A Moral Victory

Have you been unfairly charged by our service providers? I am sure all of us have faced such a situation at some point in our life. So what do we do? Here's my experience with Vodafone recently.

The Problem
Last week, accidentally a few key presses caused caller tunes to get activated on my Vodafone number. This led to deduction of Rs. 50 from my balance and activation of a crappy ringtone. So, the next day I called up Vodafone Customer Care. They informed me that nothing can be done to deactivate and get back my balance. Instead he had the audacity to tell me "Now that you've activated it, just use it." Like he pays for my bills!

The steps
So, the next day I tweeted about the same. To this, I got a negative reply that there's no chance of getting it back. And two people who experienced the same and never got their money back.
I still decided to go ahead and give it a try. First step was to have a written, verifiable record. Doing this in writing and submitting it at a Vodafone store is difficult to manage with work timings. Thus, I visited the vodafone website and visited "Got a problem" page. So, the best way forward was to contact them. My chosen medium was e-mail.
This was the email sent by me to vodafonecare.mum at vodafone.com

Dear Sir,
On Saturday i accidentally dialed a friend's number and numbers
8*2 got pressed accidently while the call was in progress. This
incident activated caller tune on my number, without any additional
intimation or warning. I just got a SMS to inform me that a caller
tune has been activated on my number. A call to the customer care
proved to be futile. I don't need or want to have a caller tune. I
would just like to have my balance back.
And while at it, it would be surely preferable if an esteemed
telecom company like you stop using such cheap tactics. Just an
additional SMS to confirm the activation of caller tune would be so
much more convenient and error proof. I would urge you to take steps
in this direction and thereby avoiding your customer losing faith in
your services.
Hoping for a positive response.
With Regards
Mehul Ved.

The Response
There was no response to the email. Just as I was considering reaching to the nodal officer, there was a reply. Finally!! 4 days later they reply to me by email that they will get back to me shortly.

Dear Mr.Ved,
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. We hope we have addressed your concern regarding Caller tune charges for your Vodafone mobile number 9819XXXXXX.
In case you need any further assistance, do call or email us, We'll do our best to help you.
Happy to help

I decided to wait for another couple of days to see what happens next.
Finally I got a call 3 days later from Vodafone. I was anxious as to what will be the reply. Luckily they agreed to reverse the charges but made it sounds like they were doing me some favour by saying that they are doing it just this once as a goodwill gesture. Balls they've got.

The Followup
Two days later I did get a refund. But, the refund was worth Rs. 45 instead of Rs. 50 which was originally cut. Something better than nothing.
This was followed up with an email from my side as to how they can improve the system to remove this inconvenience. Here's the text from the email

Thank you for addressing my query. I would appreciate if steps are
taken to correct the fault in the procedure for copying caller tunes
from friend. The current procedure is causing inconvenience and
feeling of dissatisfaction amongst many customers of Vodafone. The
current procedure is
1) Dial your friend's number
2) Press while the friend's caller tune is playing
3) Send SMS to inform of activation of service.
If you notice here, there is no step for confirmation in accidental
press of
This procedure could be easily corrected by implementing the following steps
1) Dial your friend's number
2) Press * while the friend's caller tune is playing
3) Send SMS that a request has been sent for activation of caller
tunes. Do you want to really activate caller tune?
4) Once the confirmation SMS is sent, activate the caller tunes
5) Send SMS to inform of activation of service.

I hope this post will help others who've been bullied by their service providers and have been unfairly charged for services. If you do have such experiences of your own, please do post it on your blog to give it a visibility and motivate people to not take the atrocities of the service providers, just lying down.

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