Monday, September 21, 2009

Airtel Sucks!

With all due respect to Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, who seems to be doing a phenomenal job with his enterprise and is being noted at the international stage as the noveau Indian enterprise, Airtel Sucks.

I own an Airtel connection. Now, lemme assure you that I don't make such claims of hatred towards any service provider without sufficient evidence or being sufficiently pissed of with the complaint redressals.

To cut a three-month-long, agonizingly morbid story short, lets come to the point. I have had this nightmare of a pre-paid service from Airtel for more than three months now and it has been such a horrible experience I can't explain. The very first problem started when I got my cell phone topped-up via my Citibank account and never got the around Rs. 100 of my talk time. After dueling with the CCEs (Crude-calling-executives who hardly know what they are talking about) for over three-weeks, I was able to gain my prized money back.

But probably someone took a vow at Airtel that they will make me pay for my own money. Then started a chain of incidences I can hardly understand.

The very next day, some really weird VAS (value added service), called Bhakti Alerts was activated for some really exorbitant price. Whoever invented it, it really served no purpose in my life which is nearly devoid of time between office, home and traveling. One more duel with Airtel Care where in they had a hard time understanding my problem, no matter what language, dialect or accent I tried my hand on. This time again, after some 6-7 battles, I was able to get my hard-earned money back.

While I basked in the celebration of my victory, someone somewhere was laughing at my naivety. In a couple of days, something strange happened yet again. I started observing that every call I made had a different tariff associated to it. A local charge could be charged any where between Rs. 0.60 to Rs. 1.50 and an STD had a range of prices that would make the price varsity of Wal-Mart look like a pan-shop.

I launched an Integrated-Communication-Campaign against Airtel wiz. complained via Customer care, e-mail, personally visiting the Airtel Gallery so many times that people there know me by my name etc. Till date, I have no idea what my actual tariff plan is. It is like a pawn shop where in each day, the money you could get for things you mortgage would vary.

Anyways, I had left any hope of any change after I made near to 30-calls to the customer care and religiously visited the Gallery like 3 times a week when I started getting calls from Airtel, each time with a different explanation as to why I was being charged strangely. Each idiot who called me never had read the complaint mail; neither did he ever note what I wanted to say.

Every call ended with a statement which was similar to, "Sir, I have understood your complaint, and sent it to my back office. Your problem will be positively solved within 48-hours." It is said that larger a planet, longer are hours. Probably Airtel works on Jupiter time because after getting 12+ such calls, and having to talk to every idiot for over 10 minutes, nothing has yet happened. Too much of whining for someone like me. So, I simply started to ignore the problem. The day I decided to be God and forgive them for any rate they charge me, the atrocities increased.

I was booked for a matrimonial alerts scheme at a price pre month which would take care of my monthly commuting to the office. No one in Customer Care knew why in happened. Then, an obscene caller tune was activated (oops, call it Hello Tune, else the idiots on the phone just don't follow). Again, a relatively large chunk of my talk time was deducted. Then, some bikini-alert was activated. I hardly know what it does except deducting Re.1 each day from my account.

Well, as if this was not enough, when I went to the regular visit to the Airtel Gallery, the gentleman there was hell bent on explaining me that it was a regular mistake that can happen to anyone. I have lost faith in the existence of decent business practices ever since.

Today, I pay one more visit to the Airtel Gallery. Probably they love me way too much not to see me in their premise every other day. This time, it would be for some stock alert that has been activated. My salary hardly allows me to maintain a savings account, let alone investments in the stock market.

Still, I believe I would have to (un-willingly) forgive them once again. It is so much into my nature you see...

P.S. If any of you want to suggest me to change my number or service, I have already contemplated it. You see my number is displayed on my visiting card. Can't change the damn thing. Moreover, we are not escapists, are we? I'd like to say to Airtel finally, (and of course unwillingly), "Jitney bhi tu karle sitam, hans-hans ke sahenge hum...”