Service value and consumer awareness


Laws

It was in class IXth Social Studies text book where I first read the existence of Consumer Protection Act, 1986. It made me feel powerful and vigilant about rights I held against every chocolate or pack of Lays I bought. I was so moved in those days that I even felt like complaining about the way the normal pack of Lays chips is filled with bare minimum chips.

I had so many experiences regarding Consumer rights that it provoked me to write a dedicated post for it.

My dad had several credit cards- American Express (Amex) being one of them. Amex people once sent us a mail that if we shop for more than Rs.50,000 within a specified period we will get a Gilli Pendant. We had already crossed that limit as we were busy shopping for my brother’s wedding. Three months passed on and I told Dad we have full rights to have information why hasn’t it been given to us yet. Dad called up Amex people and the helpdesk girl told us that the Gilli pendants are now out of stock and she can’t provide us with one. I mean shouldn’t they have calculated who all deserve to get it and proactively got pendants in store!!! Anyways, that call ended with me having a long face. Well now the real trauma began when one fine day our telephone went in graveyard and I was cut off from juicy gossips from my friends. The boring voice on the handset said the line was disconnected due to non payment of bill. We were quite stumped as all our utilities bills were automatically debited from Amex card. Again a call was made to Amex which started with various options being clicked through the mobile phone as per the automated voice’s orders. The Amex people told us sorry and promised to make the payments ASAP. Well ASAP meant two weeks and my dad lost all control and cancelled his Amex card and returned his torn card back to them. After a month we got a new statement quoting the pending annual charges- for what I don’t know. I wrote them a furious letter and warned to sue them for malpractices. Thank god afterwards they stopped harassing us.

March 2007 was pretty bad timing for us. I was entering into the new world out of dad’s nest and had to understand all the financial details and at the same time take care of my mum’s and my sanity when one sad afternoon a guy from ANZ Bank came to our doorstop and spoke to my mom quite brashly to return the bank’s pending amount and asked several times for Mr. Srivastava. My mom talked to him nicely and told him to have a seat and called me. I asked him about his identification card or credential which he had none. He told me we hadn’t paid last month’s payment and therefore he is there to collect and here I can tell he was speaking not in a good way! (if you know what I mean). I showed him copy of a letter I had sent to them two weeks back which clearly indicated that we will be closing the bank account as soon as we get the details of what all is outstanding as all bank papers were freezed in Dad’s lockers and we never knew the exact figure. My mom had tears in her eyes and she pitied her helplessness. I took half a look at her and half a look at my Dad’s photo on the chest and told that weird guy to call his manager and let me speak to him. God knows what all went through me at that call- I am a soft spoken person but that time I just scolded the manager and gave him a good one. I asked him how he dare send some stranger to my house knowing what emotional crisis we were going through. I told the manager to apologise to my mom who was harassed by the behaviour. He apologized to us and promised us he will support me in closing the bank account. I closed it within 3 days and paid the full and final amount.

Anyways that depressing time moved on and I came in Auckland. Being a veggie its quite tough to find choices dining out. It was a dull Friday evening and I wasn’t feeling like cooking so we decided to have a Domino’s pizza. We called the 0800 helpline and placed our order and went to the busy city street outlet to pick up. I stayed in the car as we couldn’t find a valid parking. Anyways to cut the long story short- we got two wrong pizzas from crazy Indian people who ran the outlet. They were very rude to us and didn’t replace our pizzas and told us we are now barred from ordering pizzas and gave us our dollars back!!! We were so angry-I could have almost slapped him hard across the face considering the fact I understood what he spoke in foul hindi to his colleagues in kitchen. I wrote to Domino’s and got an apology letter from them and also coupons for free pizzas.Click below to see their apology.

Domino\’s Apology letter

Incidentally few weeks back girl/boy/don’t know who- created a fake profile on Orkut and had my picture as main display pic and even in the albums. I don’t know who it was but a good friend of mine informed me about the profile id and I lodged a complaint with Google and had to even send them a copy of my passport to support my credentials- Two weeks afterwards the profile was deleted!

