Bharti Airtel ventures into Retail Fraud

After having launched its mega enterprise scam deal in its own realm, Bharti Airtel seems to be on the move to launch the retail version of the same. In fact, I have been witnessing a beta version of this ploy even about six months back. Over to the story.


On 28th December 2006 at about 11:14:18, while I was travelling to the examination center to give my third semester MBA examination, my mobile beeped alert an incoming text message which read as follows:”Thank you, for using www.airtel.in for making the payment for your Airtel bill. Please do not share your ID & password & avoid misuse of your mobile account”.

Interestingly, I have stopped using thier Online Payment website long time back, since it is prone for a lot of technical errors, an elevated significance of slow response and timeouts, the requests raised or payments done through the website take more than one week to service and get credited to the account. The best way to make payments to Airtel service is via Airtel Landline Showrooms who are more professional in approach and depict a responsible business gesture than thier website or franchise Airtel Connects.

Now, when I tried to bring this to the notice of Airtel Customer, here are the observations/responses.

  1. I called 121 (Airtel CustomerCare) at about 11:20 and one Ms. Kavi attended it. She was repeatedly denying any such SMS be sent and to an extent she was turning hostile that “Airtel does not send any  such messages and only send professional alerts”. So does she mean, that escalating complaints is unprofessional? 🙂 All these interesting conversation from the customercare, after IVR claiming to say that “This call may be recorded for quality and training purposes”. So, can we claim this as a tangible testimony of the supreme quality showcased by the premiere communications company of India?
  2. Unsatisfied and disgusted with a such a response, when I hung up the call and called again, one Mr. Santosh attended the call. This guy was presenting a different picture and was proving that they are fast qualifying themselves to contest as right candidates for our Thikkuvay Thandavarayan case study. He was admitting that there might message delivery (paradoxical to the assurance of 1)) however he wanted to put the matter to sleep for at least a day, taking excuse that eBill Payments get reflected in their CRM systems only after 24-48 hours. He was rather suggesting other means like sending a SMS to 345 or an email to 121@airtelindia.com. When insisted on raising a complaint, he thought for a while and then presumed to accept it. He wanted to put the line on hold, raise a complaint and then resume the call to intimate. But actually, he wanted to put the line on hold and then silently vanish in the wild, as usually these guys do.
  3. An SMS to 345 has been sent and let us see what is their feedback on the same. I would keep this discussion updated with the responses.
  4. Interesting Prelude: About nine months back, when I recieved the Airtel bill, it was bulky than usual. I was smelling a rat whether there were any unscrupulous usage.However, it turned out that my bill was carrying another bill of some girl called ‘Umamaheswari’ along with her itemized bill content being pinned together with mine. Again the 121 customercare was not able to comment anything and you can assume re-reading of 1 to 2 above for a similar response.

All these incidents clearly substantiate whether this page on Airtel entitled ‘Privacy Policy‘ is really bona fide in its purpose of just for name sake to satisfy TRAI and to provide some insulation to provide vacuum competition against other telecom companies.

Readers: What do you think?  Do you have similar experience? Share across…

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