Monday, February 06, 2012

My experiments with Air**l

I have been a faithful customer of Air**l for almost 7 years now (Hint: A R Rahman's tune). Initially, I used to pay up front and use their services later. I realized there was no point in lending them money, so moved to post-paid plan (now favour is theirs upon me). Although the cellular business is on the high and will always be in India, incident such as narrated below might just tell the story of the state of mobile telephony services in India.

Question: How to get rid of unwanted services forced upon us?
Answer: A long answer, really:
Since we are presently not in India, my wife's pre-paid telephone is mostly switched off. Some analysis software must be highlighting this data to their marketing wing. One fine day (by rare chance, on that day we were in India!), she received a nice SMS stating "We have enabled Hello Tune on your phone. We'll deduct Re 1 per day, starting today. To disable the tune, please call XXX-XXXX". Natural reaction was to call the number and get rid of the ghastly tune. Well, if it were so simple, it wouldn't be India. Obsessed with that particular number, we began calling it every now and then. After lunch, before tea, after saying good night and so on. The other side seemed to have blocked all the numbers "Call Can't be connected" was the only greeting it would offer me.

Days passed and the balance eroded at the rate of Re 1 per day (consider another million subscribers, so for the company it's gain of a million Rupess a day!). Finally, I had enough, and decided to take the bull head-on. Determined to stop this leak, we went to local office. The staff was considerably arrogant (what did you expect?) and offered only a telephone and suggested to make a call to the call center. After holding the receiver for a few minutes, I finally got a human on the other end. He was unable (or unwilling) to help because I had called from Maharashtra, while the phone connection belonged to Karnataka. I thought silly matter of 'roaming' should not prevent the provider itself from fixing my problem. Apparently not. I picked a little fight with the local staff, who dared me to switch service to another company (which they promised would be as bad as they were).

Tired of all this, I lifted the phone again, but this time to lodge a complaint against the local office (for not showing willingness to help). This time, the other human side seemed way too much attentive. She politely asked me what was the complaint about and what problem I had with the connection itself. After listening to this minor complaint about Hello Tune, she asked me to wait a few moments. When she returned, I had achieved my goal. In the next minute I received SMS that the "service" was now disabled (and the note had the customary thank you in the end).

What a hard-fought victory!


Nandan said...

They 'had' you at Hello :)

Ajit said...

Well said :)