 from her account. I have chosen to write about Bharti Airtel because that is what was shown to me. I am sure other service providers – Mahanagar Gas for example charges Rs. 50 a month FOR A SERVICE THAT HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED (building is being broken down and reconstructed)..and the great RBI says in case of a standing instruction, ONLY MGNL can STOP it, not YOU the account holder.

Imagine the life of a 80 year old man or woman having to deal with these thugs. You cannot live without a phone, gas, electricity, ….we also pay one of the lowest rates in the world (arguably, in electricity we pay one of the highest!)..but these companies DO NOT CARE.

We need to start a very very strong consumer movement, and vote with our wallets. I have friends in Bharti Airtel, I hope some of them have the courtsey to call back, of I am going to Sunil Mittal with this crib. I never, never shout at the kids handling the call center – no use telling them. If nobody calls, it will SM who will get the complaint. Or the Telecom Minister. Makes sense, the EAR (for organisations too) is at the top, and it is close to the brain. Shouting at the toes or ankles is a waste of energy.

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  1. I fully agree. Airtel services have really gone down from earlier days. Even their Nodal 0fficers are dumb guys whoc do not understand the complaint in the first place, but solve them – of course to their satisfaction, not to the satisfaction of the customer.

    Will soon go to Consumer court with my experience.


  2. but I must add…she got an sms saying ‘VAS has been discontinued’…hope it helps. I had asked her to say marked to Sucheta…I hope she does not mind my names dropping! Of course the other name to use would have been Sunil Mittal!!

  3. Apt article Subra ! Let an old,Trembling Hand of any parent get Respect,Dignity,Care from each countrymen /Company /Reader of our blog.Most of them brought us up with challenging situations / cicumstances with most humble earnings ever imaginable !

  4. I was presented with inflated broadband bill for this month from Air-tel in the name of VAS which was supposed to be free.
    Mailed them but they refused to correct the bill.
    This is what I wrote to them again .

    I had received call from airtel representative to get these service
    activated and I was told that subscription to these service were was
    free of cost.
    For some months the services were indeed free of cost but suddenly I
    am being charged without any prior communication from Airtels, end.

    This is not acceptable to charge customer without informing him.
    However I have discountinuied the services and will be paying the full amount .

    This is unfair business practice and I would report this to online
    media if proper explanation is not given to me.
    I still expect that the disputed amount be reversed in next billing cycle.

  5. I had also probably ignored such a message from airtel and hence was charged Rs 30 for two months for cricket score, a game that I do not follow. Instead of arguing with them, I promptly closed the connection and switched to vodafone.

  6. I have so far called around 7-8 times for different people asking Airtel CC reason for activating VAS without consent from customer and charging them.

    I personally did for my number twice for they activated Hello Tunes without my knowledge.

  7. ALL companies in India operate on the 70/25/5 rule. Screw all customers. Most customers will protest. Ignore 70%. They will keep bleeding. 25% will follow up. Give them convoluted answers. They will also give up. The remaining 5% – settle. You still get to loot 95% of the customers.
    All because redressal mechanism is non-existent. And no diff between private and public sector, if anything private sector tends to be more sanctimonious.
    I am helping a 70 year old single lady whose Samsung A/c burnt down and almost burnt down the house. The company has the temerity to send a letter asking her to prove the fault was due to Samsung. Lets see what the consumer courts say.

  8. Suresh,

    use the electronic media. FB has a ‘I hate Samsung page’ – remember Korean and Chinese companies have a totalitarian regime at home, and they need not care about customer service. Talk on every forum, go to the consumer court, write to Moneylife (Sucheta Dalal), if she had insurance complain to the insurance company. It is not easy, but I sent a mail yesterday (Thursday) at 8am, issue got resolved at 10am. Will it always happen? Not sure, but should try..all the best!

  9. I registered to DND with BSNL last year, twice. But it was not propagated to National Do not call registry. Again i tried my luck last month, and then called Customer care. When I complained, the lady just told change the provider!!!

  10. Subra sir this problem is not only faced by senior citizens, but also the common people. Usually people ignore such deductions, as the money deducted is small amount for them. But nobody thinks such small deductions from large number of customers become a huge amount. It is definitely a BLACK MONEY.

    Last month Airtel deducted Rs.35 for VAS without any intimation, for which I never asked. I have a simple mobile, which don’t have browsing facility. Though I have got their message of deduction, Airtel CC doesn’t see any deduction in their database. Even though I asked to register my complaint & give complaint number, no reply has been made till now.

    The same kind of problem I faced 2 years back, for which I said to contact their registered office in that city. To recover the lost money, I incurred two times of that and a whole day.

    Now I am thinking to change service provider.

  11. Thanks to chortel services , i almost lost my advance money of Rs1000/-. Had to repeatedly follow up on calls and e-mail. Had written to everyone including nodal officer. They work like mini-govt. One department forwards the mail to another. Nothing happened till this friday sep 16, i recieved the money back through check. Maybe this blog is working. I hope it had the required effect on the people at top. Thanks to you and others. There should be a consumer awakening movement similar to Anti-corruption movement. Loot of public money either by govt or corp-orates is bad.

    On a side note, had read an article earlier, saying the best companies to invest are the companies you hate. Coz, you would hate cheaters and cheaters seem to flourishing in this markets.

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