Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sajan ve jhooth mat bolo, khuda ke paas jaana hai...

...or why I still do not have a mobile number in Hyderabad!

So I had to cut short my vacation in Delhi to join Microsoft Hyderabad office on 18th. This Tuesday, 17th of Jun, 6pm I landed in the city of Nawabs (awesome new airport, btw).

Searching for the best mobile carrier and plan for me, to say the least I was overwhelmed with the number of options available. After much online research and offline chat with 3 people about which carrier has reasonable coverage in Microsoft campus, Hyderabad, AP and rest of India, corporate discount details and which of prepaid or postpaid plans will suit my calling patterns, I decided to go for the Airtel postpaid plan with corporate discounts.

Day 1 Thursday
Thursday afternoon at 2pm, I call the Airtel representative on campus.

Airtel Rep (AR): "Sir, I am in building 1 right now. I'll come to building 3 (my building) in 1-2 hours. Tab aap signup kar lena."

I called up at 4:15pm.
AR: "Sir, I am walking towards building 3. I will be there from 4:30 to 6. Please come down to the reception in 15 minutes."

At 4:50, I go down to the reception. He had not come yet. So I decided to take a walk to the cafe for a snack (free snacks in MS cafes from 4-6) and came back at 5:15. Still no rep. Went back up to my office and called up again. Could not get through. An afternoon wasted. No progress.

Day 2 Friday
I call up the rep at 11:45am telling I was waiting for him downstairs asking why he didnt show up. Ignoring my rant, AR says unapologetically: "Sir, mein abhi neeche building 3 reception mein hoon. Aap aa jao."

At 12:30 we sign the paperwork. He informs me that I need to send a request email from my official account to this address and my number will be activated by Friday evening. I send the email immediately.

Happy, happy I wait till 7pm and switch on my phone with the new SIM. No luck. I had already tried a vodafone SIM with my US GSM phone - so was confident it was not the phone.

Playing the considerate citizen, thinking Mr. AR must be done for the day I called up Airtel 24 hour customer support (ACS).
ACS: "Sir, this number is not in our records."

I call up AR.
AR: "Sir, I just came to my office. I am activating your number right now. Your phone should start working in 1-2 hours".

At 10:30pm, still no signal, I called up ACS and to my shock, they informed me: "Sir, this number is not in our records....No sir, this means no one has submitted an activation request for it yet."

Considerate citizen. Let us not call up AR at this time of the day on Friday.

Day 3 Saturday
Called up AR at 11am.
AR: "Sorry sir, kal activate nahin kar paaya. I just activated it. It should start working in 1-2 hours.

2pm. Still no signal.
Called up AR. His phone is switched off. I guess Saturday must be half day for AR.
Called up ACS.
ACS: "Yes sir, we got the request to activate it this morning. It can take 24 hours before it is activated. Thank you for your patience."
(24 hours or 1-2 hours. Why can't salesmen (esp desi salesmen) tell the truth!)
Me: "But the sales guy said 1-2 hours."
ACS: "Yes, it can be done in 4-5 hours. But we guarantee 24 hours."

The whole day I carried my phone. Playing with Network tab, hoping it would start working any time. Nope. (As an aside, ended up paying for a 3 minute local call @Rs. 8 per min when I had to call up a cab from Hyderabad International Convention Center).

Day 4 Sunday 11am
Still no love for my phone. Called up ACS.
ACS: "Sir, it can take upto 48 hours after activation request is received"
Me (WTF!! 1-2, 4-5, 24, 48. What?): "But the person I spoke to yesterday said 24 hours."
ACS: "Let me double check...please hold...Yes sir, it should be done within 24 hours. But your application is missing some information, because of which the activation process is delayed."
Me: "What information?"
ACS: "Let me check...please hold...system is not telling that to me, Sir."
Me (exasperated): "You said you can not activate it because you need some information. Please tell me what information I can provide so that this process can be moved forward."
ACS: "Umm..aah...Sir, can you give me your SIM number?"
Me: "You should have my SIM number in activation request."
ACS: "Yes sir, can you please give it again?"
Me: "Here take this all the information you need?"
ACS: "Where did you fill in your forms?"
Me: "Blah, Hyderabad."
ACS: "Thank you sir. The system is telling me that your number will be activated by 24th Jun (Tuesday!!). Thank you for your patience."
Me: "But you said 24 hours."
ACS: "Yes sir, it should be done within 24 hours. But the system says Tuesday".
Me (!!!!): "ok"

And that is why, at noon this Sunday I still do not have a phone in Hyderabad.

Would you say it is time I talk to the Vodafone rep for Microsoft tomorrow or do I wait another 48 hours?

Update at 1am Jun 24:
I called up AR at 3pm on Jun 23.
AR: "Sir it will be done by today evening."

I called up ACS at 1am Jun 24.
ACS: "Sir, I can not find your previous complaint details. I will lodge a new complaint."
Me: "I want to cancel this request with Airtel. I want to go with some other provider. Can you please cancel this?"
ACS: "For you to cancel it, it needs to be activated first."
Me: "Is there a way I can get out of this and not have to pay a single rupee for the mistake of thinking about going with Airtel?"
ACS: "No, sir."
Me: "Ok, lodge the new complaint then."
ACS: "Thank you sir. ETA for this complaint is Jun 25..."


At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Priyank said...

Dude its almost the same with Vodafone atleast. They activate it pretty fast..but take no responsibilty to deliver the bills. Of course the network is weak and congested. At times their cutomer care is unreachable too.

At 4:00 AM, Blogger Sari said...

hahaha... sure... me n a couple of more friends have gone through the same ...d'oh!
airtel/ no airtel... phew!


Post a Comment

<< Home