Indian Consumer’s right–a tragedy!

disclaimer: i intend to fight and will do it alone, if necessary. But i shall share the fruit with you, only if its sweet.

Past few weeks have been a torment for me as a consumer. Self, a marketing professional in an MNC couldn’t comprehend the level to which many MNC’s has stooped, thanks to the loose regulations by our elected government. This post is an outrage against this atrocities in a democratic country.

My Culprit 1: Vodafone.
I am a loyal user of Vodafone from the day i joined my job in Chennai. It was by chance that Vodafone provided maximum network in the places i lived and hence lack of choice made me opt this telephone service provider. But from day one i have been facing multiple issues:

  1. In spite of an active DND service, i received spam messages from many retailers and real estate agents. When government started regulating the SMS marketing campaigns i had an outburst of joy, but again it was short in this democratically corrupt country. I still receive spam messages with my complaints in vain.
  2. I am supposed to receive my bills by post which has stopped since May, 2011. In spite of many repeated complaints i am yet to get a resolution. As of today, 6 months have passed without any resolution.
  3. Off-late, my calls are dropping, even with various cell-phones that i tried with, show full signal strength. Of-course this time i am not complaining as its an utter waste of time. 
  4. After each issue, i approach the call centre. Vodafone has a fully equipped Customer Support team at Okhla; their specialisation is in hanging calls or keeping your  call on prolonged hold. For reasons other than mine, if I attempt approaching customer support for more than a designated number, i am blocked for the next 14 (i guess) days to call Customer Support. Isn’t that a wonderful customer ‘support’?

So, i think of using the number portability option available for Indian consumers. After discussing with my friends i understand that it is another means to waste my time as Telecom service providers are racing against each other to provide shoddy service. A friend of mine has send over 50 emails to Airtel for a solution to his disappeared bills – you may please guess the response. My next culprit is also a classic example.

My Culprit 2: MTS
After much thought, i decide to dump my smart phone and opt for a netbook. As a gesture, Spice retail gives me the option of internet connectivity using MTS as the service provider. Since it was an offer and i was running short of time, i oblige to the salesperson. From then till date, i have never had internet access to my satisfaction. I always opted for the best plan with unlimited usage and highest speed which they provide – 3.1Mbps. Surprisingly, i have never experienced speed anywhere near 3.1 Mbps till date, but have definitely experienced speed equivalent to ‘zero’ almost always.

As a responsible consumer i call MTS Customer Support and request for a resolution. Their answer: “You have used more than few GB of data transfer, how can you say there is no speed?”. The idiot who never even noticed the time consumed in downloading the data was more of a pain in the ass than a solution provider. So i request him to connect me to his supervisor. After some half an hour of holding my call, it suddenly dawns on him that he doesn’t have a supervisor in the shift. He promises a call back from his supervisor and i receive a call the next day from an illiterate technician.

After my repeated attempts to explain the issues, i give up. I ask him to call me at night so that i can spare more time for him, which he plainly refuses. So we conclude on a mutually acceptable time as between 6 P.M. – 7 P.M. Till date, i have received numerous calls, none of them on the agreed time but on a carefully chosen time, when i am in a meeting or while travelling. Each call is followed by an SMS which says my issue has been resolved to my surprise.

I have lost hope and still use this darn solution, because i do not have an option. Its all the same at the other side of the river.

My Culprit 3:
Bluedart or DHL has been my courier choice for a long time. I understand that its human to err, hence, in spite of many mistakes and issues, i still use their services. Last month, i utilise their service for my organisation to deliver the products which we were launching in Bangalore. Thankfully, we received the product after around 7 days – they by mistake delivered the product at a different location. The error is understandable in spite of the embarrassment we went through. But what i cannot accept is that they took 7 days to recover it from the other organisation!

Meanwhile i was supposed to receive a credit card by Bluedart which they attempted to deliver at my home in office hours on 2nd of this month. They failed, obviously. After around 7 days, i call up Bluedart for my courier, they apologise for not calling me or attempting to deliver it in my office address which was also mentioned in the courier. So i reconcile and intimate that i will be waiting for them the next day till noon, at my home address. This was after i gave them an option of counter pick-up which they denied. The next day, i call them again to reconfirm the same and they deny having committed to get the courier delivered before noon.

I ask for the lady whom i spoke to and i was directed to 5 different girls who asks for my waybill number and expects me to patiently explain the issue again and again in the same call, that too after long holds. I lost my patience and played a dirty game. I called up Bluedart again and introduced myself as a journalist and explained that i have faced this issue and i am going to write about it in the newspaper. Simultaneously i shoot an email to their marketing mail id. Within minutes i receive calls from their end and bingo, my courier is delivered at the time and place i asked for, that too, with confirmation calls and follow up calls every few minutes. It as followed by two apology emails.

Why? Why do these MNC’s torment common man like me till i threaten a case or play foul? I blame this on the loose regulators (government organisations) who are busy in selling (and stealing) business opportunities but forgets to create a minimum set of service levels to operate/provide service. Countries like US and UK provides free trial period for consumer electronics and in India, a broken down system under warranty needs months to get replaced. Yet you blame us consumers for buying goods from grey/black market; at least they provide us service and  resolve our issues on time.

Friends, i am a victim, so are many whom i know. So i have decided to fight by learning my (consumer) rights and ask for more if necessary. Do you dare to question this process is the question! What say folks?

PS: I hope i can publish this post on time, thanks to MTS data card my internet is running like a snail.

3 thoughts on “Indian Consumer’s right–a tragedy!

  1. I can write a book of my consumer fights …. Indian customer service is pathetic. I am with you totally … each time I have reached up to the CEO level to get resolutions. With Samsung I have totally given up… and in Chennai ? don’t even get me started on how pathetic customer care here is. Here the approach is “we are the king not you customer”. They lie through their teeth, give a damn till you escalate matters and giggle… thats the best part (I feel like One tight slap when they do that !) when you get angry at them… customer is the king is such a misnomer in India…

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