Harshdeep 2.0

July 23, 2006

Airtel trying to fool its customers

Filed under: Uncategorized — harshdeep @ 7:47 am

A couple of suggestions for Airtel

  1. Don’t try to fool your customers – they aren’t as stupid as you’d like them to be.
  2. If you can’t follow the first suggestion, at least don’t hire fools to fool your customers.

Yesterday, I got a call from one Bhupinder who said he was calling from Airtel. He tried to make me spend 60 bucks for a service that’s completely free.

He wanted to help me set up live TV streaming on my phone. Instead of just giving me the link to visit, he asked me to download a “hotbabes” mobile wallpaper from Airtel Live. That didn’t make any sense. I asked him why that was required. He vaguely answered that this was to activate the service – you need to download 6 such pictures, they are passwords or something. That’s plain idiotic – each download would cost me 10 bucks, and it’s definitely not a requirement to activate live tv. I told him so. He tried to reason with me that downloading the wallpapers wouldn’t cost me anything, though it was clearly mentioned on the website. He could sense that I was angry, so he left it there, gave me the URL for video streaming, which anyone can easily navigate to on the Airtel Live page, and hung up after making sure that video was streaming correctly.

After hanging up, I called up Airtel customer care. Their response to this story was that the number from which I got the call, does not belong to Airtel customer care. The customer care executive told me that she’d talk to her senior about this and will call me back in 2 hours. It’s been more than 24 hours and still no call.

It’s absolutely unbelievable that Airtel was not behind this call – they are the ones who get 10 bucks per download of the wallpapers I was pointed to.

I must say that I admire Airtel for the quality and spread of their network. They’ve played a big role in the mobile revolution in India.

But is it too hard to do business ethically?



  1. Often, the content providers get a cut of the downloads. Airtel would certainly get some of the fee, but so would the the company that provided the content to them. I’m guessing it’s the third party that called you.

    Comment by Nick — July 23, 2006 @ 8:14 am

  2. Its a competitive market…companies have to make money anyway they can.
    Welcome to Capitalism 101!

    Comment by Jay — July 23, 2006 @ 9:38 am

  3. Sounds much more like an identity theif to me.

    Most cold call identity thefts include some sort of monitary point. Many people will focus on the money and completely forget not to give all of their info to a stranger.

    What info did you give him?

    Comment by moot — July 23, 2006 @ 9:47 am

  4. Yea, there is a possibility that the content providers called me. Regarding identity theft, the guy already knew my name and the phone model I use – other than this, he didn’t ask for any information.

    Comment by harshdeep — July 24, 2006 @ 6:56 pm

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