Bigger The Company, Harder They Fall


Reliance Infocomm‘s latest stunt has fallen on it’s face and become the gaffe of the year. Ok, maybe gaffe of the month.

It activated ‘Ring-Back-Tone (RBT)’ for all customers without any prior intimation/permission. To my discerning musical ears, a nondescript song being played at 2.4 kbps-mono over a 1mm speaker is probably worse than Chinese water torture.

Reliance Infocomm is known to hire the creme-de-la-creme from the Management Institutes and instead of just being satisfied with being populated with white-feather cuckoos, it decided to heed to their ill-placed advice.

An attempt to cancel this burden requires terrific ingenuity, a crash course in anger-management and possible visits to the Psychiatrist. You may benefit from Vipassana meditation, as I did.

First you need to dial *333 and be on hold for quite a while. This is understandable, since the whole of India is currently attempting to do what I am too. When you do get through, the menu structure presents the next hurdle in reaching the customer care executive and get the job done. If you give up, you are welcome to re-join the end of the line. {read from the top of the article to this point again}.

When you do eventually get through, the customer care chap tells you ‘We were just experimenting’. You request them not to experiment with customers. Ask them to purchase some lab-rats instead. ‘Sir, its free. Why do object to it?’ You tell them to send some poison for free too. You will drink it. Once again, you request them to implicitly ask for permission.

Next you are given the instruction: send ‘NO ARBT’ to 51234. The words must be in caps. Immediately after send, you get a message saying ‘Insufficient balance’. This comes as a surprise. Message to 51234 (Reliance’s customer care) should be free. It isn’t.

You call them again. {read from the top of the article to this point again}. You get through customer care and ask them why pay for SMS to 51234? No satisfactory explanation. The customer care chap is quick to divert the conversation by asking ‘did you type a space between NO & ARBT?’ If you did, the he tells you that you shouldn’t have – and vice versa.

If you are still in control of yourself and tell him why didn’t he specify it correctly in the first place, he will give you a complaint number. My complaint number was 61995922 (that’s a lot of complaints). You are assured your problem will be sorted in 48 hours. If they take such long time to cancel, they could have taken at-least half that to seek your permission in the first place.

If Reliance is so cash starved that it has to stoop to the low levels that Bharti-Airtel invented, I guess we will have to re-put our faith in BSNL.

I also followed this up with a strongly worded message to [email protected]. I received an email the next day confirming that the service had been disabled for me. They also claimed that SMS to 51234 are free.


5 responses to “Bigger The Company, Harder They Fall”

  1. I completely agree, and I have personally gone thru the same damn experience myself, exactly as mentioned by Rajib. Reliance’s approach of changing the ring tone without any intimation/permission is so not done and completely cheap.

  2. Even I faced some issues with another service provider… And they keep calling me everyday and send me messages. Later I registered for DND.. and now i’m very happy.. My life is peaceful..

  3. Dear Mr. Rajib Ghosh,

    I possess a Mobile phone set Make – SIGMATEL (Dual SIM). Since last fortnight or so, SIM-1 of my mobile handset is only functioning.On operation of sim-2 the screen shows “INVALID SIM”. But on 2211.2009 seeing an ad I sent a message to 53232 to veryfy my IMEI No. of handset from both the SIM. Through both the SIM I received message – “This belongs to BRAND SIGMATELT33iMANIFACTURERYuceller Elektronik Dis Tic Ltd Sti Source: MSAI. I solicit your kind advicein this regards.With thanks.

    • Dear Mr. Bhattacharya,

      Sigmatel sells mobile phones with valid IMEI codes and this was indeed verified by you.
      If a SIM reports ‘Invalid SIM’, it can mean two things:
      1. The SIM slot is dead.
      2. The SIM is dead because either short-circuited or the cellphone operator deactivated your account

      You can very easily check for problem #1 by taking out the problematic SIM and placing the working SIM in that slot. i.e. assuming SIM-1 is working in SLOT-1 and SIM-2 is not working in SLOT-2, take out SIM-2 and place SIM-1 in SLOT-2 socket. If SIM-1 (working SIM) works in both SLOT-1 & SLOT-2, you will know that both the slots on the mobile phone are working and your phone is fine.

      You can diagnose if SIM-2 (non working SIM) to check for dead SIM or deactivated SIM by trying it out either in SLOT-1 or any other mobile phone.

      It is also possible that SIM-2 is not supported by your mobile phone. Sigmatel phones are Dual-Band phones and some mobile phone operators on India (the new ones) operate on Tri-Band frequency.

      HTH

  4. Dear Mr. Ghosh, Pl. read ” Through both the SIMs in place of “Through both the SIM I”. Yours’ D.M.B.

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