Yesterday must have been a sad day for JRD Tata

Yesterday, my wife and I decided to see Slumdog Millionaire on Tatasky. Tatasky was advertising heavily on their system. In fact, you could not turn on Tatasky without being forced to watch the advertisement for Slumdog Millionaire. The price very attractive, just Rs. 25.

So my wife called up their customer service, understood how it worked (or so she thought) and decoded to order for the same immediately after dinner at about 8:45pm. What happened after that is clear from the two emails we sent to Tatasky which are given below:

Subject: Wrong showcase movie debit-1002293890
Date: Sat, 21 Feb 2009

We ordered ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ on 21st Feb at 8:45 pm through your Showcase. The process did not go through and the message given was “not processed due to technical error and you will be connected to an operator.” However, the call got disconnected before this could happen.

For the next 20 minutes, I was trying to get through your helpline but no one was picking up my call. Rs. 25 were, however, deducted from my balance amount.

We thought how will we prove that the movie was not turned on, so we decided to place another order as it would be obvious that we could not be watching two movies on one TV at the same time. So, I tried ordering again through Showcase, but again order did not go through and the message was “not processed due to open orders.”

Tried helpline but again no one was picking up the phone. Then at 9:30, while we were watching “Stark” on Star World an Alert message came on the TV screen which stated “Rs. 25 has been deducted from my account for ‘Slumdog Crorepati’.

Why am I being shown the hindi version when I have ordered the English version? Why am I paying for a movie I have not ordered? As such, we would appreciate if you could reverse the debit of Rs. 25 immediately.

With this first bad experience, I do not think I will ever order a movie through Showcase. I would now rather spend more money watching a movie in the theatre than wasting 45 minutes of my precious time.

Hoping to hear from you soon.

Avinash Narula
Subscriber ID: 1002293890

Subject: Wrong showcase movie Subscriber ID 1002293890
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2009

This is further to my email dated 21st Feb, 2009. I received a call from Dipti from the Bangalore office today at 10:10 am. I was told by her that both the English and the Hindi versions of the movie “Slumdog Millionniare” where running on two different channels and I could see either of them.

When I place an order and pay for the English version, I expect to see the English version and not the hindi!!!!! You have to agree with me that if I wanted to see the hindi version, I would HAVE ordered the hindi version. Isn’t it?

She also told me that the movie runs from 12 to 12 so since I placed the order at 9 pm, according to her it would run till midnight.

I would like to bring to your attention that before placing the order, I checked with your helpline (1-860-425-6633) as to when the movie would start (after placing the order) and till when. I was told it would start from the time I place the order and till 24 hours. So I expected it to run till 9 pm the next day (that is 22nd).

Since I had already paid for the hindi version, I thought I might as well see it. However, on checking on the 22nd morning at 9:15 am, I found that the hindi version of the movie was not on. I then tried to call your helpline, but no one answered and I had to listen to your advertisments for 10 minutes. Tatasky advertises their helpline is on 24 hours, BUT sad to say no one picks up the line (last night I spent 45 minutes trying to get in touch with you but was unsuccessful), so is there any point in having one?

What I would like to know is why your helpline is giving it’s customers wrong information? – They tell me the movie will run 24 hours from the time I place the order and Dipti tells me it till run from 12 to 12.

Also, when the helpline gives the information that the movie will start the time I order it, I expect to see it from the beginning and not from the middle.

I would appreciate if you could clarify the following:

(a) What does “Open orders” mean as we received a message regarding this?
(b) When we buy a movie, will we see the movie from the middle or from the start. From what I can make out it is not “movie-on-demand” in the actual meaning of the term. From what I can make out, you just have a movie playing on a channel and you plug in people irrespective of how much the movie has already been shown. If this is true, it has not been made clear anywhere and neither does your helpline specify this. I thought an intelligent solution would be to specify the show timings rather than make a fool of yourself and everybody else.
(c) How could your system deduct the money when there was a “technical problem?” The money is always deducted when everything else has been cleared. For instance, when you buy online anything, the payment is not deducted till all the steps are cleared.
(d) I can imagine what happened. The technical problem when we ordered was that your capacity on the English version was full so you rolled us over to the Hindi version. How I have reached this conclusion is that later your system refused to accept our order because of “Open orders.” What this means is that you were trying to CHEAT us by supplying us goods that we had not ordered hoping to earn a small amount of Rs. 25. You know that most customers will not spend too much time trying to recover Rs. 25 from you. We are one of the few stupid customers who are more concerned about the principles of an action than the cost.

