Citizens' Issues
Vodafone pays Rs36,398 as damages and cost to a customer for faulty handsets

Besides refunding Rs6,398 as purchase price of mobile handsets, Vodafone paid Rs10,000 each as damages for the two handsets in addition to the cost of Rs10,000 to Bhagvanji Raiyani of the Forum for Fast Justice

Mobile operator Vodafone has paid Rs36,398 to Bhagvanji Raiyani, chairman and managing trustee of the Forum for Fast Justice, for selling two faulty mobile handsets following an order from the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. This case would be a revelation not only for customers who are sold faulty handsets but also for sellers.

In 2008, Mr Raiyani bought two mobile handsets from Hutchison Max Paging Pvt Ltd, a dealer of Vodafone for Rs6,398. Both the handsets have the name of Vodafone inscribed and came with a warranty of two years. However, both the handsets were unable to get connected to the Vodafone network and were giving a lot of trouble to Mr Raiyani.

Mr Raiyani requested and also filed a complaint with Hutchison Max and Vodafone for replacing the faulty mobile handsets. However, all his requests turned futile as no response came forward from the respondents.

He then filed a complaint before the District Consumer Forum. During the hearing while Vodafone denied any role as manufacture of the handsets, Hutchison Max contended that it is neither an agent of the mobile operator or vice versa. Both companies stated that there was no relationship whatsoever in transacting any business except in the normal course of business existing between the two.

Relying on the complaint, as there was failure from both Vodafone and Hutchison Max to resolve the issue, the District Forum held them responsible for deficiency in service and passed its order. The District Forum directed Vodafone and Hutchison Max to verify mobile handsets for repairs or refund Rs6,398 in case repair was not possible. In addition, the Forum asked both the companies to pay Rs1,000 each for two handsets and Rs2,000 towards cost to Mr Raiyani.

Mr Raiyani did not accept the amount and appealed before the State Commission.

During the hearing, the lawyer for Vodafone submitted before the Commission that both the companies, Vodafone and Hutchison Max are now merged and Hutchison Max does not exist as a separate entity.

The State Commission noted that, “The liability in respect of rendering efficient and proper service to the complainant does not cease consequent upon merger.  The consumer forum passed the impugned order since there was no response from the opponents to the complaints for restoration of smooth service of mobile instruments."

On perusal of records, the Commission said it found no documentary evidence adduced by Mr Raiyani to establish technical fault in the newly purchased handsets. “But it is equally true that no complainant can/or will be in a position to submit such an evidence but will take first step as a prudent consumer to approach and file the complaint with supplier, which the complainant did unfailingly. Therefore, in the instant case, consumer complainant cannot be faulted with as he has taken all precautionary steps as a consumer to lodge complaints and pursue it to the logical conclusion,” the Commission said.

A two-member bench of Dhanraj Khamatkar, presiding member and Narendra Kawde, said, “Both the opponents (Vodafone and Hutchison Max) have miserably failed to deliver effective service to restore the newly purchased handsets to the working position uninterruptedly as can be perused from the record placed before us. We find there is substantive force in the contention of the complainant/appellant as he has been dragged unnecessarily for a small issue to file the consumer complaint and also to pursue the same in appeal.”

The Commission then modified the order of the District Forum. It directed Vodafone to pay Rs10,000 each instead of Rs1,000 as cost of two handsets and Rs10,000 as cost in addition to Rs6,398, the original amount paid for purchase of the mobile handsets to Mr Raiyani.


Kerala govt orders probe into Amway India CEO’s arrest

In the backdrop of police action against Amway, corporate affairs minister Sachin Pilot had stated yesterday that the government is looking to remove the legal ambiguities to differentiate between fraudulent Ponzi schemes and genuine businesses run by “reputed and law-abiding” entities


The Kerala government today ordered a probe into the circumstances that led to the arrest of network marketing firm Amway's Indian chairman and CEO William S Pinckney, an American national.

Kerala minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan asked the South Zone ADGP Shanker Reddy to conduct an investigation into the circumstances that led to the arrest of Amway chief by the State Crime Branch in connection with fraud cases registered against him.

A team of officials from Amway had met home minister the other day and submitted a complaint about the arrest of their CEO, official sources said today.

In the backdrop of police action against Amway, corporate affairs minister Sachin Pilot had stated in Delhi yesterday that the government is looking to remove the legal ambiguities to differentiate between fraudulent Ponzi schemes and genuine businesses run by "reputed and law-abiding" entities.

"We (corporate affairs ministry) will work closely with concerned ministries and industries to remove the ambiguity in the law (related to tackling Ponzi and other fraudulent schemes) as soon as possible," he had stated.

Pinckney and directors Sanjay Malhotra and Anshu Budhraja were arrested by the Wayanad District Crime Branch (Economic Offences Wing) from Kozhikode on 27th May in connection with three fraud cases registered in Wayanad district.

