Tryst with Tata Indicom

6th September 2007: I am in Kolkata for a few days now. I decide to get an Internet connection. I know what type of connection I want: a PCMCIA data card based connection. I call Tata Indicom, Kolkata. They try to suggest an alternate USB based connection; I listen and insist on their v-data card. Within minutes, I receive a call from Prateek’s (a dealer of Tata Indicom) for a house call. Within hours, someone comes to my place, gives me the card, takes the required documents and money, and tells me it takes up to 48 hours to activate this, however, it should be done by tomorrow. So far so good.

8th September 2007: I receive about 10 calls in the last two days asking me if I wanted a Tata Indicom v-data card. I politely tell everyone that I have already taken one in my Ma's name, and the verification has also been done. But the connection is yet to be active, and 48 hours is almost up, so I call Tata Indicom customer care. After confirming thrice that my preferred language is English, I am greeted by a very formal Bengali speaking gentleman. He listens to my complaint, and gives me the docket number: 85114421. The official resolution date is 12th September, but it should be done by Monday, 10th.

10th September 2007: The connection is not activated. “They are looking in to it”.

11th September 2007: I receive a call saying the issue is resolved. I should check it. I couldn’t check as my laptop was given for upgrade, so I request the lady to give me her number. She doesn’t have a number! I request her to call me after 7. In 30 minutes though, the same dealer chap who delivered the v-data card, comes to my place to replace my SIM. I narrate the whole story and send him back. I receive another call within 30 mins: I tell this guy the same story. This is getting exciting.

12th September 2007: I check the connection: not working. I check it on another laptop: not working. Still no call from the lady who said the issue is resolved.

13th September 2007: I call Prateek Sharma (the dealer), who asks me to come to his shop for replacing the SIM. I go there, since I refused to change the SIM two days ago. He gives me the new SIM, talks to someone, and tells me it will be activated in two hours.

15th September 2007: Two hours multiplied by a day = two days pass by. I am still without an Internet connection. I am suggested that the card is active; my laptop is at fault. I mention that I have tried it on another laptop. They give me another docket number: 85938599. I threaten to move Consumer Court. They sympathize by saying "We will re-connect, as soon as possible! You will receive a call soon”.

17th September 2007: I am still waiting for that call! I finally run out of patience, and call Mr. Sharma, and ask for a refund (I must say, this was my ma’s idea; I was getting ready to meet my lawyer friend and go to consumer court). Mr. Sharma asks me to go to his shop and promises to show me that the card is active. I think at this point he thought I am a moron, and must be doing something wrong. I go there; he checks: it doesn’t work. He checks on his laptop, it doesn’t work. He makes a few phone call and talks to at least five different people at Tata Indicom and finally the problem is determined! There is some ESN (or ECN) number which is not attached to my SIM! Mr. Sharma treats me to a second cup of tea, the problem is set right in 15 minutes, the connection works! My boring life is given a twang of excitement by this experience. It also raises a few questions:

Why would I have to go to the dealer twice to get this resolved? When and where was I at fault?

Why or how did the customer service agents determine that the problem was first with the SIM and then with the laptop? Trust me, I know a thing or two about Internet connection and troubleshooting: I used to teach agents how to troubleshoot broadband by satellite connections for three years! In my opinion, the Tata Indicom agents I spoke to knew nothing about troubleshooting, let alone Tata Indicom troubleshooting.

This goes on for 11 days, and I repeatedly complain, but no one at Tata Indicom takes the ownership of this problem! Since at long last the dealer took the ownership and it was finally resolved in less than an hour, there is a clear lack of responsibility by I-don’t-know-who-but-someone-at-Tata-Indicom! Had that person taken it up, this should have been closed a few days ago! Who is this moron?

The big question is: With this kind of service, is Tata Indicom really interested in consumer broadband market?

12 comments:

Aarbee said...

