iconimg Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Bhavika Jain, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 30, 2009
They have harassed us with their over-billing, cross connections and unwanted credit cards. And Thursday was Judgment Day. The Consumer Guidance Society of India (CSGI) conducted an ‘award’ ceremony for worst service and product in the city on Thursday. The titles went to ICICI Bank’s credit cards and Airtel respectively, based on complaints filed by consumers.

“After scrutinising each complaint and verifying it for authenticity with the company involved, we drew up a total of 189 complaints, of which 13 were eliminated as double entries,” said Dr M.S. Kamath, secretary, CSGI.

The jury comprised CSGI Chairman and retired Bombay High Court judge Balasaheb Chavan, former state chief secretary D.M. Sukhtankar, Vice Chairman of Mumbai Educational Trust Sunil Karve and President of Dignity Foundation Dr Shiroo Srinivasan.

While majority of the complaints against ICICI Bank’s credit cards were regarding over-billing, issuing of credit cards without the knowledge of the consumer and charging of additional late payment charges, Airtel drew complaints of over-billing, cross connections, unreachable helplines and disturbance in network.

When contacted, ICICI Bank asked us to e-mail our questions but did not reply.

Airtel sounded defensive. “Airtel has put in place global benchmarks for serving its customers and has been consistently voted as one of the most trusted brands in customer surveys across India. We are yet to see the detail findings of this particular survey, the parameters used, and will not be able to comment at this point,” said an Airtel spokesperson.

“The point is not to belittle or be derogatory towards any company or organisation,” said Kamath, adding, “Consumers need to get a fair deal and if it is a product or service that they are paying their hard-earned money for, don’t they deserve to get the promised product or service?”

“We went back to the service providers to get their side of the story .We want them to wake up to the problems of the consumers and not ignore them anymore,” said Sukhtankar.

“The message we are trying to convey to consumers is ‘Wake up! And demand what is rightfully yours’,” said Kamath.