Last month I had tweeted that a senior High Court lawyer had called me from Delhi with regards to an unpaid Airtel broadband bill and demanded that I pay up in an hour else he would go ahead with proceedings in the Delhi High Court.
The call appeared dubious. The lawyer changed the amount I will have to pay as a ‘fine’ twice, ranging between 80,000 to 150,000 INR that too for a bill amount he claimed was approx Rs 5000. I told him that I don’t like this extortion attempt. The call ended with promises of going legal against me. (Wonder why Delhi when I am based in Mumbai and my Airtel connection was in Mumbai?).
I tweeted out from my account @annkur and Airtel promised to call me. And they did call me regarding the same, only to tell me that I should pay the amount they are asking (some 5,000) and the caller wasn’t ready to co-operate on the complaint I had raised with Airtel before disconnecting my connection. Airtel was in no mood to discuss the so called lawyer who called me and ignored my complaint about harassment / legal threats.
Back then I was travelling and couldn’t do much to record the call, however I got the opportunity today. So what happened today?
I was in office and I got a call from one Mr Samir Saxena who claimed to be ‘thana incharge’ of a police station in Delhi. I made a excuse of driving the car and offered to call back. I called back from a colleagues cell and recorded the call.
He (Samir Saxena) told me that Airtel’s lawyer was present with him and they have some magistrate order to register a FIR against me and start proceedings in 1 hour if I don’t visit an Airtel gallery and pay up the requested amount.
The supposedly police office talks about a fine of some Rs 65000 this time (funny right?) if I fail to comply. The person calling narrated my airtel account no, due amount as per them, address (shop no) and my full name. I asked to speak to my lawyer and call them back.
My friend advised me to lookup the police station and call their landline to confirm. As suspected there was no ‘thana incharge’ named Samir Saxena there.
During the second call from the same person, I informed them that the police station denied the said officers name and that infuriated the caller such that he went on to threaten me beyond limits with police action etc.
I have both the calls recorded. And sharing it with the community. There is lot of discussion there, my words would perhaps not convey the severeness of the situation, you should listen to both the recordings below.
Airtel has failed to responsibly assist my CS complaint. Failed to settle the bill even after agreeing last year. And are now harassing and threatening me such that we won’t even want criminals to be treated in a democracy like ours.
I am a graduate by education, have taken a course at Asian School of Cyber Law, have been a journalist / technology reporter / blogger since 5 years yet I was scared on both occasions. I still am. I can only imagine what would happen to a common man with such tactics by large cos.
I am happy to share both the phone numbers (last month and today) if required. I am also contemplating legal action against this caller and Airtel. Waiting for advice on that.
25 May, 2013 12:44AM – Note: I have posted an update here.
June 6, 2014 – For the ones asking what to do about it? Sadly – this is a widespread – industry wide practice today. I get such calls even today and I choose to ignore it. At times I take it as humour, but I ignore it for my peace of mind.