I am not surprised at all. Be it banks, phone/internet providers, insurance companies or the good old sarkari daftars...they're all the same. The 'chalta hai' attitude seems to be in the driver's seat. We thought that private companies would act more responsibly, but that is obviously not the case. Till the time they make you call them ten times, abuse them three times, and threaten of something like consumer court once, they don't care.
Tata Indicom, in particular, comes across as more of a let down because of the simple fact that they intend to cater to the masses, and in bulk. It's no rocket science to understand that this is not the way to function if you really wanna achieve that. Don't know where they place 'customer satisfaction' on their priority list.

Really feel sorry about your experience. But now I hear of similar harassment almost every day, and of course, experience a lot of it myself too. Sad.

~ Deeps ~ said...

Tata indicom has maximum no of horror stories going arnd.....so i am not surprised by your experience....to tell ya frankly all that companies care abt is selling the product and service can go for a toss after that......
we have been trying to get an airtel isdn line d/c for last 2 months but airtel people are not doing it and charging us every month.........

~ Deeps ~ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rohit Talwar said...

Having paid already hurts even more in such a situation. How wonderful would it have been to avoid them altogether and try for another connection without thinking about the darn Tata jerks.

Die mo****fuckers.

Happens all the time. Seriously, consumer affairs and complaints should be made QUICKER in terms of response so that the customer is encouraged even more to get these jerks to work.

IG said...

Things always come to a full circle. Taste of our very old medicine Shubho... LOL... on a serious note, I took a reliance connection and before I took the connection I got ready for this kind of battle cause I knew it would be this story. To my uttter surprise I have had zero downtime till now and it seems to work better in bangalore than in Delhi. The speed increased from about 40 Kbps in Delhi to about 114 Kbps in Bangalore.

Subhadip said...

@RB
Really sad. But we should also do something about it.

@Deeps
Is it because of the frantic growth rate of these companies?

@RT
I swear! But there should be some maturity and trust in the market!

@IG
So you are saying I made a basic mistake of choosing Tata over Reliance? Now the connection is active, lets see how the speed and uptime is.

~ Deeps ~ said...

that is ofcourse one of the reasons, another as u mentioned is lack of knowledge processes and right resources to manage the processes........but apart from all these i feel that market is so huge that even if few of the customers go unsatisfied while chasing growth and numbers, thats ok with companies.......once the growth sustains to a certain level then only service will come into picture effectively till then.....customers can ride on their luck and pray :)

suparna said...

And I was just going to buy a data card from TATA ! Second about it now! Problem is that all these companies are the same and as we need the service they just do as they wish...However...how is the speed and uptime? do write and tell...a reviw said good but ur experience will be more accurate ... pls!!

Subhadip said...

@Deeps
What you are saying is true, unfortunately.

@Suparna
The uptime is 100% till now for me.
The speed is ok, nothing near 256kbps, but not bad either.

~ | | OM | | ~ said...

for that matter subbu... you can run around getting screwed by any service provider in the country anywhere...

Chandigarh is no better... the customer service "Thats what they like to call themselves" sucks... and they do not know how to talk..

Banglore.. hutch.. now vodaphone... guys asks the most illogical and stupidest of questions when i told them about a pre-paid number issue that i was having..

and in both these cases... one thing that was completely missing was ownership...

Jaane kahan gaye wo din...

or should i sing..

Wo subah kabhi to aayegi?

Anonymous said...

You should have accepted the new SIM first time...

Didnt they go all the way to resolve the issue... I think you should appreciate it...

World is not perfect...problems do come up.. even satellites and space shuttles crash

I think you dont know much about the old BSNL days

Subhadip said...

@Om
Definitely - Woh subah kabhi to aayegi!

@Anonymous
Since you write I should have accepted the new SIM in the first place, may I point out that even after changing the SIM card the next day, it didn't work for four more days? The problem was somewhere else!

The only person who went all out to resolve this was the dealer - Mr. Prateek Sharma and I have noted my appreciation for his effort in the post and do so again here.

Your comment about old BSNL days is laughable. Are we still in that age? Shall we compare things now with 15 - 20 years ago? In case you didn't notice, things have changed now.

The world is not perfect. But we strive to better it, don't we?

I would have appreciated if you would have written your name and possibly your association with Tata Indicom in your comment.