As kids we are taught not to cheat, steal or lie. Right throughout our schooling the same is imparted to us time and again. Even during examinations invigilators are always hovering about to dissuade anyone from cheating. Why is it then that once we grow up we forget these things? What does one do when companies start to cheat and steal from their customers? In case you are wondering then let me assure you that I am not alone for the company in question i.e. Airtel as a cursory search query in Google will show you – Airtel Cheats, Airtel Steals, Airtel Lies.
By the way, I’ve been a long-term customer of Airtel and even presently hold an Airtel mobile connection but that’s only because of the dearth of choice to customers (more on that later). Recently I decided to go in for Airtel’s unlimited internet for Rs. 98 (up to 2GB/30 days) and immediately realized nothing had changed from the time I had stopped being an Airtel customer (about a year back) till again I had to come back for their unlimited internet. As soon as I began using Airtel (again) and put in a request for their unlimited internet plan whoa Airtel billed me twice in the span of 10 days and at the end of it the internet never even worked. Only Airtel can bill a customer twice and yet not provide the service. It took me a couple of emails and calls to the customer care before anyone even admitted there was a problem thanks to the really bad customer service provided by Airtel. In particular I would like to mention a Mr. Shiva Shankar who works out of Splendid Towers near Begumpet who was abusive, rude and dismissive of a customer like me who had a genuine problem. In talking to Mr. Shiva Shankar it became very obvious that he was a manager who knew very little English and had even less in terms of PR skills or even the basic knowledge to answer any queries (and yes he was a manager at Airtel). Probably the recession that made Airtel offer very less salaries or maybe the mantra at Airtel to maximize profits, but either way the quality of people in employment at Airtel leaves a lot to be desired and a very sour taste in terms of the customer’s experience.
Finally after many emails and calls to Airtel’s customer service I got about 4 days worth of internet for what essentially should have been 60 days/4GB considering I was billed twice but what can one do when no one at Airtel even admits there is a problem. I really wish I had Mr. Sunil Mittal’s personal email or mobile number but really doubt if that would accomplish much either.
In case you are wondering why I’m still using Airtel well its because they are the only ones who have GPRS/EDGE working all over town. I have always been a smartphone user and a smartphone needs a data connection that works. I’ve tried others like Tata Docomo, Vodafone but none of them have seamless data coverage across town like Airtel does which is pretty much essential for my smartphone with its push email, LBS (location-based service), Google Maps Mobile, Nokia Ovi Maps with Voice Navigation and others alike not to mention internet browsing on the move. This is very similar to an AT&T user in the United States who has to pretty much live with AT&T’s bad coverage because they want to use the iPhone which is available only with AT&T. So its pretty much complain and rant, but still continue to use. So likewise, I complain and rant, but have to use Airtel as the others will cause the phone to hang, the app to hang/close, or worse still the mobile phone to reboot.
Hopefully, 3G or 4G will be better from the other mobile providers and I can finally chuck Airtel for good. Hopefully!!!!