Billing Issue with Bharti Airtel

30th September 2009, call from Airtel
Have to say that my mate in Airtel has really helped & the folks have been calling me to get my issue resolved.
In today’s call, the Airtel technical expert (a different one from the last call) again went through the data card & VPN possibility. When these were ruled out & he ascertained that I wasn’t a mobile novice, the only option left was that of a virus. Its very funny though that the virus was active only for those few days! They also told me that the Nokia N-series is particularly susceptible to viruses & they’ve had many issues earlier. But the fact that the virus caused the discrepancy can neither be verified nor ascertained. Nor can anything be done to check if the virus is still on the handset (I offered for them to have a look at my handset)! Nor can anything be done to avoid this in the future!!
So internally within Airtel, the technical guys have had their say. Must be a virus – not verifiable – but this is the only option they can think of. Now, its up to the business folks to make a decision on how to resolve the issue.
They better make a decision favorable to me continuing as their customer 🙂

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28th September 2009, calls from Airtel
Over the last 10 days, I’ve resorted to the one thing that always works in India – connections / influence – and there is already some progress. Have finally had Airtel technical folks calling me to resolve the issue. Initially they told me that the charge is coming off the data card usage. Though their systems mention that I have been enabled for data card usage, I don’t have a data card at all. So can’t blame it on the data card. Next, it was time for the corporate VPN connectivity to be blamed. Again a zilch was drawn – since I do not use their network to access my corporate network.
The fact that my itemised bill shows a 24×7 usage of the GPRS for a whole week does baffle them too. No answer or resolution yet. But someone is looking into it & I now have Airtel calling me to get this resolved. Progress indeed.

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21st September 2009, about 7pm
Three calls – all being put on hold in the process of getting a manager involved. Waiting for a manager Preeti to call me me back now.
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19th September 2009

I’ve started getting the credit limit notifications again from the Customer “Not” Care department – “Your usage till 15th’September is Rs.22297, which is nearing your credit limit of Rs 26700. The usage amount does not inclu..contd..”. Hopefully Airtel will wake up at least when the bill is not paid.
In parallel, I’ve started mailing folks at Airtel in the hope that someone will wake up. It feels like I, the customer, am trying hard to stay with a service provider who doesn’t seem to care if I stay with them or not.
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14th September 2009, about 12:00 pm, call from Airtel

Got a call from Airtel to check about my dissatisfaction (over their SMS query). When I explained the issue, heard yet another promise to get the issue resolved by the same evening.
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13th September 2009, about 07:00 pm, call to Airtel

Since I had not heard back, I call them back again. A new agent, but same old story & promises – I see an issue is open …… The only ray of hope was that this agent at least made a mention that my INR 23k bill was an anomaly in my billing history & he understood that anyone would be annoyed & worried about the issue. For the first time, I could sense empathy! I still made the agent make a note in their systems to disconnect my acount if the issue is not resolved by 14th Sep evening. Escalation was not feasible since there were no managers at that time of the day.

I also responded over SMS to a query about my satisfaction with the call. Obviously I responded about my dissatisfaction.
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13th September 2009, about 11:00 am, call to Airtel

Considering that Airtel’s applications were to come back online by the 11th, I called them back regarding my billing issue. Same old story – I see an issue is open since 28th Aug, sorry about not resolving it, we will resolve it within 24 hours, and will follow up with a call today itself.
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6th September 2009 (if I remember correctly)


As luck would have it, I locked myself out of my phone trying to enable a security feature. Since Airtel’s applications were down, they could not help me over a call. After 24 hrs though, an understanding agent pursued my case with their back office to get my issue resolved. Now this is the kind of service I have gotten used from Airtel (there was still a 24 hr blackout for me, but they had their constraints & eventually got the issue resolved).

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05th September 2009, about 2pm, call to Airtel

Since I did hear from Airtel, I call again & ask to be directed to the manager who had made the promises in the earlier call. I am told (by an escalation manager this time) that his shift is done & he has left for the day. Even worse, am told that their applications are down & I will need to call back only after the 11th Sep – thatz when the system will be back up again!
Mr Customer you are important to us, your satisfaction is my primary job responsibility – but, I don’t know who you are or what your problems are. I can’t help you now. Call after the 11th & I assure you that your problem will be sorted within 24 hrs. Yea ..right!

(Image referred to from www.cartoonstock.com)

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05th September 2009, 11:00 am, call from Airtel

Another floor manager calls me this time. Apologizes for not being able to resolve by the 1st Sep, but also reminds me that they tried calling me a few days ago. Obviously his system does’nt indicate the number of times I have called them to pursue & give whatever information they need. He makes yet another promise to get this resolved through highest levels of escalation possible within a few hours.

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05th September 2009, 10:40 am, call to Airtel
I place yet another call to Airtel to find out progress. They apologize for not being able to resolve the issue which they had promised to resolve by the 1st Sep. When escalated, am told that the floor manager is out of the office & will call back after half hour. After being pushed to escalate to someone who can attend to the issue, am put on to the team lead – who hangs up on me! And all this when I am talking to them in an absolutely unagitated manner.
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03rd September 2009, 10:30pm
Lo & behold – no resolution yet!!! I reckon I have the right to start getting annoyed now. And tonight I have yet another reason to be more than annoyed with Airtel.
For long I had opted for an unlimited data plan (worth about 600 bucks a month). But sometime in the last few months (have to check bills to figure out exactly when), I was shifted to a limited data plan – without my permission. When I checked on the reason for the change, I was told that the unlimited plan has been discontinued & therefore I have been shifted to the next appropriate plan. In a discussion with colleagues today I find out that the unlimited data plan is still available! I think I am being conned!!

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03rd September 2009, approx 9:30am, call from Airtel
Received a call from a lady. Conversation started again by asking me what the issue was. Patiently I explained the problem all over again & also mentioned at my rising displeasure about having to explain the issue so many times to so many different people. I am given a commitment again that the issue would be resolved by the day end.

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03rd September 2009, approx 8:30am, call to Airtel
Called up the Airtel help desk again this morning. Had to explain the problem all over again to an agent, who again promised that someone will get in touch with me to resolve the issue within 24 hrs.
This time, I ask for an escalation & am promptly put on to the floor manager (Mustafa). Explained the problem one more time to the floor manager. Am informed that that there were 3 attempts to call me (funnily no missed calls on my phone) yesterday (2nd Sep – which is a day after the promised resolution date). A new reference number is generated for me (F552125207) & another commitment to resolve the issue within 24 hrs!
I have been using Airtel services since the time I started using a mobile phone & have been a satisfied customer till date. I even own Airtel shares & hope they do well. I also hope they do not give me a reason to shift out with this issue!

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31st August 2009, call from Airtel
On this call, I am asked – What seems to be the issue? After repeating the issue, I am told that they will check & resolve the issue within 24 hours. Keeping my fingers crossed.

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28th August 2009, call to Airtel
Over a call to the Airtel call center, I raise a complaint about my extra-ordinary bill. While the complaint was noted & a unique number generated (28260325), I asked them for the details of the GPRS plan that I have been changed on to. I am told that I have to mail a separate department for details. The email id is courteously given though. Am told the issue will be resolved by the 1st Sep 2009.

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28th August 2009, via Twitter
Shubhadeep Bhavanishankar I usually talk up a 2k mobile bill. 2day I recd 36 pg bill for 23k! Apparently I was on GPRS 192hrs at a stretch. #Airtel better sort soon!

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