Tuesday, July 05, 2005

No coverage

Unsolicited phone calls from banks and credit-card companies we all know about. But what do you do when you get a phone call that’s solicited and welcome, but then, after five precious minutes of your life have been wasted, you realise no good is going to come of it?

A couple of months ago, when I was scouting for broadband connections for my new laptop, I called Airtel and discovered to my bemusement that they “didn’t have coverage” in the part of Saket I lived in, just five minutes away from the PVR complex. “But we’ll have soon, sir” said the customer-care executive, noting my cellphone number and promising that I’d be intimated when it happened.

Hours turned into days, days into weeks, like in the voiceovers for the Lord of the Rings movies. I got a Tata Indicom dial-up connection, which sometimes worked. Then, yesterday, the much-awaited call from Airtel came.

Customer Care Executive: Hello, Mr Jai Arjun ji se baat ho sakti hai please?
Jai (annoyed at people who call on your cellphone and assume it isn’t you on the line): Ji haan, boliye.
CCE: Madam, I want to speak only to Mr Jai Arjun.
J (adopting gruffest, manliest tone): Boss, this is Mr Jai Arjun speaking!
CCE: Oh, very sorry sir. Sir, I’m calling from Airtel. You had made enquiry about our broadband connection?
J (cheering up instantly): Yes, yes. Do you have coverage in our area now?
CCE: Absolutely, sir! We have very nice coverage. Excellent speed and very attractive schemes. Super-fast connection, 24 hours a day and best payment options according to your convenience. Up to 500 MB download free.

J: No dial-up or telephone instruments or USB ports?
CCE: No, sir. This is broadband. Very simple facility.
J: Excellent! So when can you come and install it?
CCE: Anytime at your convenience, sir. You name the time, I will send the boy with our full list of schemes. And we’ll install it within 24 hours after that. All for your convenience. Can I have your address please?
J: Yes, these are the Golf View Apartments in Saket, please note down the number…
CCE (after brief silence): Sir, Golf View Apartments? But we have no coverage there.
J (slow burn): Why did you call me then, just to gloat?
CCE: No sir, I thought you stayed in Saket.
J: I do stay in Saket. Golf View Apartments, Saket.
CCE: Sorry sir, we thought you stayed in PVR complex.
J (rage coursing through veins): Boss, no one stays in the PVR complex. People go there to watch films and to loiter uselessly. I thought you had my full address in your records.
CCE: Most sorry sir, our mistake. But we will definitely have coverage in your area in two months’ time. I will call you then. Goodbye. (Disconnects)

But I’ll have my revenge yet. Friends have warned me that after I start freelancing my creditworthiness will plummet. So the next time someone calls to tell me about a very attractive bank loan I’ll listen to the whole thing patiently, evince interest, ask them to send their man over with the papers…and only reveal at the last possible moment that there’s been a change in my professional status and I’m no longer loan-worthy. Ha! That’ll show them all.


  1. Amit,

    I'm sure he picks up the ringing/quivering telephone and commences the conversation with: "Jai Arjun Singh".

    Delhiite cellphonewallahs who are brought up on Narendra Chanchal/T-Series music may be going, "Jai Mata Di to you too, madam"

  2. Maybe I'll get a better internet service if i start calling myself anangbhai in the real world.

  3. Oh here's another tip, although its not on phone spammers. If you get real paper mail spam with the postage paid envelope, what you should do is get some flyers from another company (preferably the opposing company, like use cingular if the envelope is from T-mobile and so on, but regular flyers will do as well) and put the flyers in those postage paid envelopes and mail them. The companies that send you those mails pay lot of money for that postage paid envelope so real soon you will find yourself with an empty mailbox....unless you also get real snail mail.

  4. I see Bharti is still providing its excellent customer service. When we moved from DefCOl to CR Park, we arranged with a nice, friendly salesman to transfer our telephone connection and begin DSL broadband service the next month (when we were to move). A week later, technicians showed up in DefCol to connect our broadband service. I explained that I wanted the connection transfered to CR Park and broadband set up there, and they went away, seemingly on the same page. About the time we were ready to move, we still hadn't heard from Bharti, so I called them up to find out what was going on. Sir, they told me, I see here that you canceled your request to have broadband Internet installed. Again I explained the situation. Again I was assured that everybody now understood what was meant to happen. I moved to CR Park. Nothing happened. I went to the Touchtel office to meet the people in person. Sir, they told me, now you are here we'll fix you right up. They took down my address in triplicate once again, much cowed by my attempt to get my Rs. 500 deposit back. Then, later that day, they called me to inform me that there was no service in CR Park because they had "no pillars" (whatever that means). I began proceedings to get my Rs. 500 back - I say it that way because it was like doing complex mathematics. When I finally went back to the Touchtel office a third time, seemingly on the brnk of actually getting my deposit back, the salesman there tried again to get me to "avail" of the promotional offer they had to waive the connection fee for DSL service. "But you have no pillars in CR Park," I explained. Half an hour later, he was still arguing.

    These bastards don't know anything except how to write your name down and forward the documents to somebody else, I decided. They don't even know where they have service and where they don't.

  5. Ha ha..Jai maybe the stray dogs who actually live in the PVR Complex are enjoying high speed connections to the cyber world :-))

    PS..is the touchtel connection really DSL or just another dial-up with 'broadband' tag ?

  6. in pvr, not in golf view.
    sheesh, trust these guys to do this.
    forget hi speed Internet, what abot hi speed service?

  7. All these CCE love doin apeshit.

    The best one is "Please pay your bill as soon as possible to avoid disconnection".

    Esp when I had paid the bill a week before.

  8. hahahahahaha lol!!
    good one :))
    hit your website, while i was surfing for airtel numbers in and around saket :)
    could you pass it oon to me please :)

    btw, nice blog! :)