When it comes to selling of mobile connections, the Mobile companies have established a chain of their own Customer Services Centers, Franchise Outlets and the Retail outlets aided by ferocious marketing campaigns. However when it comes to disconnection of services, almost every conceivable hurdle is created to fleece the money/refund of the users. Recently I visited multiple Mobile Services Providers for the disconnection of my Post Paid connections. To my surprise, the Franchise outlets and the Retail points which are selling the Post-paid services do not entertain the disconnection requests and tell the users to visit their main official Customer Services outlet which is generally miles away from one’s area of residence.
When visited the Customer Services outlet, the staff posted there told me that in case of disconnection of service, the security amount can only be refunded through a cheque. When requested for that option, the official to my surprise told that the Cheque can only be issued if the outstanding payment is more that Rs 1000. Finding me helpless, the officer came up with a novel idea of advising me not to pay the bill as the company will automatically block the services and disconnect the connection if the payment is not received for three months. As per the remaining amount in my account, the representative told me to utilise it instead of “wasting” it. Similarly another Mobile Operator was friendly enough to accept my disconnection request, however when asked for the refund, they told me to come back personally after a week to collect the payment. In other words, keeping in view the price of fuel, to get a refund of Rs 1,000, I have to spend around Rs 1,500 plus the time spent on doing this noble act of disconnection as per the rules. In short, the Mobile companies are using these unfriendly tactics to discourage the customers for any refunds; thus holding back millions of rupees to their own benefit. In a country where the regulator has almost no control and the concept of consumer rights almost non-existent, there is little hope that the Mobile Companies will come up with a fair policy for the refunds.
DR. IRFAN ZAFAR,
Islamabad, June 13.