Photographs: Uttam Ghosh
Everyone loves to hate their mobile service providers. On January 4, we carried A Ganesh Nadar's account of his cellphone connection going from bad to worse while on tour and asked readers to share similar experiences with us. Here, R G Sridar from Bangalore tells his story:
I selected an Aircel corporate connection for my official purposes.
After 6-8 months of usage, I came to know that Aircel disconnects incoming and outgoing calls in the 30th minute, which came as a big surprise to me!
I asked Aircel whether they have the legal right to disconnect a call to my cellphone if it's longer than 30 minutes? They said smartly that this feature is meant for the benefit of users, so as to avoid being connected for a long period of time unknowingly!
I asked them immediately to remove this feature, as my business calls last more than 45 minutes and go up to even more than an hour sometimes. They said it can't be done for me alone as it's their 'switch' feature.
Finally, I wrote to them that this feature was giving me problems and also that legally, Aircel cannot disconnect calls. Also, no other service provider is following this practice. So I asked them again to remove it -- and as usual, I didn't get a reply after that!
Have you had a nasty cellphone service experience? Share your mobile woes with us. Write in to us at email@example.com (subject line: 'Mobile woes') and we'll feature your story, right here on rediff.com
'The online payment system was a mess'
Here is what reader Keshant Huria had to say:
A couple of months ago, I received a call from my wife on my office landline and she told me that my mobile phone was not working. I checked and to my surprise, it really wasn't. I immediately called my service provider Tata Indicom's customer care hotline and they told me that my connection had been temporarily disconnected because of non-payment of my bill for the last six months.
I was taken aback, and when I inquired further, they told me that I needed to submit my credit card statement of the last six months to the nearest Tata Indicom outlet (as I used to make payments online using my credit card). What stupidity it was! Who in the world carries credit card statements around with him/ her all the time? Nevertheless, I calmed down and called up the nodal office of Tata Indicom. To my surprise, I received more nasty feedback. The officer said that I had requested my bank not to make the payments and hence the bank had reversed them. I mean, look at the guts the nodal office had to make such an accusation and that too, regarding six months' payment.
With no clue what to do, I went to the nearest Tata Indicom office and I was told that my number (and in fact, all other numbers which had made payments on that particular date using a credit card) had been blocked. The executive, though, understood my concern and immediately processed a request to activate my number. Still, they requested that I submit my credit card statement by evening or else the service would be barred again. This was at 11 am and by 12 pm, I had deposited my statements but my number was still not activated. I kept going back to the office every hour, but the only response I could get was that my request had been processed and that now it was up to the back office to do their job. Again, I was helpless and could do nothing. Finally, after a lot of follow-ups and at least 20 phone calls and another 10 rounds to the Tata Indicom outlet, my phone was activated by 8 pm in the evening.
All this happened because Tata Indicom had some problems with regards to the online payments made using the credit card. What a mess! On one side they are promoting electronic payments in order to make things faster and simpler and then they make the same things inconvenient for the customer. After this experience, I have never made any payment online, as I don't have the energy to waste my precious time in useless activities like this.
'Phone didn't work at home, they said go out to make calls!'
And finally, here is Leslie Almeida's experience:
I had bought the MTNL Garuda mobile service's CDMA phone, brought for Rs 2,500. The handset was of very bad quality -- the battery life was very poor, the instrument kept getting hot and there were frequent breakdowns in the signal while talking. I would not get the signal at home, but after many complaints and RTI applications, the problem was not resolved.
Finally they came to the conclusion that there was no tower near my house and the nearest one was some distance away, hence there was no signal. One MTNL official had the audacity to tell me to go out and make my calls! I could receive the signal only half a kilometre from my home, so everytime I wanted to make a call, I had to go half a kilometre.
They further insisted that it was a mobile phone so I have to be mobile and that it is not a home phone. They said that for just one customer they cannot put up a tower and through RTI, I found out that a lot of subscribers were facing similar problems. They just don't care as it is a Government concern. Everytime i went to the MTNL office they gave me a new handset -- a total of four in one year. Who cares, baap ka maal!
Finally, I discontinued my Garuda MTNL connection and asked them to take back their mobile. They refused, as the Garuda mobile cannot be used with any other network -- no SIM card fits in these mobile phones. But instead of rectifying the problem, they spend money putting ad after ad in the newspapers with the added incentive of a few freebies, thus cheating the public.