Before I begin, I want to thank everyone who took time to tweet, share and comment on my previous post: [Audio] The Police Officer On Behalf Of Airtel – FIR, Threats etc
Your words and support has been my energy for the past two days. I really appreciate it. Here is an update from my end.
a) Airtel has contacted me with several calls since I posted the article along with the audio clips. I do believe that they have taken the matter seriously. Airtel has confirmed that they have cancelled the contract of the agency who was responsible for the unscrupulous call.
b) Airtel (@airtel_presence) tweeted to me today and said:
@annkur Hi! We once again apologise for the unethical behaviour by our vendors. We would like to inform you that we have discontinued the services of the agency in question for violation of Airtel’s code of conduct. Regards
However I noticed that they have been tweeting a slightly different version to everyone else:
@ishita_I_am “Airtel does not condone any harassing or unethical behaviour by any of its vendors or people. We have discontinued the services of the agency in question for violation of Airtel’s code of conduct.Airtel follows the standard industry practice of using the services of collection agencies only after duly following up for settlement of dues with the customer for a period of 90 to 120 days.”
You may have noticed that I haven’t spoken much about my original dispute with Airtel in my previous post, that was for the reason that I wanted to keep the focus on their recovery tactics. However given that they are not hinting on twitter that they have duly followed up with me for a period of 120 days and only then forwarded the case to collection agencies, I feel compelled to reply.
My response: During the duly follow up, Airtel’s collection department refused to look into the billing complaint and said ‘aapne use kiya tabhi to bill aaya hai’, they were often arrogant and non co-operative. They had even agreed to close the account by collecting Rs 2500, reference compared to Rs 5000+ that they are now demanding. Someone from the collection department visited my office with a letter that had my name but a wrong address and phone number to collect the due the last time I had a correspondence with them and the only call I got after that is the ones I mentioned in my post. (Funnily even back then they emailed me from a Gmail ID and the email read this “This has reference to the above mentioned subject, A/C (“a wrong account no”) we would like you to note that the said A/C has outstanding 5,875.91/- for collection of your said account, kindly make payment of an amount of Rs. 2,500/- (Two Thousand Five Hundred Only). Please note that said amount has been arrived at after adjusting all dispute charges. “)
It is only now that they have agreed to look into the complaints and issues I raise about FUP, a lapse in upgrading my scheme (which was accepted by their call center when I was a subscriber) and mysterious Rs 199 under the head ‘gaming charges’ in many of my bills.
c) When I complained about the illegal threat from a lawyer last month on twitter, Airtel looked least bothered to look into the issue and the caller Anoop from Airtel Presence only helped by asking me to pay the bill and did nothing to investigate the call I received. It is only after I recorded another aggressive and illegal call from Airtel that they swung into action. While I do not doubt their statement that they have cancelled the contract of the agency responsible and is taking whatever action possible against them, a doubt sure can be raised as to why they failed to investigate this matter before?
There have been so many people complaining of similar calls on my post, Airtel must answer as to why it was ignored before and confirm if they have initiated any legal proceedings / police complaint against the agency concerned.
d) I am not sure on what next at the moment. I would wait for Airtel to again check my account and I would pay the right due. However as advised by Nikhil of Medianama on Twitter, I would be writing to TRAI with a copy of the call recording.
As I do that, I shall update this space. Thank you.