Friday, August 3, 2012

Broadband cheating and fraud in India

Internet usage in India has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years and is growing at a rapid pace. India is already the third ranked country in the world, with an estimated 121 million Internet users accounting for over 5% of the total Internet usage in the world.

With this Internet boom, came the Internet companies and with them came the great Indian broadband fraud. The 2G Spectrum Scam shows how they acquired licenses at a throw away price; stripping the exchequer of 1.76 lakh crore rupees. This was admitted by the Chairman of the Tata Group Ratan Tata who admitted that his company had made a profit of 20,000 crores; but it was only a hypothetical one.

Having scammed their country these companies have taken the scamming business more seriously, now they are scamming and cheating their customers; the Internet users. One look at the consumers forums, like Consumer Court Forum, Consumer Complaints, Complaints Board India, GrahakSeva and others show that Broadband complaints are there; right at the top.

The most common complaints are – not giving the promised connectivity and speed, wrong billing, billing after disconnection, no service or lack of service and mysteriously disappearing balance.

The key to their operations is “maximum profit at minimal cost”. The nerve center of their operations is the Call Center. The most common thing you are going to hear while giving a complaint is “our service engineers” will attend to your complaint within 24 hours. I don’t know if someone has seen a person remotely resembling a ‘service engineer” or even a skilled worker. What you see is some guy with a pliers and screwdriver in his hands. This is the chap who is your “service engineer”. Right from the installation till the disconnection, this and others like him are what you will see.

The chaps at the call centers are I suspect overworked and hence prone to making mistakes in billing and other services

This is the secret of their motto “maximum profit at minimal cost”; everything is given on contract basis. There is no dedicated service or even an effort to do so. They count on the antiquated and toothless Indian consumer laws which prevent the consumers from taking them to the cleaners.

I would advise you to post your complaints on the consumer forums and in case their public relations guys do not respond, make the thread sticky, by posting comments and asking your friends to do so; this is the only option you have.

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