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.
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.