Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bill mein kuch kaala hai

My latest Vodafone bill says I need topay 25 bucks for 2 downloads:

a) Callertune from Onmobile - Rs 15

b) Wallpaper from Hungama - Rs 10

Exact download dates and times have been given. Which is great except that I have not made these downloads. I've had the same caller tune - 'California Dreaming' for many months now. And neither am I into wallpapers!

Did I accidentally click on a link in one of the many spam messages sent by the operator? Nope..I simply delete those messages.

Now I can call Vodafone and waste 10 minutes complaining about this, no guarantee they will agree it's an error

So I leave it. And if millions of subscribers like me do the same, imagine how much the cellphone company, and these other companies make? 'Value added service' - to them, for sure!

P.S. This is not the first time it's happened and I'm sure it won't be the last...


  1. I was charged 40 bucks for initializing some song service and downloading two tunes to my mobile by Airtel Karnataka. No response to my email complaint. 40 rupees 10% of my monthly telephone expenses!

  2. even I was charged 40 bucks for downloading some ringtones! which i never did.
    this happens very frequently to one or the other subscriber.. many of my friends in hostel have been charged heavily many a times for such things, unnecessarily..
    Apart from that, there's one more problem, that u are being charged just when u click the link for download, irrespective of whether that download occurs successfully or it fails!
    if it fails then u've to pay again. The reason may be poor network connectivity of ur "service provider" but only u have to pay for it.
    I remember another incident when i was sitting in an airtel outlet, a person came there, complaining that he's being charged for hello tunes inspite of telling these ppl to stop the service, two times before. And now again they told him that he had activated some hello tune, and now unless he deactivates it he'll be charged. He said he never did anything like that and infact had been assured of its deactivation the last time he complained. I felt pity for this old man, who was caught in this high-tech dilemma!

  3. They have these funny ads on TV for 30 rupees a month short messaging services. They want us to pay them 30 Rupees a month so they can us that the price is onions is gonna go up!!

    Wonder what happened to the small doggy in the Hutch Ads... The doggy following the boy, remember? It was perhaps an analogy to the network following the user. I think the dog is dead and so is the network.

  4. This is why i dont take a postpaid connection. No wonder they call me a couple of times a month to coax me into taking it. Am happy with my vodafone prepaid. PEACE! :)

  5. I dont use the Ringback stuff, but I always thought it was a monthly service you paid for, not a one time thing.

  6. hahahaha............bali ka bakra....:)

  7. Hey,

    Why does this not come as a surprise? In India all the telecom service providers are struggling to exhibit that they are moving up the value chain - from plain old talking to VAS. Typically telcos abroad have about 20-35% of revenue from VAS whereas in India its as low as 4-12%.

    So how do they do it? By cheating the subscriber. I have a Airtel broadband at home and a free phone connection. I never use the phone and have unlimited plan (to make sure Airtel does not act smart). Everything was smooth for the first couple of months, then Airtel showed its true colors. They added Rs25 for Caller Tune. I never asked for it - no one has this number - what would I do with a caller tune?
    Anyways, after umpteenth calls to call centre I got it reversed. However Rs 25 shows up in my bill the next month as well! This happened for 3 months in a row. I made it a Sunday chore to call up Airtel call centre and give them a piece of my mind - I even got a written apology from one of the customer care managers. Now they have realised their costs for attending to my calls to customer care are much higher than Rs 25 per month and have stopped all this stuff.
    This is not an isolated case. I checked with a few relatives who use Airtel and lo! Everyone had some VAS charges in their bill which they never asked for!

    Request to all readers - Please check your bills carefully and don’t back out from calling the customer care. If they don’t attend to your problem in one go, keep calling till it gets resolved – soon they will realize its not worth adding unsolicited VAS to your bill.

    As for Vodafone - have been using postpaid connection for more than 2 years and have never faced such issues.

  8. according to me vodafone is ok. I also had a spice sim. Spice Karnataka really rips you off. If you ever think of just browsing the VAS better think twice cause you are going to loose at least 30 bucks without any reason. Even if you are caution on accidental clicks. And there is automatic registration of caller tunes, where 30 bucks go off without any reason and I have to waste 3 more bucks to unregister it again and again. Well I had learnt my lesson and being budget conscience (my parents aren't "Bill Gate" you know) I ditched Spice and I am currently happy with vodafone.

  9. Since you understand the issues well, why don't you call them up?

    Blogging about them might cause the telco some damage, but letting it pass only sets the wrong precedent.

  10. Unfortunately, operators in India stick to such cheap (pun intended) ways to make money from VAS, not realizing there is a pot of gold if they can make VAS work, and have useful applications on your phone.

  11. same probs here man.......i had a post-paid, those guys were looting me every month shamelessly , everytime there would be a problem with the bill amount since i had 700 mins mobile to mobile at 10ps and these guys made the billing system so convoluted that we couldn't actually figure out how much they were actually giving free and how much was i shifted to pre-paid airtel and for the first 2 months things were gr8........then suddenly my old caller tune from months ago popped up on my mobile from thin air.....i didnt even know the number of the caller tune service when this happened......and when i called them up they were very confident that i had opted for the callertune service myself........and to add to my woes i was totally broke when this happened and the last 32 rupees balance just vanished and my balance became rs.2. i called them at least a dozen times and everytime they would give me assurances that the complaint was officially lodged and i would get my balance back the same day......but till today, 3 months after it has happened not only have i not got my balance back, but they even deducted a further rs.30 for miss-call alert service and the greatest part of all this is that if u have to get rid of either of these services u wud have to call a number where they charge u rs.3 per min !!! and when u call tht gofdforsaken number guess what ??? they make u listen to totally meaningless bullshit for 59 secs...... i actually looked at the call duration......and then give u the menu......and by the time i was finished navigating all those complex menus i managed to rack up a call cost of around rs.12.........what the hell man ?? if there are actually so many cases shudnt someone sue them or something ?? i mean those guys are minting money by actually robbing us, this is breach of trust man.........

  12. Hi Rashmi,

    People's problems with Airtel ki zabardasti ki hellotunes aside, which sadly one has to call to deactivate, the problem I can solve for you is the 15 bucks for your Vodafone callertunes. Each tune comes with a certain validity period, three months to a year, after which you have to pay for that tune again if you want to keep it going. You are not asked whether you want to renew, the money is just added to your bill.

    Hope that explains it!

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