It started when I made the dreadful mistake of activating Airtel Mobile TV subscription on my prepaid number. I was hoping to catch the DLF IPL 4 fever live on my mobile when on the move, however right from the start things weren’t right. Initially I was charged Rs. 40 + Rs. 10 for channel subscription, which was immediately charged from my balance (Airtel always gets this right). Hoping to watch the live stream of IPL match on 3G connection with a belief that the quality of stream would be crisp, I was shocked to see that it was difficult to point out the ball! Rs. 50 wasted, I thought and immediately sent and un-subscription message viz. UNSUBTV to 543210 (no point in hearing commentary). I did not receive any confirmation sms notifying that VAS service has been deactivated (Sent the Unsubscription message 3-4 times but to no avail).
How It Started
This is when the problem started. The subsequent day i.e after 24 hours, I was charged daily rental of Mobile TV to which I responded by contact Airtel Presence. Airtel Presence has been efficient in resolving my previous problems and I was pretty confident that getting in touch with them and manually deactivating this VAS service will solve the issue but to my surprise Airtel Presence too showed it was just a sub unit of Airtel and failed to resolve this issue (though money charged from my prepaid balance was refunded duly). This chain of being charged daily for Mobile TV subscription, contacting Airtel Presence and getting refund, continued for almost 3 weeks when I decided to stop (I had exams to study for). During this period I kept my balance almost nil with the hope that Airtel will automatically deactivate the service seeing insufficient balance.
Few days back I again recharged my prepaid mobile number. Everything went fine for 2 days, I was a happy man! But as is the case with all the network operators in India, Airtel couldn’t see a happy customer and again I was charged for Mobile TV subscription. Utterly disappointed with Airtel Presence’s response to my problem, I got in touch with Nodal officer (1st time I was told their servers were down). The nodal officer assured me that the issue will be resolved within 24 hours, a promise that has been continuously broken by Airtel Presence over that last 1 month. Anyway, this time was confident that some resolution will be made once in for all. Within 2 hours some representative from Airtel Office (that’s what he said) called me, I repeated the problem despite giving him the complaint number (god knows what they write in complaint details or whether they do so or not) and was told that the service will be deactivated within 2-3 hours, amount will be refunded and a confirmation call will be made to verify the deactivation. Unfortunately neither have I received any confirmation call nor the refund.
Resolution – NONE
I have had horrendous experience with Airtel in this regard and have been left disappointed. The problem yet to be solved. At this moment all I can think of to get rid of this problem is to opt for MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and switch to Vodafone and/or approach Appellate Authority (which can be a headache plus more wastage of time).
Moreover, one thing that I’d like to mention is that Airtel executives should be courteous enough not to disconnect calls in the middle of conversation. Something similar happened when I got in touch with Airtel Presence before writing this article. Dear Airtel by doing so you are losing your customer’s faith. Be courteous.
Note: I will advise all the Airtel user’s to be very careful in activating any VAS service and especially avoid activating Airtel’s Mobile TV VAS. Also, I have the name and contact number of the lady at Airtel Presence who handled this problem. If some employee from Airtel comes across this article then I am willing to send the details.
UPDATE: After numerous calls and emails to Airtel over a period of 2 months, I finally got the service deactivate once in for all. No recurring deduction. Peace of mind finally. Sigh.