February 2007


HDFC Insurance — CustomerCare or CustomerChase?

Sometime back during the previous April this happened. Just recalled when one Insurance agent from HDFC Insurance gave a call and I had shoo shoo him away to avoid the occurence of the drama. Now goes the narration.


Myself and Santosh were contacting one life insurance agent from HDFC Insurance. They had some lucrative plans so we took an application form. Since it was Saturday, the agent agreed to come on Monday to our office and collect the form and the first installment cheque along with the necessary documents. All fine. But the very next day (Sunday), one agent came to my house and he was asking the cheque. When challenged regarding the Monday meet, he was telling that his supervisor wanted the form and cheque immediately itself. After giving some ‘dose’ to him and his supervisor over the phone, these creatures ran away. Even these have gone to my friend’s place. But I alerted him before that. So he almost got a virtual chappal beat there also.

I remember the agent name is Martin Anandaraj and his email like martina (at) hdfcinsurance.com Both of us wrote to HDFC Insurance and reported to CallCenter but even the next financial year has come but there is no response from them.

Now the questions for HDFC Insurance:

  1. Why was the meeting advanced by agent or his supervisor without customer consent?
  2. How does HDFC Insurance obey customer privacy when disturbing on weekends/holidays?
  3. The ads of HDFC Insurance claim that ‘Secure your self-respect’. By having such mean and base agents to secure business, I think they just trade off the enterprise esteem and self-respect.

Would HDFC Insurance look into it?

The Myth On TollFree Numbers

Time and again we would have seen advertisements like ‘Call Toll Free’ and a number would be given. What is this Toll Free all about? Is it really free? A Toll Free Number is a one where the caller (or the customer) need not pay the telephone company rather the callee (or the subscriber) undertakes to pay for the calls. I did a basic research on these TollFree Numbers and found this comprehensive article on Federal Communications Commission website. The basic concepts remain the same but the numbers alone are described in particular to United States in the article.

In India, BSNL gives Toll Free numbers like 1 800. They are free. However, the catch is that these numbers are not reachable from other operator’s connections. Pathetic. Isn’t it? Growing telecommunications economy stands a silent sad testimony of isolated disconnected islands instead of supporting mutually beneficial harmony. Even the directory services numbers are not standardized in India. I would say, with the private operators like Airtel, even calling thier TollFree numbers, ensure that you double check lest they meter their call, claiming technical error and then refund would be a long-standing pain right?

Of course, if you feel that your telecom operator is erring, you can gather all documents in place and bring them to book through any of the following channels:

  1. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
  2. Consumer Courts in India — Check out this comprehensive website prepared by Arun Saxena of ICRPC.

Positive Van Services and Negative Cops

If you have travelled towards suburban Chennai then you might really see a lot of van services offering to commute passengers from one place to another. This is a great boon to commuters and also befitting complimentary services to bus services, which are sparse in number. However, the problem is that these van drivers are posed to very many serious threats from different quarters.

  1. One is the autodrivers, who seem them as an acute threat for thier fleecing menace.
  2. The next one is the cops. The cops are against van drivers for two reasons.
    1. Autodrivers give mamool (bribe) to cops to go blind-eyed to thier fleecing menace. The bribe percentage is also significant.
    2. Since van drivers have public patronage and also they can not afford heavy bribes, automatically, they earn the wrath of the above two antisocials.

This is why, one can witness significant fights between van drivers and autorickshow-cops alliances.

I think, Greater Chennai Commissioner of Police who is very particular in bringing discipline to her department should also consider spending some time in getting this problem addressed. If this attitude of cops are left check-free, they may become instruments and vehicles for all illlegal/illicit dramas that are being staged by antisocials.

There is one more latent though a incidental observation in which van drivers score better. They also keep shouting to the drivers “Po laam po” (in Tamil) which means “Keep moving Keep moving”. A co-passenger in Velacherry was humously remarking this with the following comparisons. Though they are just for humor, but you can observe positive attitude hidden with these too:

  1. The constant on-the-move attitude reflects a testimony to the proverb “Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss” in sharp contrast to auto drivers and cops who normally stay in one place (as observed); chit-chatting and wasting thier time.
  2. The constant on-the-move attitude also emphasizes their attitude to spread tourism awareness, if properly guided.
  3. Deriving from (2) and extrapolating the Tamil quote “Po laam po” as “Po laam po Po laam po Kuala lampur Po laam po” (to support and patronize International Tourism).

Though the observations enumerated (1) through (3) might be purely for humor anecdote, it has a strong undercurrent that van drivers need to be supported and protected from antisocials.

