Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rely on Reliance?

I have tried really hard not to crib, but today’s customer service call with Reliance really made me hot-headed and ready to cry (due to extreme frustration).

Read my story and you’ll know what I mean –

I work out of home (yes, I am a lucky b@$t@rd, I sleep most afternoons for an hour!). It means setting up a home office – basically a computer, a broad band connection and a land line telephone with STD and ISD enabled service. With the ‘vast’ choice of MTNL, VSNL and Reliance, I chose to go with Reliance. Before you wonder, my rationale was that, well, Anil and Mukesh have made millions out of their companies, obviously they must have loyal customers (not to mention that VSNL and MTNL never called back when I asked for these facilities!) So Reliance it was – their installation was admirable, within a day they had installed a modem and a phone line (Telephone calls are an important part of my business). They assured that the Internet services would be activated within 12 hours... and there begins my story of woes.

First the activation took 3 days, next, my broad band was Apple incompatible (I bought another laptop to solve the issue as Reliance refused to make their broadband services Apple friendly!) Then I got a bill for that month for Rs.29.7 and for Rs563.2, and I paid both without understanding which one was the right one. Several other billing issues followed, but I digress.

To cut a long story short, last month, I had to shift my phone line from one corner of the room to the other (as part of my redoing my room!) The Reliance guys were most cooperative, and did it in a day and said I would be charged 500 bucks for it. When I offered to pay it immediately, they said it would be reflected in my next bill and I should pay then. However, I paid my regular monthly bill for February within a couple of days of receiving it. (That is another story, how they send the bill and constantly harangue you as to when you would pay the bill, as if one would run away without paying it off!)

So yesterday, at 5.00 p.m., I couldn’t dial any STD number or ISD number. I called Reliance customer care to complain. Some nincompoop called Sanjay put me on hold for 3 minutes at a stretch to answer each of my 3 questions and then finally told me that I hadn’t paid my bill. I was close to losing my temper then and gave him details of my cheque payment. Again after 3 minutes of waiting he goes, “I am sorry, the system doesn’t reflect it. I have made the requisite changes and within 24 hours you would get your services back, but we shall do it ‘for you’ in a few hours maximum”.

So, still irritated, I held off until this morn when I realized nothing had happed ‘for me’. I called up R Care again to be greeted by silly Vijay who had the audacity to say that my STD/ISD wouldn’t be activated until I had paid the 500 bucks for the transfer of phone line. I completely lost it then, I yelled and raved and ranted at him and asked him to transfer me to his manager, who came on line after the exasperating reliance tune playing for 10 whole minutes. The manager said that I had paid the bill amount, but that wasn’t enough and that I had to pay the extra 500 bucks. I yelled at him too and said it was unfair, I hadn’t received a bill for the same, I wasn’t informed of it yesterday, when I could’ve dropped off the cheque last evening, (Reliance refused to send a person to collect the amount from home, when I suggested that) and that I had an important con call this evening at 5.00 p.m. (it is at 6.00 actually, and is REALLY important!) He then said ‘as a special case’ he would ensure that my phone line is reactivated by 5.00 this evening... and still didn’t seem to get what was wrong with his logic and acted AS IF he were doing a service to me. I hung up after adding that ‘I trusted him’ and I should’ve gone with an alternative service provider.

My backup? Trustworthy MTNL!!

I am still fuming over this lack of logic, insensitivity in dealing with a customer, inability to empathise with the customer’s problems, absurd billing system, incorrect English spoken by the customer representatives and finally, the need to ask for my address 20 times in a call that lasted 40 minutes.

Bah! Relying on Reliance is OUT.

Ps: Feeing better after the rant session... have you had any similar experiences?


  1. I HATE (bold, underline, font 500) reliance!!! ABSOLUTELY ABHOR THEM!!!!!!!!!

    so a yr ago, my boy moved to chennai and we decided after the first month of 10K bill each to move to a cheaper service provider..*&*^^$%^ reliance!!!
    it took me ages to get a connection coz they're all assholes and it then they kept sending arbit bills and despite me paying up everytime would say i haven't paid and would disconnect my outgoing!!!!
    i've had a hundred billion fights with their customer care, which u're right, can't speak english and cannot speak understandable hindi either and though my last interaction with them was a good 6 months ago, i'm still fuming at the agony i've gone through!!!
    i don't care about paying that extra couple of K but reliance i'm never going back to ever!!!!!!

    phew! ranted too....

  2. This one is an MTNL rant. Actually I find it funny now. I went to the MTNL customer care center to pay my bill and the lady at the counter there was rude to me before I could be rude to her. Totally proactive ! :-)

  3. I don't think my laptop likes it if I complain. Just wrote out a comment and it didn't get saved. :(

    You're completely justified in being so pissed off. I can go on and on about customer service in India. There are so many people involved, that I think it just makes it worse.

    Shall stop here and not crib...don't want to write out my comment a third time. :)

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  5. That's classic India for you and this is what happens when an economy switches to services from agriculture directly, bypassing the industry; thereby leading to a flurry of customers and a complete collapse of the system.

    In my opinion we should take these people to consumer court for negligence and that is how things will improve. America has an impeccable after sales service because out there these people know that they simply can't ignore their customers this easy. To tell you honestly i am also an escapist who simply rants about the inconvenience and doesn't do what should rightly be done.

    I hope your con call was made.

  6. o u poor thing!! my complete sympathies!!

  7. sweetie, I am short RCOM stock and BHARTI too.


  8. Thank you for all your messages. As an update, I kept calling them for three whole days thrice a day and then they set it right (phew!)

    But, yes I used the MTNL line for that day's call and the meeting went off very well indeed :)

    Still wary of Reliance though!

  9. ayyo..u have no idea it was just to even get a connection years back..a regular landline connection from BSNL had to be booked like decades back!!;-P

    On a serious note , even though we have lot of competitors in all sectors including telecom, it is sad that consumers are shown the middle finger always from service point of view..

  10. I feel bad for he guys who man the call center's... Its not his responsibility to go out and get things done but some how he has to bear the brunt of things... Sigh!!!
    (No I dont work at a call center..:-))