This is the story of Hutch phone connection 98117 32142 which, thankfully, I dont own anymore.
Not only is this a story of how a even billion dollar multinationals treat their clients with sheer apathy , there is something in this for the average Indian consumer to learn.
Firstly, the name on the bill is misspelt.
Now, why didn’t I get it corrected? Simply because I couldn’t.
Years ago, I did make a few futile calls to customer care to inform them that my name is spelt incorrectly. The customer care was positively cold about it and started explaining to me that it was all my fault. Instead of typing my name as “Krishnan”, somebody in Hutch must have mistyped it as “Krishana”, and now it became my fault that my name was incorrect!
The fact of the matter is that even before a SIM card was allotted to me, I was required to fill in application forms and even produce photo identification of myself. Any logical person would expect that when a company requires so many details about him, it will atleast bother to verify the name of a person against what is shown in identifying documents. But hey, logic doesnt work with Hutch.
Secondly, the address indicated on the bill was incorrect.
“A-4, Institutional area” was typed as “A-4I nstutional area”
Now whose responsibility is it to employ people with atleast basic skills to type in simple things correctly?
Thirdly, the company name on the bill was incorrect.
The company name was printed as “Techip” instead of “Technip”. At the time this bill was made, Technip’s building all in black glass was such an attractive building and the company name was displayed prominently on top.
Now this really makes one wonder what the fuss about verification is all about.
If your verification executives cannot identify huge bulidings with names written prominently on them, what are they going to verify?
Now if you notice the bill carefully you can see a “C/o Process” written above my name. That, interestingly, was added much later on to the address because it was not possible for the Hutch courier guy to trace me by my name and hence my department was also added on to it. While Hutch could add an extra line to my address to locate me in my office, it wouldn’t correct my misspelt name!
I was so upset when I recieved the first phone bill that I talked to customer care executives several times about all these. But nothing ever happened. Hutch simply doesnt care and doesn’t give a damn!
I decided to go with it and continued to pay my bills for many months thereafter.
Soon, I had to relocate to Gurgaon to accept a new job. I figured that I didnt need the extra connection anymore and decided to surrender it. The decision to surrender the card was partly influenced by the fact that I had signed up for Airtel Broadband Internet at home which came with a free land-line phone.
I drove to the Hutch Shop in JMD towers, Gurgaon and explained that I was surrendering my SIM. I requested that my last outstanding bill be adjusted against the advance I had paid. The customer care guy flatly refused saying, that I had to first pay in my last month bill only then Hutch would consider re-imbursing my advance.
I had to pay Rs. 700+ to get a re-imbursement of Rs.652! If it were not for an honest guy like me, only an oxymoron would have done that.
I paid the money.
After paying the bill, I produced it at the counter and patiently explained to guy at the counter that I needed a cheque with my correct name written on it. He asked my to leave behind a copy of my identification documents and issued me an acknowledgement with my correct name written on it.
When the cheque came about a month later, it still had my misspelt name on it.
I again drove to Hutch shop. I surrendered the cheque saying my name on it was misspelt. This time the guy at the counter wanted a written request and a copy of my identification documents. For a third time, I submitted my identification documents to Hutch, along with a written request.
Months passed by and there was no sign of a cheque.
I again drove down to Hutch shop. This time I was surprised by a Trainee sitting at the counter who listened to my case patiently and agreed to help if I left behind with them a copy of my identification documents. As per him, the case was already deemed closed by Hutch because their courier company reported that my house was locked a couple of times and hence they assumed that I didn’t want my money back. I couldn’t verify the correctness of the claim as both me and my wife work and our house would remain locked throughout the day.
I insisted that I wanted the money back and a new reference number was assigned to me as a hand written addition on the acknowledgement slip. The guy was totally apologetic and promised to call me when my cheque would be ready and I could pick it up from that very office.
A few weeks later when nothing had happened, I again drove down to the Hutch shop.
I was told that the cheque was ready and I could collect it if I presented a proof of identification and signed on an acknowledgement. I pulled out my drivers licence. The guy at the counter handed over the cheque and the acknowledgement.
To my utter surprise, this time too the cheque had my name misprinted on it.
I demanded to speak to the guy who handled this case last time. But someone else turned up and assured me that everything will be set right by 20th August and the cheque will be delivered to my house. He explained to me that as per the rules of the company he cannot order to settle my dues even though he agreed that the connection was no longer in use and the company and there was surplus money that needed to be re-imbursed back to me. As an act of consolation, he even gave me his name and personal contact number written on a piece of paper with his signature on it and assured me that he will not fail this time.
And these guys whose authority is less that Rs. 650 are the same ones who are dressed up in fancy uniforms and are expected to speak to clients with an aped american accent.
At the end of the story, I dont particulary care if Hutch pays my money back. I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t.
All I’m hoping is to present this case to its CEO to see how he reacts. I’m frantically searching for his email. Anybody who knows please let me know.
As an engineer I’ve always been taught that functionality is above appearance or for that matter anything else. I stand witness to the fact that the Hutch’s system of caring for its common customer is a complete fiasco.
I will be moving to Airtel with whom I’ve had a very pleasent experience atleast when it comes to broadband internet. I will continue to pay the rental for my present Hutch number for a few more months till my Airtel new number is passed on to my friends, relatives and even on to my resume.
I’ve had different mobile numbers in Tamil Nadu, Assam, Delhi and have never thought it to be of any significance. You throw out an old number and buy a new number. Period.
Aircel and Reliance have always handled my accounts well. Airtel too has managed to provide satisfactory service.
In case of Hutch, what I feel bad about is bad business sense. Hutch customer care execs somehow fail to realise that the very purpose of their job is to save time for clients like me and keep them happy.
In reality, there continue to be many companies like Hutch which fully understand that the Indian customer is eternally vulnerable to such acts of apathy and even walking away with petty amounts of cash. The legal system in India is so slow and complex that the common man cannot waste his time fighting over paltry sums of money which is over charged to him or not refunded to him.I only hope that some day such companies will learn their lesson.
And the best proof for Hutch customer care, type “hutch care” with quotes in google and hit the “Im feeling lucky” button. It redirects you here and you see what google thinks of Hutch care!