Airtel and the proof of address

Update – 26-Oct-2010:
If you have landed here to know about Airtel’s announcement to launch 3G services in India, click here.
As per the Government of India, Department of Telecommunications Notification No.1-34/2006-VI (Pt I) dated 30-09-2009, all mobile operators are required to re-verify their subscribers for correct and complete information by 31-10-2010. If you need the list of documents accepted by Airtel, this might help a little.

I recently noted on facebook regarding the new Airtel application for broadband. Based on the few responses, it appears that Airtel has some policies and standards that make no sense [to me]. I’ve blogged about Airtel before regarding a Customer Care incident. Read the article here. This is another experience. I wonder how companies with glitches like this (also ICICI) make it to the top Innovative companies list.

Read on for this story from Airtel – my recent experience when I applied for a broadband connection. It’s not that bad to complain much or whine about; but sure is worth a mention. I just hate it when someone tries to take me for a ride. Most of the times I don’t let them do it. And when they succeed, I blog. [:P]

  1. Invalid address proof: I’ve been an Airtel mobile customer for years now. I change address every time I move without any problem. I never delayed a payment irrespective of the bill receipt. I pay online so I don’t need the bill for payment. One of the reasons I insist I receive the bill is to use it as a proof of address for any other applications/ requirements. Of course other reason being the verification of usage charges and monitor the call volume/ duration trend.When I applied for the broadband connection on Friday 7-May-2010, I offered a copy of the recent bill as a proof of address along with other documentation like PAN, Company ID etc. The executive rejected the document and opted for a rental agreement. He was very sure that Airtel doesn’t believe they keep correct addresses and therefore doesn’t accept the bill as proof. So, they are okay if my bill is not reaching me alright every month? I frankly didn’t know where to start to argue with the guy.
  2. False promise: I came to know later that the normal time it takes to install a broadband connection after submitting the application is 4 days. I wish they could do it a little quicker but frankly doesn’t hurt much. If it takes that long to set up an account and do the physical setup and stuff, agreed; no arguments there.This representative promised he would “login” the application same evening and I can expect an engineer on Monday 10-May-2010 before 9am to install the CPE (Customer Premise Equipment – the phone, modem, cables etc.) I thought that’s probably the right time they need and agreed. I waited till 6pm and called the rep. Surprisingly he disconnected my calls! I would actually expect a call from Airtel as the appointment was not kept with an explanation and to reschedule the installation. Disconnecting my calls irked me a little and I had to raise a complaint with Customer Care about the whole commitment.

    Login is a term even the banks use with respect to applications. I guess it’s their entry into the system to start the workflow, but not sure.
  3. Automation: I think the idea is great, but the implementation sucks. Airtel tried to keep me posted on the progress of the application and set expectations – just that they were not right.
    1. Airtel as a company did not know that the installation was scheduled on 10-May
    2. After few follow up calls and an escalation, it was installed on Tuesday around 5pm; about 32 hours delay
    3. The SMS around lunch time on 11-May (the next day after installation) says the set up will be done in 3 days from then! So they didn’t even know my connection has been active for almost a day? Or, was something incomplete? No info.
    4. There was automated email sent, a Welcome Letter with account number and an attachment with broadband plans. The “From” address/ name? – care.karnataka@airtel.in [:)]

Anyways, the connection is up and running for more than a week now and I guess I should be happy about it. Just hoping it will continue to work and not make me run around 121 calls.

P.S.: I drafted this post late last week and was waiting to click a picture of the SMS to post along with this text. Unfortunately my phone died over the weekend and therefore no pic. [:(]

7 Replies to “Airtel and the proof of address”

  1. Hey Buddy not only for installation… they will torture even for decommissioning also… be careful.. just today went to Airtel office unfortunately and a guy was discussing regarding the same over there… 🙁

    1. Along with my recent mobile bill, I received a printed letter with CEOs email address requesting to contact that mailbox if something like this comes up. Let’s see if there are any more responses here, we can write to that address and see if someone actually reads and acknowledges it.

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