Category Archives : Customer grievances

Considering an HP laptop? Think again 82

Tweet Once upon a time, I purchased a fancy laptop from HP. And my life was never the same again in a rather unpleasant way, starting, the moment I parted with 65K of my hard earned money. This is the sordid saga of my tryst with HP. Read on, especially if you have ever so much as even dreamt of starting a consumer relationship with HP. My problems with HP started when I purchased a laptop from them 3+ years back in July 2006. It has been only a nightmare which refuses to get over. I would appreciate all the help I can get, in sharing this sorry tale with ppl who matter, in HP or out of it and planning to “purchase” HP. Right from that time in July 2006, when I was given a different config than what was paid for (I was told by the person – Mr. Chandan – who took my order on the net/phone, that I would get a headset with mike along with the laptop, but got “earbuds” instead), TO the time I had to run after HP for first taking payment from me for extended warranty and then for more weeks for sharing with me my care pack warranty details (even though the money had been withdrawn from my bank account for weeks & no one reverted to my correspondence!), TO the time when I had to get my notebook’s problems actually rectified (which has been the worst experience which has still not gotten over) — it has just been a nightmare I would rather wake up from than have to deal with HP ever again. Over time, my HP laptop predictably developed a lot of problems. The DVD drive would not read any media in spite of cleaning several times (forget burning any media), the card reader did not work, the fan had just stopped working, the laptop would get so heated up that one could fry an egg on it. And the worst was that it would just shut down without me powering it off! I was still trying to make do when one fine day, the display on the LCD just blanked out and I had to eventually get over the rightly founded apprehension of interacting with HP customer care and approach them once more. For getting repairs done, (this started in Jan 2009), I first had a brush with MM9’s service centre’s bad customer service to whom I had submitted my laptop for all the above mentioned problems. MM9 first returned the laptop saying that they had cleaned & dusted up everything and that now it was all ok. When I verified it, it was certainly not so! I have no idea how they could even try passing something off as OK when it was clearly NOT. Then they admitted that some parts were indeed not functioning and ordered those parts and told me to wait. I waited for a whole of 3 months and nothing happened at all. Then I wrote to Customer care and […]

Beware of Airtel’s lifetime free IPTV scheme for existing subscribers – all hogwash 13

Tweet Airtel has been tomtoming their supposedly lifetime free IPTV scheme to existing subscribers of broadband, showing no extra cost except for installation charges of 3999/-. Even after asking several times from their executives selling this scheme to people, they insisted that there’s no monthly rental, this is indeed lifetime free at no extra cost, except that of installation. I also doubly confirmed that my existing connection of 999/- would not have any disruption or hampering in service & no extra cost and was confirmed the same. However since nothing of this sort is on airtel’s site as of now, I was still sceptical. Finally after much interrogation, I agreed to fill up the application provided they show me this scheme on paper and not expect me to fall for it over what they claimed on phone. I speak from experience. right from the time I wasnt even an Airtel customer but they damaged my property to install someone elses connection TO my own broadband connection. As expected, considering how botched up Airtel’s services are, their representative who was given some other address instead of mine to go to & some other timing as well, arrived 5hrs late at my place without any scheme in written. This after having given them my address at least 4 times. When the rep finally procured their brochure & showed it to me, I realised that my existing speed of 384 Kbps will be downgraded to 256Kpbs if I were to avail of this scheme. I talked to their customer care again. I was told there is not much difference between 384Kbps and 256 Kbps speeds anyway. When I asked them why they are charging me more in that case, for the higher speed, he had no answer. He also told me that to retain my existing speed of 384 Kbps, I would have to buy a top up plan of 400/- every month. So here it is – their hidden monthly rental! All this after having confirmed on phone that my existing broadband services will not suffer or be hampered! The customer care guy started by saying that I must be paying this to my cable guy. That’s not even logical. I pay much lesser to the cable guy and might as well retain my existing broadband speed, without shelling out 4K for some installation! Nice way of taking services back from the customer and then charging them again calling it lifetime free! Beware of schemes that insult the intelligence of the customer. Jaago Grahak Jaago. Do not fall for Airtel’s hogwash powered by shantz-wp-prefix-suffix

TOI believes – Flickr is for flicking 190

Tweet This is shocking but unfortunately true. Our leading dailies make a business out of the photographs clicked by many of us. And they have the audacity to use them without permission , credit or compensation as well, even if they are against the copyright license. One of my pictures got “flicked” from my Flickr stream and got published in a weekly supplement of TOI’s called, “What’s Hot”, dated 18th July’08. I happened to take a look at this supplement quite by chance because it was lying around and I had nothing better to do.  I immediately called up the editor of this supplement – a lady called Poonam singh – who said she will look into the issue. I wrote about 3 mails in all, asking for (a very meagre) compensation for the damages done as well as credit. For one, I never got a response in written – but of course that would mean acknowledging the theft. When I called up, I was told that it is common practice to “use” free images from the net! Flabbergasted at the audacity of this all, I clearly asked whether TOI staff was blind or illiterate to not be able to make out the clearly written statement on my flickr stream and my copyright license, both of which stated that my images can NOT be used without my explicit permission – ALL rights reserved. This is plagiarism in its full glory. Not only this, on asking for compensation, Ms. Poonam singh clearly told me that as a next step I could even go to lawyers and that this case will then be forwarded to the legal department of TOI. Huh? Was this a threat? Or a challenge? They actually go ahead, use an image with “all rights reserved” clearly mentioned on my page, have the audacity to state that this happens all the time – the “graphics designer may not know” and that I could go take the legal route? Well, I clearly understand that it was not the editor herself stealing my image, but some downtrodden employee. But then undoubtedly, Ms. Poonam Singh, who represents the Times of India, is not performing her job of being an editor, if her employees are violating copyrights! Who is responsible for educating employees about copyright violation and the legal ramifications of it? How come the Indian publishing industry takes this so lightly, whereas the Indian IT industry (of which I am a part) takes IPR’s, patents and copyright violations so seriously that they throw out employees who download pirated mp3’s on their machines? I have undergone trainings on ethics a zillion times in my career. We have had several instances of audits, policies stuffed down our throats and what not. Why? Because the Indian IT industry takes this matter seriously. On the other hand, nauseatingly so, the Indian publishing industry takes this as its birthright! The Indian Copyright Act, 1957; Section 63 – states that copyright infringement, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which […]

