Unfair disconnection of services

Location/place: Bangalore

Name of company/service: Airtel


My name is Kalyan Rai. I had three Airtel postpaid connections, under account number 105-100464137. The first one was being used by me, the second by my mother and the third by my wife.

I had taken the 9845031032 number almost 11 years ago and post marriage, I got the 9880231032 number for my wife almost 9 years ago and more recently a few years ago, I got 9880301685 number for my mother. I had transferred my number to my company iSeva, in Bangalore during 2005-2006 for a few months while I was working there under the corporate scheme, but moved it back to my name once I left the company.

Now let me tell you my problem.

I usually make my payments though my HDFC netbanking account. In Feb 2012, for some unforeseen reason, I was unable to go through to net banking through the airtel website, it would display a “Page cannot be displayed error” .
This happened several times while trying to process the payment in Feb. I called up Airtel customer service and informed them of the same. I don’t recall the name of the person I spoke to, but this was between the 4th and 7th of Feb’12. The person I spoke to told me that they would send someone from the collection agency to collect the money, I agreed since they told me it would be done within 48 hours. But the person never came, although I received several calls over the month with the commitment that someone would come to collect the next day, but never happened.

The payment due date for March’12 was approaching, upon trying to pay through netbanking again, the same issue occurred. By this time, I was being harassed by a number of calls from Airtel telling me that the payment was overdue and I kept repeating my address so that they could come collect, but again this did not happen. Multiple calls were being made to my mother, telling her that the bill is overdue and she was understandably getting hassled.

I got into a couple of arguments with the guys calling up and asking for my address, committing they would send someone and not doing so. Finally, after disturbing my peace with multiple multiple calls for more than a month, a collection guy came on the 15th of March’12 to collect the money. His name was Satish, mobile number 918123394569. I paid him 7200 rupees in cash, upon which he gave me a receipt. Please find attached scanned copy of the receipt.

17th March’12 – Received a sms from Airtel saying that “As an one time exception the services on your airtel mobile have not been restricted, make the payment of 7224 immediately”
20th March’12 – SMS – Your airtel bill is overdue, make payment to continued services, Ignore if already paid”
21st March’12 – SMS – Your airtel bill of 7224 is overdue, make payment to continued services, Ignore if already paid”

On 21st Morning, my outgoing call facility was barred. I called and spoke to a Customer service agent who kept parroting the line “ your payment is due, Your payment is due”. It was like talking to a brick wall. I asked to speak to a supervisor and I think I spoke to a lady called Vijayashanthi who heard me out and was able to understand my problem. She restored the outgoing call facility. But in the meanwhile, my mother had to face a lot of difficulty since her outgoing was barred, she lives in a village near Udupi, she had no way of getting in touch with me. She was very upset and disturbed with the whole turn of events.

In the intermediate period, I received a call from a couple of very rude people who were downright threatening and accusing me of not paying!! A Mr Kishore R, mobile number 919741296684. This was the same person who called me and also falsely assured me after I gave him the receipt number that he would resolve this for me.

I also received a call during this time from a lady who confirmed that this was a problem with the collection agency and that airtel was sorry for the trouble I was put through and it would be resolved. I was lured into the false impression that airtel actually cares about its customers. I was to be proved wrong beyond rational belief!

I travelled to Mumbai on 5th April, late night and returned back on 10th April. I was using the phone in Mumbai for this duration. While in Mumbai, I again received 3 calls from Airtel asking for the payment, and each time I told them I had already paid and shared the receipt number.

Upon landing in Bangalore at 8.30 am on 10th April, I was trying to contact my wife who was still in Bombay with my child, that I had landed safely. I was unable to get through. I kept assuming that it was a problem with my blackberry phone and switched it on and off multiple times. I had to borrow a cell phone from a person on the road to speak to my wife who then told me that she had been trying to get through to me, but the message she got was “This phone number does not EXIST!!!!

Can you believe that????? All my three numbers, all of them the same message “this telephone number does not exist???”

I was unable to fathom how a Customer who has been with airtel for 11 years was treated in such a despicable manner? I would love to hear your explanation. It’s been 3 days now, I spoke to Mr Kishore who assured me he would again resolve this, but refused to pick up my phone calls after that.

I’m have all the sms’s sent to me by airtel, I have the copy of the receipt. I will be approaching consumer court and filing a case against airtel for harassment and unfair disconnection of services without notice.

But before that I thought I should let you know that you have some extremely incompetent people working with you. People who are not qualified to be associated with a brand like airtel. I was proud to be associated with Airtel, for 11 long years. I’m sure you know how fickle we customers are these days. Your company has been the only one with whom I’ve had such a long standing association with. But has been cut off most abruptly and in a manner most unbecoming of a “World Class Organization”!! Time for you to ponder

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