Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Airtel - Ripping-Off Customers

I wrote few days back about some good changes that have happened in India due to the cell phone usage. After being in India for over one month I understood one more thing about cell phone providers – be very careful dealing with these providers or they will loot you.

Here is what happened to me. I bought a “Prepaid” 2 GB internet card for Rs 98 from Airtel valid for a month. I was told that I can use upto a maximum of 2 GB but with the speed they are providing, you cannot even use 300 MB in a month. I forgot the exact date I bought the “Prepaid” card. All I remembered was it was somewhere around 13th. I believed that once one month is over, my internet access will be disconnected as it was a prepaid internet card.

I had a balance of over Rs 150 of talk time in my account on Sunday and on Tuesday morning I realized it was reduced to Rs 6. I would have made calls for less than Rs 10 during those two days and could not figure out why the balance was so low. I called the Airtel customer service and what they told me left me in a state of shock. My “prepaid card” expired on Sunday night and for the next two days whenever I browsed, Airtel was taking money from my balance on the talk time! Doesn’t “Prepaid” means that particular service needs to be cut off once the balance is over? Is it a good business ethics to take money from the balance on my talk time without getting consent from me?

There are so many ways these mobile phone providers will rip you off. Every day the plan changes for all the cell phone providers. On the given day the customer is forced to take the plan available that day to get the full talk time. Most of these plans will be valid only for a fixed number of days. If you don’t make a lot of calls using cell phone, most of the time we may not be able to use it within those days and the remaining talk time goes unused. Why do the mobile companies change the plan every day? The answer is very simple – Confuse the people and make maximum profit.

Now from next time onwards I will be careful. I will make sure that this is the first and last time a cell phone provider is fooling me.

Do you have similar stories of mobile phone providers in India ripping you off? Please do share.
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9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahaha!! Welcome back home

July 13, 2010 1:48 PM  
Blogger Sriram said...

Ha ha ha. welcome back to india.

July 13, 2010 4:13 PM  
Anonymous shyam said...

You cant blame Airtel for forgetting the date of purchase. When the plan expires usage charges will be taken from available balance. That's how it should work.

"Doesn’t “Prepaid” means that particular service needs to be cut off once the balance is over?" --> No it doesn't. GPRS was active before during and after your purchase period. They didn't activate anything when you purchased the plan. There is actually nothing to "cut off". Should your mobile number be deleted if the talktime becomes zero?

"Is it a good business ethics to take money from the balance on my talk time without getting consent from me?" ---> If not, whenever you want to make a call or do whatever, you will first call Airtel and tell them "I am going to make a call, please cut the charges from my talktime". Is it convenient? I think for most people it is not.

"Now from next time onwards I will be careful. I will make sure that this is the first and last time a cell phone provider is fooling me." ---> Best of luck. Search through the various complaint forums.

"customer is forced to take the plan". -- Really?

Nothing is as bad as some services being activated automatically without asking. Once I got message that "friendfinder" service is activated and Rs5 is debited. When I contacted customer care, they asked "was Rs5 actually debited from your balance?". Will you be able to answer?

August 10, 2011 3:58 PM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

shyam

GPRS was active before during and after your purchase period.
I still remember first 3 weeks when I did not activate the net connection by paying Rs 98 I could not browse at all…It use to say no data plan…They can show me that same message after I have completed 1 month.

Should your mobile number be deleted if the talktime becomes zero?
But I cannot make a call once my talktime becomes zero, right? Same thing can be done for internet connection also.

If not, whenever you want to make a call or do whatever, you will first call Airtel and tell them "I am going to make a call, please cut the charges from my talktime". Is it convenient? I think for most people it is not.
what I am telling is that I have taken Rs 98/month plan for internet. When that one month is over please don’t give me that service. Don’t take the money from the talk time. If the talk time is zero, don’t these companies allow you to make a call? Same thing I am telling

Once I got message that "friendfinder" service is activated and Rs5 is debited.
Same thing happened to me. I argued with them and got the money back.

