The Fine Prints: How RelianceIndiaCall confused (read:cheated) customers.
I have been using RelianceIndiaCall service for about 3 years now to call my family & friends in India. The voice clarity has been pretty good, not much of dropped calls and reasonably cost-effective too. However, a recent experience is making me re-think if I should continue using this service. Here's the series of interactions that led to my distasteful experience with RelianceIndiaCall:
(1.) Mail I received from RelianceIndiaCall on Dec 22, 2006.
It gives us great pleasure to share with you, that Reliance India Call now has a million customers around the world. While we are justifiably elated with this achievement, what makes it truly memorable, is your commitment and trust in this relationship that we share over the last few years and which has made this happen.
We would like to thank you in this glorious moment of ours, through a special Celebration Offer. The Reliance India Call Celebration Offer calls now made to India benefits Reliance network (93 mobile, land line & 7.4 cents FWP numbers) other networks 7.9 cents.
Only 1st two recharges double talk time US cents per minute, billing pulse 60 seconds offer valid from 21st December 2006 18:00 hrs IST up to 31st January 2007 23:59 hrs IST offer valid for new registrations up to 15th January 2007 23:59 hrs IST terms and conditions apply, for details of the offer, please log on to our website." [Their website on Dec 23, had the same promotional details - double talk time on 1st two re-charges].
"So now, go ahead and enjoy the benefits of our Celebration offer during this festive season, as you continue to enjoy the same crystal clear voice clarity and other advantages that are unique to Reliance India Call. For any queries you can contact our 24/7 Customer Care Service1-888-6-RELIANCE [protected]) or log on to our websitewww.relianceindiacall.com. Assuring you of our best services at all times. Regards Reliance India Call team"
(2.) A second mail dated Dec 23, 2006, from RelianceIndiaCall confirming the above promotion (of double re-charge amounts for 1st two re-charges under the promotion.
Greetings of the day!
As we understand from your mail, you have concerns regarding your recharge. This is to inform you that in this celebration offer under Prepaid plan you would get double the recharge amount on the 1st two-recharges done from the date of offer launched up to 31st January 2007 23:59 Hrs IST.
Further to inform you that there is no validity period for prepaid vouchers. The recharge credited to your account does not expire as long as your account remains active.
We hope, that we have helped you resolve the query. In case you require any further details/clarifications, kindly contact us through our website at www.relianceindiacall.com or by calling Customer Care at [protected] or email us at email@example.com.
Customer CareReliance India Call"
(3.) So I went ahead and made 2 re-charges over a period of 1 week... All under their promo. scheme.
(4.) The 1st re-charge happened fine, and the double re-charge was credited to my account soon.
(5.) Now, after the 2nd re-charge, I realized I did not get the double re-charge credit :-? So I asked them why... Here's their response -
We at Reliance India Call have been truly overwhelmed by your response tour Celebration Offer. This is encouraging for us because we are constantly looking at ways to be of better service to you.
However, we request you to visit our website (www.relianceindiacall.com)and read the terms and conditions carefully before taking up the offer. This will help you get the complete picture of the offer before the celebrations start at your end. Assuring you of our best services at all times. Thanking you.
Regards,Reliance India Call team"
I have a strong aversion to companies that try to mislead (or is "cheat" the word here?) their customers by a whole lot of fine prints - for low ticket items like the referred one, how many of us do actually *read* all their lengthy user agreements??
- We choose a service based on certain broad criteria;
- Moreover, when it is a branded service (like that of RelianceIndiaCall), we are even okay with paying a slight premium (price) given the understanding that the service carries the company's implicit promise to not to cheat/mislead their customers.
But, what RelianceIndiaCall did - it is unprofessional to say the least. They might have a whole lot of fine prints (that keep on changing at a pace that you can not even keep a track of it) on their website that would allow them protection in all such cases; But, from the point of view of customer (and that too a regular one) - this tantamount to cheating!
Perhaps, in their view of being customer-centric (rather, lack of it), it might not be of any significance to them even if they lose a loyal customer. It's only when there's a spate of customer switches, then they might wake up one fine day and hold a Customer Retention Team meeting deliberating on the hows & the whys... And all this while, choosing to ignore the initial indicators of customer dissatisfaction.
This is indeed sad!