Would the cop-heads listen? Time alone can answer this query and heal the wound of society.

Starved Transport Services in Chennai

It is the pride of Chennai that Metropolitan Transport Corporation is organizing majestic blue line and yellow line superdeluxe high speed bus services for the comfort and luxury of passengers. But even after all introductions of innovations, the sad facts of the transport corporation that one observes are the following. These observations stand succinct testimony to the nonchalant attitude of the crew besides the indifferent of the Ministry of Transport too.

  1. Plan a route during afternoon like from 1300 hours to 1500 hours. There is a high probability that you would need to wait long hours since this time is normally shift change and hence very few buses are available for public.
  2. Most of the areas do not have shelters and hence you need to wait under the scorching sun open sky shelter. There are interesting cloth banners near Santhome Church put by commuters there demanding MTC to provision a shelter. I have been observing this for the past four months but there has’nt been a remedy that has been provisioned by the authorities.
  3. Land up in Chennai after 2200 hours and you are gheraoed by only fleecing autorickshaw drivers. While MTC claims a lot of night services, you simply can not spot one at the right time.

Readers/Visitors to Chennai: What do you feel about Chennai Transport services? Share your views and let the authorities know the grievances.

Seat Craze of Tamil Nadu

The craze of seat whether it is MLA seat in the legislative assembly or the queue order in the temple or the bus seat is going crazy in Tamil Nadu, conquering all leaps and bounds. Perhaps rather than having a thesis discussion, I feel a few illustrations would make this a humourous reading besides bringing out the sad state of the culture to limelight.

  1. You can see many people in Chennai just pushing you and knocking you down. Those acutely affected are physically disabled who can not go fast and hence get stamped down. Typical places in Chennai that witness this in acute significance are: Velacherry Bus Terminus (for D70 and 21L), Anna Square (Marina Beach), CMBT
  2. The other mean thing, which I read from one of the editions of Dinamalar – Varamalar is that lady passengers bring a little kid of neighbors while travelling in the buses. With a kid in thier hand, they try to gather sympathy wave of copassengers in harassing others to get the seat.
  3. Today, I witnessed in 5A, real push and pull at Medawalkam and one old woman was almost knocked down.
  4. A few lady passengers occupy men seat  but reverse happens, they scream like anything as if they have been harassed.
  5. We have already discussed another incident where physically disabled are challenged in the buses.

People of Tamil Nadu and particularly Chennai should cultivate the habit of being more open-minded.

Heavily Disgusting Spam Comments from Indian SearchEngine

Perhaps for the past two months, I have been observing a steady set of spam comments from one Mr. T. P. Raja in support of ByIndia, claiming to be a superior Indian search engine. Website search revealed that this guy has posted similar comments to very many weblogs.  The text of the comment, which I investigated across weblogs was similar to this:

 Have you seen the new India search engine www.ByIndia.com… Have you seen the new India search engine www.ByIndia.com they added all the cool features of popular products like MySpace, YouTube, Ebay, Craigslist, etc. all for free to use and specifically for India. Anyone else try this yet?

ByIndia.com First to Blend Search, Social Network, Video Sharing and Auctions Into One Seamless Product for Indian Internet Users.

When I reported this to ByIndia, the following was the response. I am not sure whether this is a Copy Paste or has been duly investigated into:

We apologize for the trouble but to further investigate the issue we will
need you to send us a copy of one of the spam emails you received including
the headers of the message. We are not sure if the messages are originating
from our servers but this information will help us investigate it and repair
the issue.

With search engines like Google and Altavista pioneering to stamp out spamming of thier index and provide superior results, pranksters like these have also begun to misuse the search engines for their mean businesses. I think, a relevant Internet Censorship authority should ban these sites as underground. Only then, we can save the sanctity of Information Highway.

If you would like some Tamil humor quote on this, here goes –> “T. P. Raja. Nee poy thooku Gooja”. (In English, the meaning goes –> T. P. Raja. Go and do some junk errands if you feel yourself idle too much”

Complaint Cell at Directorate of Public Instruction, Egmore

With a spurt of complaints on various educational institutions ranging from fleecing of parents, unsolicited and undue gender injustice being meted out to tiny tots in the various districts of Tamil Nadu, the Government has setup a Complaint Cell to operate from Directorate of Public Instruction, where complaints can be sent by students, parents or anyone who sees any thing wrong.

Here are the details:

Details on Complaint Cell (from “The Hindu”)

How to access:

  1. Phone: +914428273591
  2. Fax: +914428232580
  3. Email: jdssed (at) tn.nic.in

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