It is very important to voice out if services are not served in righteous manner. Trust me an accountable and ethical company will always love to listen negative points for enhancing their scope of improvement. If you go to café and don’t find coffee to your taste buds-tell them. If you don’t like the chips/cookies/ice cream you tasted- write to them…..but take action……we are paying for the service/goods and have full right on every dime spent on it. Especially when it involves Banks-voice your opinion-cry out loud for your rights……..the bank is always rich..and it makes us poorer…we have to speak and tell them we are the ones who are running their business.

You can click here to read about Complain filing procedure in a forum.

Guide

22 thoughts on “Service value and consumer awareness

  1. Pingback: Final List of Nominated Posts « Visceral Observations

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  3. the world is growing in terms of tech, comm, business, military, corruption, conspiracies, cold wars, security-breach….. now consumerism and its loopholes…… and inspired by you, a brave fight against it!
    it takes courage to open the apparently closed doors of so called customer-friendly services. well, i think i’ve learnt something here!🙂

  4. Have seen many posts preaching consumer protection, laws, measures, steps, what why how etc etc … but, sharing someones experience is the best way to do this and the most effective way too ,… read the complete post … loved it🙂

  5. @ Amit- you’re right-banks have goons in the name of COLLECTION OFFICERS..my bro has worked for Citicorp Maruti-citibank’s car load division and he told me gory stories about how bank treats people who failt to pay EMI cheques!!!!
    The Domino’s guys were rude and were behaving as if they were runnig Microsoft not Domino’s – very rude people…….we have filed an official complaint against them!

  6. @ Bharath- Yes fear of competition and rat race givesa win win situation to customers in terms of better prices and quality…but the customer needs to be vigilant about what he ges for every penny spent.

  7. @ macha- No don’t jump off the cliff..think about the village underneath it…… 😀 ..if you can do one thing for me-then just love your parents deeply and never direspect them–I will feel my share of daddy’s love is done!! Truly!

  8. Sorry to hear about your tough times. Yes, its very important for people to stand up for their rights. Till now I haven’t faced any such problems but who knows. Bad times strike without any warnings.
    It is really amazing to see Indians behaving badly with their own contrymen. I cannot understand what those Domino guys were trying to do?
    And yes, I have heard that banks do hire Goons to get back their money so its always good to ask for an ID.

  9. Yes, It’s very much essential for companies to makesure thier services are going good.. otherwise they will be either screwed by their consumers or they will be thrown out by it’s fast competitor.

  10. Oh my god… I’m sorry to know that you’ve been thro so much! Damn, compared to you, I’ve lead the life of a ignorant, selfish brute! Can I throw myself off a cliff? Please?
    I’ve never been very vigilant about these issues… I pay my bills on time and i’ve not got any problems so far.. But i know I’m not immune.. It’ll happen soon… Sigh… What a world we live in!😦
    And read the letter… hehehe… Wow!😀

  11. @ Abhinav- Ah tell me about it – I have had the same case with MTNL Broadband- it doesn’t works at all and they keep charging…………its a MESS….I tell you no point in complaining- get it removed and go for Reliance or Airtel…….

  12. I am becoming sane with time and 100% agreed with mehak’s of using the rights for bringing the thing on-track.

    I have broadband connection at my home which is not working from past 2 months and BSNL is shamlessly sending us monthly bill. This one inspires me to file a complaint in BSNL authorities. I will be back soon with the responses of BSNL to this blog comment’s section.

  13. Yes, one should always contact the people when they’re cheated or deprived of what the original order promises. Not a lot of people do that thinking that consumer courts take a long time.

    Online websites cheat customers many-a-times. And fake profiles is one of those things. There are websites which allow you to store data online and then delete that data without notification. You should always complain against them and get them to repay the damages done or else they would continue with their practices and harm many more people.

  14. Sorry to know about ur hard times. The bank and credit card ppl r the worst. I have also scolded my credit card company’s executive 1-2 times.
    Most ppl in India are too lazy or too “adjusting” to raise their voice against poor service. They dont want to fall into any “mess” But as u said its true we have the right to demand quality service and goods as we r paying for it.

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