How Airtel increases it revenues by cheating customers?

Are there more skeletons in corporate India’s balance sheet? Sure there are. Everybody knows that practically everybody cooks up their balance sheets. Most ofthe time the objective of closly held companies is to reduce profits so that they pay less tax. But a lot of companies want to show ever increasing returns to boost up the share prices just like what Raju of Satyam was aiming at. With higher valuations, companies can raise more money or the promoters can sell their stakes at a higher price.

Let me give you a example of how Airtel is misrepresenting its revenue by increasing it. Have you ever been billed for services like “Hello Tunes” or “CLIP” charges. I don’t know how many of you even know what CLIP charges are? Probably not many. I came to know that this acronym stands for “caller identication service” when Airtel billed me for this service on my office telephones even though I do not have telephone instruments compatible for this service. Well, Airtel will bill you for these services without your order and you will have to be a really determined

s revenuedoes not want to disconnect “Hello Tunes”
Airtel tried the same trick with us recently. Airtel started playing “Hello Tunes” on three of our landlines and later started charging us also. Our customers informed us about the music being played on our telephones. When I called Airtel customer care, I was told that I must have placed the order for “Hello Tunes” through their automated telephone dialing system. I was shocked by their answer. In spite of a number of reminders to terminate the “Hello Tunes” service, they continued to play “Hello Tunes” on our telephones. Finally, a registered letter to Sunil Mittal, CEO of Airtel, did the trick. Airtel discontinued the “Hello Tunes” service on our telephones but we still have to receive the refund of the charges that they have already billed us.

No wonder Airtel’s valuation is hitting sky high. They are billing their customers for services that they have not ordered. In July 2006, Airtel announced that it had 25 million subscribers. If they charge Rs. 30 a month for “Hello Tunes” like they did to us, Bharti stands to generate a revenue of Rs. 750 million a month. I wish I could sell to my customers in the same manner. Now even if half of their customers cancel the service, Bharti would still gain Rs. 370 million a month with no sales effort. Don’t you think this amounts to cheating?

Also, most of us would not make the effort to write to Sunil Mittal and spend money on registered letters. Quite a few of us would just keep paying the amount. Companies like Airtel are actually aware of this behavior of the customers and are unethically taking advantage.

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Comments

I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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Avinash Narula Reply:

dan hi!

Thanks for your encouraging words.

Avinash

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rahul Reply:

yes,

i was 1 of the customer suffered this thing for 1 time & went to airtel office, they told me like you recharge wih 100 & then we will discontinue your hellotune services & refund the hello tune charges, still i didnt work. & i have wrote a mail. then it work..
so guys any body having problem like if you have not subscribe for hello tune & even they are chargign then write to customer care. wait fot the responce within24 hours

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Hi!

I forgot to mention that Airtel can be sued for defrauding customers. I was thinking of filing a legal suit as they have billed me a number of times without an order. Next time, if Airtel bills me without my order, I will sue them.

It is possible that the court may order that all the money that Airtel has made by billing its customers without their orders should be returned to the customers. Imagine the drop in the value of shares.

Don’t you think that shareholders who had purchased shares earlier can sue Airtel and its management for damages. I think that they can.

Thecase is similar to Satyam. The only difference is that Raju forged documents to show higher profitability to raise share value whereas Airtel is billing its customers without their orders.

I hope the government regulators are reading this.

avinash narula

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I think you are thinking like sukrat, but I think you should cover the other side of the topic in the post too…

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i’m thinking of filing a complaint too …ive just realised that there were hidden charges in my Rs 99 Plan [ Rs 50 for CLIP , i mean what the hell does Manoj Kohli think about his management?????

you charge your customers Rs 50 on top of a base pack which is only 99

At the same time they have another package which is Rs 150 n that doesnt have CLIP charges ..

bravo …. airtel

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I have Airtel INTERNET & IPTV connection, since the day I have taken the connection, having problem, when call on 44441111, first explain, than they make you wait, and later another person again explain, again wait than they disconnect phone, every time this is being happening to me since 4th of June, the Tech person came home, he didn’t abuse me, rest he insulted me so badly, cannot explain, when call & ask for some senior person to talk to, they will not give name, this is happening to me, how can the country progress, if the people working in the organization have respect for the customer.

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Airtel is very good

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Avinash Narula Reply:

rupam hi!

keep checking your bills. At some time or the other, Airtel is going to bill you for something you didn’t order. For instance, inspite of repeatedly telling them not to play Hello Tunes on our phones, they have again started playing Hello Tunes on my phone. I am sure that they will start billing us for the same. I think they are crooks otherwise why would they want to bill you for something that you have not ordered.

avinash narula

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Hi,

I suffered through a similar problem. They kept charging me for a couple of months for friends chat even though I didn’t subscribe for it. I’d call them every month and tell them about this problem, they’d unsubscribe me and then subscribe me again next month.

Anyway, a few days back I went through my Airtel bills when filing my income tax returns and saw that they hadn’t refunded the subscription fees all this time. Upon calling them, they did refund my money, however, declined my request to pay me interest on the same even after pointing out how they charge late fees and interest when a customer doesn’t pay their bill on time.

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Yes, I suffered similarly. But the good news is they are giving me Rs. 50/- discount also! sic!

I found others indulging in such like tactics. Tatasky offers addon packages. While you can subscribe by a simple SMS, which is given wide publicity on help etc., there is no such simple way of unsubscribing these addons. You can only do that by calling them. I hate doing that and my billings keep inflating…

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yes airtel broadband service chennai are real frauds , they show the revenue by cheating the customers . i was told night time broadband free usuage but they charged us, when enquired they said it will be deducted in the next month bill and again same thing happened. this people should be brought to court.

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hello everyone!
same situation occured to me last month when they started
astrology sms service without my authority and deducted 40 rs… next month they started caller tune service without my personal request for same,and deducted 30 rs…

now i found i am not the only one..
so if you guys are ready to join me in this brigade against Airtel crooks,we will all file a case of fraud against airtel and will ask them to repay us with remuneration for
cheating us…under consumer act..

pls like minded ones reply…

captain saurabh sharma
new delhi

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Avinash Narula Reply:

saurabh hi!

Actually, I have been seriously thinking of filing a legal case against Airtel. It is because of this that I have not approached Airtel to discontinue the “Hello Tunes” that they have been playing on one of my telephones. If you are interested, I would be more than willing to file a case along with you. My telephone number is 9810021343. You can contact at customerman@gmail.com also. Send me the specific detail of what all happened. Also, I will need hard copies of your documents including their invoices where they billed you for Hello Tunes and other services not ordered by you. I will get the legal case prepared and we can take it from there.

Avinash Narula

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