Sunday, July 24, 2011

Crystalline Nostalgia...

The year, was 1991.

A warm Saturday afternoon. Too hot to play outside.

A 10 year old boy walked into his friends home. The home that held the keys to a whole new magical world for him. These were the days when the boy had just heard phrases that seemed to send his classmates into raptures. Phrases like WWF, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the like.

Yes, this was the time when the boy only had Doordarshan in his house and had only heard stories about this magical thing called 'Cable TV', a veritable rabbit hole that led into a delightful wonderland.

And today he was going to experience it, first hand. He could barely hold back his excitement and while people were talking around him, he felt in a different zone all together. Every few seconds he would steal a quick glance at the TV in the living room. Looked just like the TV at his own house, except for a thick wire snaking in from the window. Finally, it happened. The kids settled down and the friend turned around and said, "There's this fun show we watch on Saturdays. Let's see it now."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was when I watched Crystal Maze for the first time. And boy, was it fun!

People rolling all over, climbing walls, running from one zone to another, cheering on, doing puzzles, solving mysteries!!! What else could be more entertaining? Of course, I didn't understand it too much initially. It was too much of an overload (I was used to Doordarshan guys)for my innocent little brain. But I really enjoyed it.

AK put up a post of Facebook with a link to the Crystal Maze. And it just brought back memories of all those wonderful wonderful summer days when we used to just prance around and have so much fun. The card games (court piece)with family (my granny always used to win), waiting for the sun to go down a bit so that we could rush out like prisoners who suddenly discover that the jailer had accidentally left the doors unlocked!

Ah, good good days. Good to remember them.

And now there is another black crystal that holds a certain significance :)


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Is this the season to piss me off?

I am so pissed off.

No, I really am.

It seems that all so called 'Services' companies have decided that first they will provide me with atrocious services, and as if that was not enough, would proceed to try to cheat me as well!

First it was Airtel DTH TV services. They provided horrible service and after multiple useless interactions with their customer service I wrote this email to them on 6th April:

My name is Swapnil Bhatnagar (customer ID: 3000519148) and I have been a customer of Airtel TV for the last few months.

And I am extremely disappointed with the service that I have received.

i. Two weeks ago I had raised a service request to enable the Fox Crime channel. After requesting twice I was finally informed that the angle of the dish will have to be changed.

ii. After waiting for another week a couple of service engineers came to change the angle

iii. After changing the angle they asked for ‘service charge’

iv. When I had spoken to the call center they had specifically informed me that this is a regular service that is being done for all customers and there will be no charges for this

v. When I told them this, they asked me for ‘tea-coffee money’ instead. Now I’ve heard of postmen and other civil servants asking for bakshish, but has Airtel really gone so far down the drain that a private company’s employees will first try to fleece customer with an imaginary ‘service charge’ and having failed on that, beg for a tip?

vi. The worst part is that half the channels are not coming clearly on the TV since the angle was changed – I was told that this will automatically improve after 45 minutes. It’s been 2 days and nothing has happened. I think this is ‘payback’ for not having paid them ‘tea-coffee money’, and I really resent this pathetic, unprofessional behaviour

Please solve this issue by this weekend or else disconnect this ridiculous TV from my place. Frankly, I’d prefer the local cable guy rather than this kind of unprofessional, money-fleecing service. I also want an extension of the service for a week in lieu of the lack of clear channels I have been getting since those two so called service engineers came.

Fairly harsh, eh? Would a service that depends on customers take this seriously? Of course!

So I received four phone calls from different people and after a lot of hullabaloo, nothing happened.

So I wrote this on 23rd April:


You guys are just unbelievable.

After this complaint I got 4 different calls from different people all asking me for details and promising me the world in terms of quick resolution of issues. One gentleman even convinced me to recharge my TV with 200 Rs!

And in the end your so called 'service' performed exactly as I expected. Nothing happened. No one sent engineers to solve the problem. No one took the people who asked me for a bribe to task. And I also got an sms saying that my complaint has been resolved!! It has definitely not been resolved. Absolutely useless services and grievance re-dressal wing.

I really don't want to get into an argument with you any further. It would just be a matter of banging my head against a wall. Please do the following and we will part ways without any friction:

1. Treat this email as a cancellation request. I am moving to another service and I want the useless Airtel TV box out of my house ASAP. Please do this fast and also provide me with the correct refund
2. I am cancelling the service - move me away from your sms/marketing lists. I don't want any of your smses in my phone from now on. I will never take another service from you and will actively stop other people from doing the same.
3. Refund the 200 rs recharge that I did based on discussion with your nodal officer. This was the last recharge I did based on the faith that the complaint will be addressed

Quick word of advice, this kind of service will not make you successful in this business. Treating customer complaints with such disdain is the first step in the collapse of your business.

I really don't want to interact with your useless complaint handlers, so please do the above immediately.

-Swapnil Bhatnagar

Harsher, right? Action? None. Basically, it seems to me that they're just trying to cheat me out of the refund due to me when the set top box is removed.

Anyway, I've just sent them an email telling them to remove the box and pay up by tomorrow or I'll go to the consumer court, and by God I will!

In the meantime, does anyone know Sunil Bharti Mittal's email id? I want to forward this email chain to him.

And to add to this frustration, the next company trying to fleece me is the Tata Motors services station (Prerana Motors, Hosur Road)where I get my Palio serviced.

I gave my car for service yesterday, and was given an estimate of, lets say 'X'. Now, just to put into perspective, X is quite close to the monthly rent I give.
And today, I had to call them up to follow up on my car and they casually told me that they won't be able to give my car today, and oh, by the way, the service will cost me 1.5 times X!!

Now, because I was given an estimate of X I had asked them to replace some parts in the car. If I had known about 1.5 X I may have postponed it as I do not want to invest so much money on my (now) old car!

Does anyone have the Tata Motors CEO's email id? I really want to send him an official complaint. Please help!