Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Airtel Hello Tune Fraud, Charged Rs. 120/- for Incoming Call, Refunded Rs. 114/- on Complaint

While reading this article, I remembered that a similar thing had happened to me in January 2007 Airtel bill.

I activated my airtel postpaid number in Oct 2006 and was very happy with the plan and the number.
I remember that when I didn't pay heed to Airtel's numerous sms's and few calls to activate Hello Tunes on my mobile number 9960XXXXXX, they activated a free hello tune (Airtel's own music) on their own. I didn't have any issue as i was not charged for that service.

But I specifically remember that I had got an "incoming" call (from a 10-digit airtel mobile number) on 31st Dec 2006. When I picked the call, I found it was an IVR call and some recorded message for hello tune was playing. As it was an incoming call, I didn't terminate it and continued listening. But after approx 5 mins I got bored and disconnected it.

I was shocked to find in my next bill, an additional charges of Rs. 120/- (see screenshot) just for listening to Airtel's prerecorded message.
This is wrong charge of Rs. 120/-

I immediately called 121 and told them that I never sent such sms's, to which the lady replied that I'd made the call to activate the hello tune (and that never activated because i'd not made the call in the first place :-)). I asked her to show the call entry in my itemised bill but she failed to do so. Yet, she insisted i had to pay the amount as she claimed their system never makes wrong billing. Infuriated, I then threatened her of disconnecting the mobile connection without any further payment, and voila she obliged and gave me a refund of Rs. 114/- (see screenshot). Even if that was Rs. 6 less, I thought it's better than disconnecting the connection.
This is the refund of Rs. 114/-
I wonder how many people have been charged for such "incoming calls" as most of the people don't even see their itemised bills.

Such malpractices are not limited to any one mobile operator. Be aware of your mobile operator.
I've more to write on such malpractices by mobile operators and DTH, bye for now.

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