August 11, 2011 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a different experience with Airtel. Last month I had a message offer its validity was 15days I made recharge and forgot about it and I got a message within 8-10days that ur message offer will be expired tomorrow I got a doubt but couldn't do any thing as I dint remember the exact date of recharge and the nest day msg offer got expired.
So this month I made recharge for message offer with same validity on 1st of Aug nd this tym I remembered the date and exactly on 7th I got a message stating that ur message offer will expire tomorrow I was shocked and made a call to customer care they replied me saying that the message was sent by mistake and the message offer will last 15 days and it did last.
So this was a eye-opener for me.Many people are fooled this way also.So this might be happening with u also so keep a watch on recharges u make-hoping dis would help.

August 20, 2011 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more experience is that my Airtel radio used to get on automatically every other month and amount was debited whenever I made a call to customer care and inquired about it they replied saying you must have subscribed it unknowingly when u got call from Airtel.When I asked them how do I do that unknowingly my"DND"-do not disturb is on and I don't get any call from Airtel they never replied correctly.
At last I was fed up and shouted on them and told that this was the last time I am calling and if it happens again I will take a serious action and not keep quiet since then everything is fine.
so unknowingly ur amount might be debited and u might not take a notice of it so be careful.

August 20, 2011 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Shyam, IT IS COMPLETELY AIRTELS FAULT. Talk time recharge and monthly internet recharge of 2gb are two different plans, AND IT'S COMPLETELY CUSTOMER CHOICE TO DECIDE WHETHER THEY WANT TO CONTINUE USING INTERNET AT THE COST OF TALK TIME VALUE OR NOT. Airtel cannot take it's own liberty overlooking customers' choice.

I had around 50 mb left from 2gb recharge along with Rs 99 talk time, and in less than half an hour both were was gone. Rs 100 gives 1gb surfing, and with the download speed I get and frequency of download it takes me more than 10-15 days to utilize all download of 1 gb.

Therefore, rate of deduction from talk time is much higher than what customers have to pay in 2gb recharge. So, no customer will go for such a high rate option when he can use 2gb at just 145 rs for a month.

Airtel is certainly committing a fraud and a crime.

September 20, 2011 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Airtel is definitely committing fraud, something which in any civilized country could and would be stopped. I have had a pre-paid Airtel account for 4 months now, using it only for voice calls. No data service, no value-added-service. When I got my first message deducting Rs 5 for something or other, I didn't know what it was. I thought some small error had been made, and it was only 5 Rs. Then they started deducting it every day.

I called "customer service", and they told me I must have subscribed. I told them I only use the phone for voice calls, and have never subscribed to anything, and don't respond to text messages. After arguing back and forth, they "unsubscribed" me. By this time, they had deducted some Rs. 50 from me. Then a few days later, guess what? Apparently I had subscribed to some other b.s. "service". Same deal with customer service. A few days after that, another one. This time, I "unsubscribed" on the internet. A week goes by, and I get "subscribed" again to some language song service. Complete and utter b.s.! Has anyone done the numbers on this with their 150 million customers? I have, and I find that Airtel is making in the tens of millions of rupees every day via this fraud. Hundreds of crores a year. Add in the fraud they are likely perpetrating on people who actually subscribe to various services, and you can see where their "profits" come from.

This time, I am going to see a higher executive of Airtel. It's not so much that I can't afford a few rupees a day, but it feels(and is) like someone robbing me. Enough is enough!

April 25, 2012 1:06 PM  
Blogger Lavanya Sethi said...

I have recently bought an airtel 3G dongle and I have been harrased to the extreme point with pathetic speeds. At times it stops downloading and automatically disconnets thereafter refusing to connects for hours and sometimes even for a while day !!
Customer Care number: 1800 103 0405 is a bogus number. It doesn't work and after select options 1 (for airtel 3 dongle support), 2 (for english), 1 (for postpaid) it just disconnects.
I am fed up and with the services and will be taking appropriate action in a few days. Also it has billed me for 5000 + INR when my credit limit itself is lower than 2500 INR. and i find no justification to the billed amount!
Please, i urge all consumers not to subscribe to airtel 3G services!
I have even filed a complaint against them on their site as well as at Consumer Court site but so far no action has been taken on this case.

February 09, 2013 9:27 AM  

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