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TRAI must act against Reliance Communications for Duping Customers During their 4G Upgrade

This petition had 1,881 supporters


Can a Telecom Service Provider(TSP)... Mis-sell a product or service? Dishonor the Service Contract? Erroneously bill thousands of customers? Confiscate Prepaid Data balances? Breach the Advance Rental Contract? Abandon a LifeTime Bill Plan? WELL! IF IT CAN & ESCAPE LAW, we are setting a WRONG PRECEDENT.

Our APPEAL to TRAI! PLEASE INTERVENETAKE ACTION.

TRAI MUST 1) Form a committee to look into the above violations done by RCOM during 4G Migration 2) Penalize the TSP if found guilty 3) Immediately form a Special Cell to Monitor & Fast Track the RCOM 4G Migration Grievance Redressal process! 

        As you must be aware, Reliance Communications(RCOM) recently upgraded their CDMA network to 4G. Before the upgrade, they sent regular emails to the (postpaid) customers, the last one received on 4th July 2016, saying that the existing bill plan and rentals shall remain the same after the upgrade. Similarly, they lured (prepaid as well as postpaid) customers to migrate to 4G, by offering 10GB free 4G data post upgrade.

       When the customers actually migrated , they sent an email to postpaid users, saying that their bill plan is being changed to Rs. 1100 (5GB) per month and if they don't contact or call back RCOM, it will be set as their default plan. Subsequently, for all postpaid customers , the bill plan was changed to 1100(5GB) without their consent! (Rs. 900 as per the rate in new circles)

       Users (prepaid as well as postpaid) were also shocked when the 10GB free data offer was withdrawn immediately after they already committed to 4G by buying expensive devices.

       Besides this, some customers were migrated even before the 4G services were available in their area and many faced connection issues during the upgrade.

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LIST OF GRIEVANCES:

GREATEST WORRY!   Reliance Customer Care (customercare@relianceada.com) and Reliance Appellate Authority are not even acknowledging the complaints sent via EMAIL? Why? To avoid litigation? Do they expect everyone to be available on phones always? So should we assume that "Two Tier Institutionalized Grievances Redressal Mechanismestablished by TRAI/DOT is not working anymore? As per the guidelines defined, the Appellate Authority needs to TAKE THE APPEAL ON EMAIL besides in person and ACKNOWLEDGE it with a unique appeal number.

1- RCOM promised before 4G migration that the bill plan and rentals for (postpaid) customers shall remain the same after upgrade. After 4G upgrade, they sent an email informing that their bill plan is being revised, the default being set to 1100 for 5GB, for those who do not call back their customer care center. Some customers never received this email!  No SMS or Alert was sent when the plan came in force. Many postpaid users have received bills in the range of 5000 to 15000 as their UNLIMITED plan (40GB@999) was changed to LIMITED plan without informing them. Not only this, their services have been stopped until they pay the bill!

    IN OTHER WORDS, RCOM MIS-SELLED its 4G devices and services to consumers, by making false promises!

2- RCOM promised that (prepaid as well as postpaid) customers will get 10GB free 4G data post upgrade. The offer was withdrawn when customers committed to 4G by buying expensive devices!

3- Prepaid Customer Balances have been forfeited. The customers who did long time validity recharge spending Rs. 3000+  , found that their balance data has not been carried forward.

4- Advance Rental Contracts signed for 6 or 12 months have been breached

5- RCOM promised that its 1GB/month Life Time Plan@3001 introduced in 2014 shall continue after 4G upgrade. When customers upgraded to 4G, buying costly 4G devices, they discontinued it!

6- Some customers were migrated to 4G even before 4G services were activated in their area! For some, the service disruptions lasted for a month.

7- New 4G dongles are being sold @2000 to @2600 in reliance stores instead of Rs. 899 as promised by RCOM in email earlier. This is shocking especially for those who had bought their CDMA WIPOD data card just a few months ago.

8- PostPaid Customers are being told that their new costly bill plan(@1100) can only be changed in the next billing cycle which is unethical.

9- Seeing their costly plans after upgrade , the PostPaid customers who did not buy new 4G WIPOD or new 4G Phones, and thus want to OPT OUT of RCOM, are again facing harassment. They are being made to wait for 10 to 15 days(with billing) before actual terminationRCOM must not bill them as they are not using their services since their old devices do not support 4G. 

10- RCOM stopped 5 million CDMA numbers. Small business and various others have been using these numbers since last ten years and these numbers are now completely stopped. RCOM must at least keep a facility to announce the number change if a person dialed into the old number. 

11- OTHER RELATED NEWS STORIES WHICH SUPPORT THIS PETITION

  a) http://telecomtalk.info/indias-biggest-cdma-shutdown-by-rcom-was-nothing-but-a-big-mess/

 b) http://telecomtalk.info/how-rcom-went-back-on-its-10-gb-4g-promise-to-its-loyal-cdma-and-evdo-subscribers/155011/

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OUR MESSAGE FOR TRAI / DOT:

1.  HOW RCOM PLAYING WITH EXISTING RULES SET BY TRAI/DOT:

REGULATIONS (STEPS) DEFINED in Time Limit For Resolution Document on Telecom Consumer Complaints Monitoring System

a) TIER1: QUOTE FROM DOT  "....Complaints pertaining to fault repair, service disruption and disconnection of service have to be attended within a maximum period of 3 days......"!!! ......... Fault Repair needs to be resolved within 3 days and Disconnection Request needs to be resolved within 7 days.