Killer highway

Tweet “Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel” crooned the Doors. But it wasn’t just for the sake of crooning that they belted out this piece. It’s a very sane bit of advice especially while driving on killer highways like what NH-8 has become now. NH-8 was never a typical highway (At least not in the recent past and not in the NCR area) since it always had so much of traffic and too many arteries merging into it. With the opening up of almost all the flyovers on the highway the situation has improved somewhat (only to some extent and only at certain times of the day). But there are still lots of bottlenecks to be sorted out. Thankfully now that I don’t have to commute to Delhi at least on weekdays I am spared the misery that some of my colleagues daily go through – the misery called being stuck in a traffic jam ON a flyover. That apart, I have had my fair share of misery being stuck in traffic jams caused just because of traffic waiting to cross over to the other side of NH-8. But the hazardous way in which some of the things are functioning really make me wonder whether we were better off earlier. 1. The speed limit on the roads is 50km/hr for LMV’s! What? With NHAI vehemently claiming a 20 minute journey from Delhi to Gurgaon. ie. from Dhaula kuan to Rajiv chowk, did they forget to do their basic maths right? Anyhow when the roads are empty, who’s stopping people from clocking 120 km/hr? That too people who are STARVED for some real driving in gears beyond the first. 2. Cyclists/Rickshaw wallahs/stray pedestrians on the flyovers – just when would this menace stop? Finally some graphic boards have been put up which show that cycles/rickshaws arent allowed on the flyovers. I dont remember seeing anything for the pedestrians though. And anyway, who’s stopping the above mentioned menaces from coming onto the flyovers? No one. Exactly the problem. What does one do when one is at a high speed, in the rightmost lane and suddenly there looms ahead a cyclist or better still a pedestrian who’s got some real estate plans on the right side of the road and hence is guarding territory?! One ends up braking or swerving dangerously. 3. Forget the smaller mosquitoes. Who takes care of the LMV’s and at times trucks/cranes/construction machines standing on either side of the road? That too with no indicators/blinkers/indicative boards on? I have actually seen accidents on NH-8 which have happened due to this reason, not to mention luckily avoiding some myself! How much IQ does it take to realise that if you have overshot a particular turn you dont just brake in the middle of the road and STAY there. You get driven over if you do that. Getting to one side of the road is the least you can do. And driving a few kms extra […]

Cheque check 3

Tweet Ah, The sweet smell of putting someone in their place. Customer care is one thing that definitely falls under the category of providing exactly the opposite of what they promise. Be it any commodity or service. As if life isn’t tough already, the things one buys, ensure that ones hands are full with the associated PITA’s (pain in the a$$ for the uninitiated) that come totally “free”. I finally got some respite from ICICI’s customer care. I have been their customer now for more than 7 years now – savings account, home loan, demat account, bonds and what not. Or it could have been even earlier by virtue of my parents having bought some bonds in my name when I was a kid. Anyhow in this particular episode, the problem was that I had tried to make some partial prepayment towards my home loan sometime last year. Since I wasn’t in the country, I had asked my parents to make the payments using the cheques from our joint account. My mom signed a cheque and went through the formalities of partial prepayment. ICICI quietly rejected the cheque without even informing us that it had bounced. When substantial time passed, we realised that the amount had not been deducted from the account and found that the cheque had been supposedly bounced due to signature mismatch. This was most ridiculous. My mother’s signatures were on the postdated EMI cheques too and they had no problem whatsover. Moreover everyone in our family is ultra careful about such procedures. I asked my parents to try again. This time my dad signed a cheque from the joint account and went through the formalities of partial prepayment. Again, ICICI repeated the same saga and rejected the cheque (quietly again) with no reason. No one bothered to inform us that it had bounced in the first place. I went around asking my savings account branch what was the reason for dishonouring the cheque, which they were able to provide to me much later after personal intervention. Again it happened to be “signature mismatch” which was most ridiculous. Finally I went to the Jhandewalan branch of ICICI to discuss the issue with them. Due to two cheques having bounced, they wouldn’t even entertain any loan prepayments till a fine was paid for them both. I paid an exhorbitant fine of 757/- for 3 cheques (one was dishonoured many many years back and we didnt even know about it). I told the customer care that I just didn’t believe that the cheques would have bounced due to a signature mismatch and this seemed just a strategy to mint money on the side, more so because I didn’t have any proof of the cheques with me and I was just expected to take their word for it! After paying the fine for the bounced cheques, I made a 3rd payment which fortunately ICICI’s signature matching officials didn’t have anything against this time. I also lodged a complaint with them, […]