The Sunday Leader

Consumer rights violated

A consumer has the right to receive a receipt or a written acknowledgement for a service for which he has made payment, even though he may receive confirmation that such a payment was received a few hours later.

But one mobile phone company allegedly doesn’t believe in giving such acknowledgements for at least one particular type of service.

Last Sunday this reporter bought a Rs. 100 pre-paid card belonging to this phone company from a vendor in Mount Lavinia to feed it into his mobile phone as it was running out of credit.

The card, at a particular place has to be scraped or scratched, after which a number is made visible. By dialling a prescribed number on one’s hand phone and feeding the number on the card, the amount paid to buy that card is credited to one’s phone account, allowing that person to take calls upto that value in the event his account balance was originally zero.

But this reporter scratched the card too hard, defacing those numbers and thus was unable to credit his phone account.

When he explained his problem to the phone company’s customer service point in Mount Lavinia the following day, the woman who heard the complaint gave a patient hearing, took down his details, photo copy of identity card and the defaced pre-paid card, saying the problem would be attended to within a maximum of four days, but refused to give a written acknowledgement.

When persisted for the same, the woman gave a scrap of paper with the name and telephone number of the particular service point stamped, as well as her name, but no acknowledgement that the defaced pre-paid card had been surrendered to her. A few hours later this reporter’s phone account was credited with the Rs. 100 without having to wait for four days as was earlier forewarned.

but the point is, should not the service centre have given him an acknowledgement that his pre-paid card has been surrendered to them for investigation, instead of refusing him of the same?

This company prides itself of being the pioneer in introducing “satchet” marketing at least to the mobile phone sector. But if “nuts and bolts” issues of such endeavours are not addressed, one wonders how sustainable such “efforts” would prove to be.

What would the position have been if the surrendered card was misplaced by the customer centre prior to it being checked whether the claim was bona fide or not? Would the phone company have given its customer the benefit of the doubt then? These are the unanswered questions, which do not help to project the company to be transparent, if indeed it wants to project such an image to the public.

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