Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Orange makes me see red :(

I have been an Orange user for some time now & this is some of the few experiences I had with them. This was an email I sent to needless to say I got no reply but I know that my message was read as I got the read receipt :). This problem I encountered has been faced by many subscribers in Mumbai and has featured in an article in a major english newspaper, but this scam still goes on. I wonder if non reply to my email is an admission of guilt????

I am a prepaid subscriber.Today i had a peculiar problem at 21.32 I got an sms telling me that I have a missed call. I found this rather strange as my cell is always kept on AND I was at home where I get the signal full strength, so I sent the sms to 303 (which cost me 2 bucks) & I got a reply that I had a missed call at 8.11 pm. Now I find this extremely difficult to understand as the person calling me lives in the same building as me, he had told me that when he tried my number he got a recorded message that my cell was 'switched off' so he said. At that time I did not believe my friend & thought he was pulling a fast one on me. I live on the 3rd floor & my friend on the 4th floor how is it possible when both of us are in a strong signal area he got a message which led him to believe that my cell was 'switched off'.
I had read an article in the newspaper & also on a news channel that this is a new money making racket started by cell companies to increase their revenues. My experience now makes me want to believe this story as I have now found out that many people have had this experience. I had never expected this stunt from a company like yours. Needless to say that I am totally disgusted by this experience. I hope this email is sent to the higher management in your company so that they can be enlightened about the opinion of their subscribers. I am also expecting a technical answer as to why this could have happened. I would like you to know I am from the IT field quite familiar with the technologies involved so please do not waste my time & yours by handing out the usual platitudes..
Before this in 2003 I had another problem which is best described by my email to Orange. Here it is.

Whomsoever it concerns at Orange,
I would like to thank you for returning the extra Rs 630. I would like to share my experience of trying to renew my Just talk subscription thru the Mobile banking facility.
My name is Sandeep having an account with HDFC Bank. On 23-01-03 I was using the mobile banking facility for the first time to renew my Orange Just Talk subscription (Rs 315) at around 11 am. When I tried for the first time I got an error 'Invalid Input parameter', which should normally mean that the user has input data in wrong format (even an additional space makes a difference) so I tried another 2 times with the same result.
My balance before i tried to renew was Rs: 2360.68
After 3 sms & a call of 0.26 seconds my balance now stands at Rs: 2459.53

To add insult to iinjury my bank a/c has been debited for the sum of Rs 315 thrice and my Just Talk balance is just Rs 2459.53 @ 1305 hrs on 23-01-03 which if you notice is totally wrong it should have gone up by at least Rs 450. Kindly tell me who is responsible for this whole mess up. I am a faculty teaching Software Engineering & also Programming in Oracle, if I was given the correct error message I would not have tried to renew my subscription more than once.
I find this to be a case of poor design & poorer progamming skills . Otherwise what can explain the error message I got. I presume it was not the intent to mislead some customer like me to try the renewal option more than once. Since my bank a/c had been debited thrice i assume the entire transaction had no error. To put it mildly I am totally shocked at this whole affair, and I do not think I will use the Mobile banking facility again thru my cell phone. I am going to stick to the good old refill slips. I always thought that technology should be made to work for us, but here I find that technolgy is creating work for us.
What should have taken routinely less than a minute today, I spent about half a day going to my bank branch then to your Orange shop. Your 'Hotline' number 22222 is quite USELESS when necessary like today when I just could not connect & if it does connect (I have used it in the past) a customer is kept on hold for a very long time ( I have been kept on hold for over 12 mins after which I have disconnected). and using the other option of is quite as useful as many times one never gets a reply, & if one is graced with a reply it's after many days if not weeks (that's my past experience) which frankly in this case would have been useless. I had gone to the Orange Shop at Prabhadevi today & met your 'Customer Service' staff by the name of Sameer, he checked with your back office and confirmed that my Just Talk had been renewed once, he further told me that the other 2 would be done the next day ( I wonder why ??). I brought to his notice of the two figures I have shown above, the difference does not amount to Rs 150 or slightly less as I had made 4 SMS & one local call of 0.26 secs (which should cost me 4 SMS = Rs 6+ I local of 26 sec = Rs 1.75) so I should have been credited airtime worth at least about 150 - 7.75 = 142.25. Mr Sameer tells me that I might have made a STD call or something.
When I told him that this could not be possible as only I use my cell phone (everybody in my home has their own cell phone of which 3 are Orange, till today), he then changed track & told me that sometime the debits for calls made in the past are not debited immediately so Hey presto that should explain the whole mystery of the 40 odd rupees.
Original Balance before renewal 2360.68
Less 4 SMS & a call of 0.26 secs 7.75
Total 2352.93
Actual Balance given to me @ @ 1305 hrs 2459.53
Diff of 2459.53-2352.93 106.6
Mystery missing amt 43.4

Frankly I do not buy this story, I guess its a case of like it or lump it. But it leaves a BITTER taste in my mouth On 24-01-03 morning (around 8.30am) I checked my balance again to find my balance reduced by Rs 3.50 to Rs 2456.03 when I have not made any calls for the last 24 hrs. If what Mr Sameer says is true, does it mean that the balance display does not operate in real time mode. If not, does it not mislead the customer who tries to check his/her balance using the 22223 or *222# option ?.
Another thing I want to bring to your notice when I asked my bank branch manager for an email address of somebody senior as I wanted take it higher up in the bank she promptly gave me an email address, but when I asked Sameer the same thing, he told me I could ring up 22222 or use (I had already sent a email before going to the Orange shop & confirmed by Sameer) & you know my past experience with these two options. It seems that your front office staff have been trained to stonewall customers who want to complain higher up in the hierarchy. Now you can compare my experience with two companies in the service industry. I also got a reply to my email from HDFC the same afternoon & a call from the branch manager on the same evening to tell me that they would get the two extra entries reversed, but there was no such communication from your all !!!!!
The amounts concerned may not be large for you and I do not intend it to get larger so in future I will only be using this connection only for voice calls & SMS (if I continue with Just Talk) as I have no faith in the other services provided. From my experience I must conclude that your prepaid services lives upto its name, it's all Just Talk.



Looks like from 2003 to 2005 nothing has changed at all!!!!!. I dont recommend this service but is there any other which is better????.
Also the deluge of 26th Jul 05, Orange did not exactly cover itself with glory, when their entire network crashed. Of course they gave out the usual excuses. In fact its been noticed that during a REAL emergency their network just cannot cope AND they always come out with a new excuse. O !!! they are so creative in that department J


Anonymous said...

I agree I use the same service in Mumbai & I agree with u

Anonymous said...

Its time Customers formed a Forum and HIT these Operators where it Hurts the MOST...

I wonder Why our Government is so Bureaucratic, and not ALLOWING the NUMBER Portability Facility to be ACTIVATED...Its all over the REST of the WORLD,...Even in ORANGE'S parent Company, land, Hongkong...

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