Saturday, August 15, 2009


Net connection woes …

Airtel saga … extremely poor customer service

When I shifted to Bangalore, I needed a net connection for my home access … Airtel folks at Noida were very friendly, and gave me advice that rather than taking any new connection, get your connection (land line/ broadband) transferred – at no cost! It was a good deal – I connected with Bangalore Airtel folks … and the woes started … first, helpline puts you on hold of an average of 12 minutes by the time you reach their service person. Then they won’t have complete information … however, moving forward, I managed to get hold of people who would do the transfer – or rather new connection. The sales representative looked into the details, and said, the connection is possible, the infrastructure department will do the needful in laying the cables and the total time in getting things done would be about 3-5 days (acceptable, I thought). After 5 days, when I didn’t hear from anyone from Airtel – I tried reaching the sales guy – and man, he’s not picking the phone! … some how I actually managed to get hold of his boss … he too after initial few calls … refuse to pick the call … by the time already 15 days are over. Then one fine day, one guy from Airtel – infrastructure (out sourced) comes with some form having my name on it, and extended a wire from neighboring junction box (without neighbor’s permission) and did really a shabby job in laying the cable itself – something very temporary … after another 15 days of trying to reach to the sales exec and his boss – I (frustrated) decided to cancel the connection. Called up the helpline (after wait of exactly 14 mins) and requested for cancellation and refund (Rs 1000/ for wireless). I was given not only the date, but time (including seconds) by which my request would be serviced. Things were not as easy as I thought. I did receive a call from some CSA (customer service agent) – about why I would like to get the connection cancelled. Days passed on … and after about 10 days, I called again the helpline, waited for another 9 mins, and very politely gave the re-iterated the episode and gave the request number. The response I get is that it would be done by the respective sales executive. I got totally furious. My colleagues in office started staring me! I blasted the lady first asking why would the sales exec would be the responsible person – what in case that idiot quit in between … and my check war in favor of Airtel and not that executive … and I asked for escalation – another wait of 8 mins … and then again re-iteration of the stuff … and again similar response … I literally yelled at the CSA… somehow the call got disconnected … but that yelling probably helped to escalate things at least. As the coming weekend, I walked in to one of the service centers of Airtel and reported to manager directly. I was told that my check was ready and it would reach me in next 3 days. She was sorry for the delay – given that I had already cooled down by her messaging to her colleagues for the issue – I didn’t feel like asking what made it so late! Thankfully the check arrived in the said time… peace at last …

Mr Sunil Mittal - hope you are listening to your customers!

Reliance – heights of cheapness …

In the mean time, while I was looking for broadband option, I came across broadband data cards … there are only two options available (then and now even) – Reliance and Tata Indicom. I had tough time with connectivity with indicom (and it had really weird combination of tariffs), so I thought of trying reliance for a change. I found that the initial offers is coming from a third party (Business Partner) known as Vriti (H.O in Noida/NCR). Now Vriti had this scheme running as free holiday in Goa (hotel vouchers). This sounded exciting – and needless to say, I fell for it (another learning in life – don’t fall on these stupid free bees). Vriti carefully didn’t tell me any conditions on the holiday package (I’ll talk about it later). It simply handed over the instrument, and said the rest would be done by Reliance customer care. Surprisingly, it did get activated in fair time (though a little follow-up was done). Few days, and I realized the speed it is providing is no where near to normal broadband. I raised a complaint, which was promptly responded by technical executive (I can’t call them as engineer). He also concurred that the speed was drastically low. He called his folks (in Pune/Mumbai) who gave me following gyan – “please note that we are saying speed up to 3.1 mbps, and we didn’t mention anywhere the minimum speed. Further, this is NOT broadband, it’s data card (which has max speed of 114 kbps); Broadband+ is just a name of the product.” … this was not all … a few days later, I again receive a call from same department, stating that the max speed they can provide is about 700 kbps (please note that the product ads say 3.1 mbps) – and they don’t have any further comments. So far, I am using the stuff, with speed fluctuating between 100kbps to 1000kbps… but no time has it crossed 1.2 mbps.

Mr. Anil Ambani – that’s straight CHEATING with people.

Now, with Vriti, the gentlemen send me a pdf document – with details of when I can take their so called vacation/ hotel booking. Please have a look into dates/periods when offer is NOT valid:
15th Jan'09 - 15th Mar'09
01st Apr'09 - 30th Apr'09
05th Aug'09 - 17th Aug'09
28th Sep'09 - 14th Jan'10
All Bank Holidays
All Weekends

Let’s look into the validity periods
(I am assuming that the next year calendar would not be very different)
16th March – 31st March
1st May – 4th August
18th August – 27th September

Given that I can only take vacation after first bill is paid (that’s a condition I was told during the sale – on being asked) – which makes it starting Aug, I have only period of few days, that too – without weekends. You can very well imagine what went through my mind … I simply gave up – taking as learning from bad experience.

My faith on Reliance (and anything associated) has gone to all time low.

Amrikka aa ja. Edhar bola waisa aur time pe hota hai :) I think I m gonna have tuf time with all these ppl when I come back there :)
Sad to hear about your plight. I hope you have a decent connection, finally?

With Airtel, their helpdesk is manned by morons. The only way to get something done is to send an email to their Nodal Officer and keep escalating. Even then, the person calling you is usually a stuffed pigeon, but at least they TRY to help.

The id I have is Bhanu Narayan (

Baaki, I am on BSNL and their speed is excellent. Only when it goes down, u are bhagwan bharose. In last 3 years, it's gone down about 3 times only (but each time for 7-15 days). Again, escalate to GM is the only way to get help.

@Pappu: Welcome to India, dost. Kep LOTS of Rs.10 notes ready :) :)
A different experience here in Hyderabad.

I did the same thing as you, got a transfer done from Noida. Airtel guy came, performed the rites of address verification and took signatures. Then the technicians came, removed the old wiring in the house, put up new wires, gave me a new phone and modem (even though the ones in Noida didn't take back the old one) and it was up and running in a couple of days. Has been working smoothly ever since. Called up customer care only once, to switch to a different tariff plan and that too went OK.

Stay FAR FAR away from the data cards. Anything wireless is more or less certain to perform worse than the theoretical max and this is a cellular network we're talking about! The speed depends on the signal strength and infrastructure that the provider has put in place.
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