Learning these lessons is far stronger if you happen to be in Aircel Odisha Circle.
I must profusely thank Aircel that has over the last 1.5 months taught me so much to last me a lifetime. I have emerged from this experience far more wiser, mentally stronger (physically too, from holding phone for hours trying to reach them). I can now forgive anyone, for what Aircel has done to me is something I won’t even wish upon my enemies.
1. Here is how it all started.
On some fateful day, I decided to use Aircel 3G for my broadband internet connection. I purchased a 3G dongle and popped my Aircel SIM inside. Voila, it worked without fuss, which led me to mistakenly believe that it would always work like a charm. Big mistake.
Lesson 1: Never get too carried away by early success. Keep your feet grounded when you are dealing with absolutely risky products.
2. You have Zero Balance: Phase-I (1st Feb. 2015, 11:33 pm)
My 3G data suddenly was cut off. I was surprised because I had sufficient data balance from the last recharge. My data consumption was within limit, I checked. To be sure, I checked my talk time balance too. It was a Big Zero. Precisely Rs. 0.00.
There is absolutely no use of talk time for me, because the SIM is always inside the dongle, used only for data. I was too tied up with work and wanted internet fast. I ignored it as a minor flaw in Aircel’s systems and went for a Rs. 50 recharge. The recharge went on smoothly and I was elated that I will be on net soon!
3. You have Zero Balance: Phase-II (24 minutes later)
When internet didn’t work, I checked my balance again. With hardly any use of data, and 20 harrowing minute of trying to make it work, I am back to Zero. For absolutely no apparent reason on earth!
I was terribly upset and wanted to take the customer service to task. The next 40 minutes or so, I tried to reach them frantically. At that hour, none of my calls went through to Aircel. It kept on saying Dial 1 or Odiya, and 2 for English, irrespective of what I dialed.
Lesson 2: Life is ephemeral. Talk time balance more so. Also whether the call gets connected or not, one must keep trying. For Krishna had said, do your duty, don’t expect results.
4. I recharged my talk time and data balance again (the same night)
When I couldn’t speak to customer care, by some cruel twist of fate I again ignored the zero balance (may be because I was already feeling sleepy or I was desperately trying to make internet work) and went ahead to recharge talk time for Rs. 60 and Data for Rs. 275.
Point to note is that Rs. 275 recharge gives unlimited 2G for a month. So how so much you use data, your main balance can’t be zero (at least I naively believed so) for at least a month.
5. You have Zero Balance: Phase-III (18th Feb. 2015, 22:50 pm – only 17 days later)
After using internet for just about 17 days (with 30 days unlimited recharge) the balance is zero again. All these while, the SIM has only been used for data inside the dongle, and not a single call made to anyone.
I tried my best to keep my cool and tried to reach customer care. Not once, but at least three times, as per my phone records. When I finally got to speak to someone, to my utter shock I was told they don’t have my SIM data for more than a week and can’t help me. For a few moments, I was blinded by rage and didn’t know what to do. I somehow gathered myself and thanked Aircel for 17 days of internet for the price of 30 days.
Lesson 3: Some happiness in life are short-lived for no fault of yours. You have to accept it if you wish to survive in the long run.
6. I had no other option (19th Feb 2015 , the next day)
I thought something must be eating away the balance, may be a rogue service from Aircel, which these guys regularly activate to fleece customers. So I decided to play safe and disabled all VAS services (not that anything was enabled by me in the first place). At 22:48 pm on 19th Feb, I got a confirmation that there is no VAS on my SIM.
With no internet and work piling up at home, I thought I would give one last shot to Aircel. It’s after all run by mortals like us and there might be a system glitch somewhere. I will speak to customer care at length or escalate it to the next higher authority and settle all the issues once and for all, and get back all my money (how innocent I was!). Plus because the data was working after all for 17 days, the loss is minimal.
I made a talk time recharge of Rs. 30 because internet will not work with zero balance.
…and also did a data recharge of Rs. 275 (30 days unlimited 2G, 2GB 3G).
That night (19th Feb), like previous night, I tried my best to reach out to Aircel and coax, cajole or plead them to understand how much they have bled me in the last one month, make them take pity on my plight and give me my money back. But the folks at Aircel Odisha customer care transcend all definitions of stupidity. They are hired to torment a troubled customer. I gave up to salvage my dwindling sanity. Here are the calls made.
Lesson 4: To err is human. To err like Aircel and its customer care folks is Super Human.
7. The Final Nail in Coffin (20th Feb 2015, 6:49 am)
After spending Rs. 305 on recharge the previous night, the next morning, the first thing I did was check my balance because I had lost all faith on the organization. Even though only couple of hours had passed since previous recharge with hardly any net use, Aircel has done it again. Balance is back to zero. I looked up at the roof in sheer despair, clenched my fist in utter frustration and helplessness of a hapless prepaid consumer and brought down my fist on the table.
Few moments later, I thanked the Gods for maintaining my sanity. I was not just alive, I was able to think rationally after all the atrocity.
But wait wait! I re-looked at the messages above. They have been kind enough to give me free 20 MB data for 3 nights as a reward for my exemplary patience! They are happy that I have been constantly doing voice recharge without raising a voice.
Lesson 5: When you are completely broken, when all seems to have lost, check again. You might have 20 MB data for three nights!
8. My Last and Final Attempt to speak to the enemies of humanity (22nd March 2015)
Before writing this post on 22nd March, about a month after what Aircel did to me (I kept on postponing this post because of the effort it required), I thought I would give them a last and final chance to explain to me the reasons for such terrible treatment.
I could get through to the customer service representative in first attempt, which in itself was unbelievable. I almost jumped in joy, as if Narendra Modi was on the other side. Before I could properly celebrate, the customer care lady came online and listened to me carefully. My happiness knew no bounds. Finally someone was listening to my plight.
And as a bolt from the blue, she curtly said, “Call back after 4 hours. All Systems are down. Can’t help you”. The same dreaded response from Aircel which I so much feared a month back was back.
9. Enter Sunny Leone
You can fault Aircel for everything, but not for their sense of humour. After robbing me of at least Rs. 700/-, making me agonize for a month, leaving me sulking and licking my wounds after each call to customer care, they offered me the panacea to it all: Sunny Leone.
Lesson 6: When you use Aircel’s services and ignore Sunny Leone, do so at your own peril.