      As far as service disruption is concerned , thousands of customers faced disruptions during 4G Upgrade, for some it lasted for a month. For some the 4G services are still not available in their area! RCOM can't just blame it on the technical constraints OR the scale of the operation. On the other hand, RCOM takes at least 15-20 days to actually TERMINATE the connection after the termination request is placed. WHY?? WHAT FOR? Mostly, the termination request is closed without resolution and billing is not stopped until the request is placed again.  RCOM is not even ACKNOWLEDGING the emails sent customercare@relianceada.com, without which consumers have no proof in case they need to approach a court. When consumers request them for a response in writing/email, they simply IGNORE the request.

b) TIER2-Appellate Authority : QUOTE FROM DOT: "...Appeal may be submitted with Appellate Authority through e-mail or facsimile or post or in person, without paying any fee. Appellate Authority shall register the appeal and ACKNOWLEDGE the appeal with a unique appeal number...."

         On the other hand, QUOTE FROM Reliance Customer Care Online Page: "...if you are not satisfied with resolution provided by our Complaint Cell, you can register your appeal with appellate authority in your circle in writing? along with the Complaint number provided by the Complaint cell for resolution. The complaint will be resolved within 39? days from the date of filling written appeal? with the Appellate Authority. To appeal please download the appeal form?? here."

        It is clearly mentioned in (DOT) guidelines that Appeal to Appellate authority can be sent via EMAIL, then why does RCOM REQUIRES US to DOWNLOAD AND FILL A FORM??. RCOM Appellate Authority is not even ACKnowledging the appeal on email!

        On top of that it needs "39 DAYS" (its not a typo - THIRTY NINE) to process the appeal! JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED!

2.  We completely understand that as per Department of Telecommunications guidelines "Public Grievance Cell of DoT acts only as a facilitator in the redressal process and is not vested with any powers to penalize the service provider for not redressing the grievance to the satisfaction of the complainant or for delay in redressing the grievance" BUT does that mean that the Service Providers can get away even when their actions caused harassment to thousands of subscribers? Please do not stand like a mute SPECTATOR!

3.   TRAI and DOT CAN'T MERELY FORWARD COMPLAINTS TO SERVICE PROVIDERS

Please bring the new OMBUDSMAN mechanism thought about you you as soon as possible as the current redressal mechanism is weak and has loop holes.

Quote from Economic Times .... Even the disputes are not taken up by consumer courts..The National Telecom Policy 2012 seeks "to undertake legislative measures to bring disputes .. within the jurisdiction of consumer forums established under the Consumer Protection Act", but it is yet to be implemented

          Consumers ... cannot go to TRAI because it cannot entertain individual complaints. If it receives them, TRAI FORWARDS the same to the telecom service provider (TSP) concerned.  Users can approach the DoT, but then, it also does not have much powers ....DoT MERELY FORWARDS complaints to the telecom operator.

       Hence, TRAI and DOT must try to ascertain the number of people affected by the recent RCOM-4G migration and TAKE ACTION! It might take months or years before the new policy is comes into force, whats the INTERIM SOLUTION?

       RCOM must compensate customers for the harassment they faced during the upgrade and also revert the extra rental charged without consent! They must not bill the customers who are not using or do not want to upgrade to 4G or want to opt out of RCOM. On top of all, they should ensure that their grievance redressal process works as per the rules defined by TRAI/DOT.

      Last but not the least , We have COMPLETE FAITH in INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK/BODIES set up by the GOVT. OF INDIA at various levels, and we hope that our grievances shall be looked upon and resolved soon!  We already know that TRAI is working on a improved OMBUDSMAN system like we have in the banking sector, but that will take years to come into force.
       We hope that some INTERIM solution might be worked out by TRAI for the RCOM 4G Migration customer grievances!

IMPORTANT NOTE: The motto of this petition is not to target Reliance Communication (RCOM) in particular.  This petition targets any Telecom Service Provider which violates the TRAI regulations and plays with the Consumer Rights. The scale of the recent 4G migration and the no. of consumers affected is enormous. This is a perfect example of how the combination of Service Provider Apathy and Weak Regulations led to the misery of consumers.

WE CANNOT WIN IF WE ONLY TARGET RCOM and FORGET others. THE ENTIRE SYSTEM needs an overhaul

The focus of this campaign is on consumer protection and consumer rights. Corporates need to be accountable for their actions. They cannot take the consumers for granted. Today, 4G is a hot topic of discussion, but are India's telecom reforms strong enough to ride on the speed of 4G? Today , the Telecom Sector powers the Internet, which will be a revolutionary force resolutely restructuring the economy and society of this century, we should not lose sight of the immense potential of internet economy to boost growth across India and the globe. (Quote  from https://community.data.gov.in/growth-of-internet-users-in-india-and-its-impact-on-our-life/ )

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