Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Vodafone: it gets worse

I call Vodafone's Bombay Nodal Office about my recharge problem. A five minute wait, while a recorded message assures me my call is important. Then, a gentleman named Sushil comes on.
Me: Hello, I recharged for 1000 rupees and got only 7 rupees talktime plus a 3G data plan I don’t want.
Sushil: We have not received payment from you.
Me: But I got a message from Vodafone confirming the recharge.
Sushil: Could you check your bank account to see if any money has been deducted?
Me: OK, hold on. (I quickly sign on to my Netbanking account) Yes, 1000 rupees was deducted yesterday.
Sushil: I request you to send us a scan of the bank statement.
Me: I’ll do no such thing. I’m confirming that the money’s been deducted and I have a message saying you have received the money. I can forward that text if you want.
Sushil: It’s OK. Somebody will get in touch with you within 24 hours to solve your problem.

A few hours later I get a call from a Vodafone customer care executive. I explain the issue.
Executive: Sir, the 1000 rupee recharge comes with the 3G dataplan.
Me: But there was no information about that on the ATM screen when I recharged. I don’t want 3G and I don’t want any dataplan. I just want my talktime.
Executive: Sorry sir, but the 1000 rupee recharge comes with the data plan.
Me: I’ve recharged for years from the ATM, occasionally 1000 rupees at a time. If there was a change you should have informed customers about it. You send so many text messages otherwise, why not for this.
Executive: I’ll get back to you, sir.

He doesn’t get back. The next morning, I call the Nodal Officer’s number again. This time there’s a fifteen minute wait, after which Sushil comes on line. We have a long back and forth during which he keeps telling me I have no option but to accept the data plan. Frustrated, I ask for his senior.
Me: What’s your full name Sushil.
Sushil: Sushil Dhuriya.
Me: Put me through to your boss, Sushil Dhuriya.
Sushil: I can’t do that.
Me: The Vodafone website says there’s a Nodal Officer to whom complaints can be addressed. Her name is Zillah Vaz.
Sushil: The Nodal Officer does not deal with individual complaints.
Me: So if I want to complain that you have failed to solve my problem, there’s nobody I can talk to?
Sushil: No.

Apparently, Vodafone India plans to make money from 3G by forcing data plans down the throats of customers without their consent. I’m ready to jump to a different service provider, but I need to get my grand’s worth of talk first.

Meanwhile, some guys at the company have read my blog and are posting messages saying they want to help. I filled in the form as requested, now they want an alternative number because mine wasn't on when they called. Well, I switched it off because I attended a lecture yesterday afternoon. They obviously just tried at one time and then gave up.


Kuntal said...

Hi. I'm also really pissed off at the fact that now you simply can't talk to a customer service person without paying for it. On top of that is the way they behave when you do manage to get through to someone, as is evident from your post.
It gives them all kinds of license - most people will just give up and Vodaphone can coolly pocket the money that may be disputed.
I'm planning to shift to airtel. Wonder if they operate the same way ....
Have you considered putting this issue on facebook?If the company is responding to your blog then certainly the threat of being exposed on facebook may get them to behave.

Anonymous said...

I have had similar experiences with Airtel and Reliance Telecom. I had to fight a prolonged battle for my rights. I finally succeeded but be fore-warned that you are in for a long haul. And yes, BSNL is definitely better as I told the reliance executive who came up with a lucrative plan as a means of making up with us. I told him that even if BSNL rips me off it would be without the pretensions of being a great service provider.

Anonymous said...

Here's what you need to do to get back:

JKHoNa said...

Girish, these guys need a big time from Mumbaaikars. Wondering if we can setup a platform where troubled ones can approach and we can show VF, the Dirty Picture of their reputation.

JKHoNa said...

Airtel has been much a better experience if you prefer a postpaid. You get a web login where you can register a complaint and get a call back from them (within 72 hours and in hindi only). In VF, you have to call customer care, pay for the call, select english language and their executive is always speaking in hindi.

Anonymous said...

Guess what i was told for "contractual agreement" as grounds for port out rejection???

The Customer Agreement Form that i signed about 10 years ago to get the post paid SIM!!!

Will post updates on this saga here!!

Priya Rathore said...

Dear all

this is to bring to your notice that I am a regular user of the vodafone astro service where the call charges are rs 9 / Minute. Maximum discrepancies are fond in people who user this service. It is not a problem of the service at all, but the way it is billed to the customer.
We are charged for listening to the answering machine which says that' kripiya prateeksha kijiye. Aapka call hold par hai.' they take exactly 55 seconds for the announcement after which they transfer the call and not before that. Exactly 55 seconds

Pratik Karnik said...

Girish My name is Pratik i am facing same issue with Vodafone and the Sushil Guy. He is like the rudest and most inco-operative customer care executive ever. I want to know what you did ahead of it. I wanna do something about it man.

Girish Shahane said...

Pratik, unfortunately I couldn't find any way to respond aside from ranting on my blog. Hope you do better than I managed.