I think Mr. JRD Tata would be turning in his grave thinking how you guys are keeping up his reputation by CHEATING customers for just Rs. 25. If you are so hard up, please let me know, I will contribute Rs. 25 to you every month as long as you promise not to CHEAT customers. I also think that maybe Mr. Ratan Tata does not know how the executives at one of his companies are making money for him. I think I will inform him.

As such, I would like you to credit Rs. 25 back to my account immediately. I also hope you will not make me go through loops in trying to get Rs. 25 credit from you.

In addition, Deepti had promised that Mr. Lenon (I don’t know whether I got the name right?) who is incharge of this fiasco will call us to explain why we had to spend so much time to see a movie and how a pleasant movie watching experience turned into a unpleasant one.

Avinash Narula
Subscriber ID No. 1002293890

It is obvious that Tatasky tried to cheat us. Also, their customer service sucks as one just could not get through to them. It should have been obvious to Tatasky executives that they would get a large number of customers trying to see the movie over the weekend.

However, one must give credit to the people at Tatasky who have come up with its current strategy and the product development of it service “Showcase.” I believe that they deserve an award and I will be sending them a trophy as I don’t know that there are any awards given for the “Best Product Development Strategy” as Tatasky team would win hands down.

Lets take our example of buying the movie Slumdog Millionaire at 9pm. We can only watch till 12pm, that is, we have a window of 3 hours to watch the movie. So when we order the movie, we can immediately start seeing the movie as Tatasky executives wanted the response time to be in NANO seconds. You are all aware that Tatas love the word NANO. But the movie is already half over as we have been switched on in the middle of the movie. Now we know that we cannot wait for the movie to get over and start again because we have a short window. We are in a delimma.

Then all of a sudden, we realize the innovation at work at Tatasky. You will be made to watch a movie in a different format because Tatasky does not want to lose its revenue of Rs. 25. The new innovative method that Tatasky has introduced for watching movies is that you watch the second half and the ending of the movie first and then watch the first half. Watching in this way will make the whole experience interesting. And if you want to make it more interesting, you order the movie at 11pm. You just watch the last half or so of the movie as well as the end and IMAGINE the first half. In fcat, they are allowing you to make your own movie with all the twists and suspense you can add to it.

What an innovation! Hats off to Tatasky executives. I think I went to the wrong business school. I must find out which business school these guys went to and then I will join their executive management program.

I am so impressed that I will send them an award / trophy for the “Best product development strategy.”

If any journalist is logged on to my blog, I would appreciate if you could also appreciate the good innovative work that Tatasky executives are doing.

Avinash Narula

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Hi. Just came across your post. I suspect what you have written about happened due to a technical glitch. I have known so many people who saw Slumdog on Showcase. Also, I have been using Tata Sky for a long time and know that compared to other DTH providers, Tata Sky has the best CC. I suggest that you call the cc and they shall solve all your issues as they have solved mine. Don’t worry , this is just an aberration. I am sure you will enjoy Tata Sky in future.


Tata sky is the crappest box ever made, one should rather shift to other service provider rather than recharging that. Just now they launched PVR feature and for that you need to buy new box worth Rs. 8000 . Silly concepts of making money. I by misfortune owe a tata sky box. Just now I got some problem — I made a call to their socalled service center. They told me various procedure to restore it, but it didn’t work, then she told you need a service visit and as you are under guarnatee period– so you will not be charged. But as their engineer came he asked me for 300 Rs. for just to direct Antenna to right angle. As I told them I am under guarantee period, they called service centre, they told them not to charge any money — after that only I allowed them to fix antenna(only inclining it to right direction). They went away and they charged me 350 Rs(cut from my balance). In that I could have got something other STB and +6 month free subscription as most of new service providers are offering.



Avinash Narula Reply:


The problem is that Tata Sky has the ability to deduct money as our balance is lying with them. Now to get the money credited back into your account would be like reaching the moon. This is actually criminal. It is like a pick pocket taking the money out of your pocket with no fear of prosecution. Now if the pickpocket is caught, you put him behind bars while companies like Tata get away by just returning the money. I have decided that the next time any company does that to me, I will take them to court on charges of fraud and cheating.

Even mobile companies do this. They charge you for services not ordered by you and if caught with their hand in the till, they return you the money after taking they have made you brun around in circles. I think you should file a lawsuit. Find a freind who is a lawyer or take them to consumer court which will cost not more than Rs. 1000/2000. You may end up not only making Tata Sky mend their ways but making some money because consumers courts have become quite aggressive to protect the consumer.

Avinash narula


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