They were booked under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act based on complaints filed by distributors in 2011.

A local court in Wayanad had granted conditional bail to Pinckney and the two company directors the next day of their arrest.

The arrests were based on complaints filed in the Meppady police station by distributors Ashraf and Jaffer in Wayanad district.

The complainants accused the company of failing to ensure the promised benefits to those who joined the network marketing business. They alleged that the company had forced them to buy Amway products which included cosmetics and protein powder for huge sums of money.




4 years ago

It is really shocking that a union minister is behaving like a brand ambassador of an American Chain-money Company.

But the Andhra Police is not paying any heed to the brand Ambassador.

Times of India report:

Andhra police notice against firm (AMWAY):-

While the state police (Kerala) came under fire for acting against Amway officials, their counter parts in Andhra Pradesh have issued a public notice against the firm (AMWAY).



Surya Prakash

In Reply to Dev 4 years ago

Basically Amway is a Direct selling company doing business with products.Joining Business is free of cost and there is no compulsory purchase for inactive ABOs (Amway business Owners).Purchased products has 100 percent return policy even after 33 % usage..In enteir business model ABO s has 100% liberty.But Unfortunately even so many ABO s donot understand the business model.. U cannot make quick money in it is not a Binary model and it is not an Quick money Scheme ..Due to some mis understood ABO s only negative image on Amway is projected..


In Reply to Surya Prakash 4 years ago

Basically, you're either ignorant or a liar. Perhaps a bit of both. If the products are overpriced to the extent customers won't buy them (let's leave out your Mom, she loves you!), there's a money circulation scheme. If much more money is made from the uplines' tools, you have a RICO scam. If the upline is encouraging their downline to buy all of the products so they can tell others how great they are, before they make enough money to buy them, you have a scam. The smoke screen excuses of "no compulsory purchase for inactive ABOs [whatever THAT is], the return policy, 100% liberty, not understanding the business model, no quick money, not binary, not a quick money scheme, etc., is just that, a smoke screen.


In Reply to Dev 4 years ago

Perhaps all of this attention will help move the court cases forward more quickly.

Vinay Isloorkar

4 years ago


Everything in the system can be "fixed", What sovereign interest was served by home minister getting involved with these small fry? Who pulled the strings? Amway seems to have run afoul in Canada as per a comment already posted. China seems to be treating their biz model differently. Lot of eyebrow raising issues are going to crop up!


4 years ago

It was smart to detain the CEO scammer, otherwise he would have fled and not come back to India, just like DeVos and Van Andel did in Canada in the early 80s, and then Amway plead guilty to tax fraud. Amway doesn't have the ethical or moral authority to be involved in business. For more information visit my blog by googling "Stop The Amway Tool Scam Wordpress" to visit my blog, and forward this to every non-Distributor/IBO you know, so they don't get scammed.

Book Review:The Art of Clear Thinking

A complete shortlist of the various behavioural biases we suffer from

In 1932, Rolf Dobelli came across the diaries of his great-uncle. His uncle had immigrated from a tiny Swiss village to Paris to seek his fortune. In August 1940, two months after Paris was occupied by the German Nazi forces, he noted: “Everyone is certain that the Germans will leave by the end of the year. Their officers also confirmed this to me. England will fall as fast as France did, and then we will finally have our Parisian lives back—albeit as part of Germany.” Instead of two months, the Occupation lasted for four years. The long German Occupation of France is now seen not as an accident but part of a military strategy. This is how history comes across to us always: What has actually happened appears to be the most likely of all scenarios, the most obvious outcome and we go on to justify it with reason. Human minds find it hard to think of alternative paths of history—what else could have happened. We are easy prey to what is called a ‘hindsight bias’.

Over the past two decades, behavioural science has opened our eyes to how we actually think and behave. Most often, we act irrationally. Hindsight bias is just one such example. We suffer from endowment effect (cling to things), can’t forget the time and cost spent on a losing enterprise (sunk cost fallacy) and judge decisions by their outcome (and not the process) and come to conclusions by first impressions (primacy and recency effect).

Books describing irrational behaviour and how to deal with it are now common, carrying titles such as Predictably Irrational, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Wilful Blindness, Your Money and Your Brain, The Winner’s Curse, Gut Feelings, Nudge, The Signal and The Noise, etc. Many describe the same famous experiments and, ultimately, hold a mirror to us about the inner workings of our mind, which invariably surprises us.

This book topped the German bestseller list and it is now an international bestseller as well. The book is divided into 99 chapters of only three-four pages each, focusing on one kind of behavioural trait or error that characterises us. The subject matter lends itself to real-life stories and experiments, making the book interesting to read. But Dobelli has chosen these with care. You will find scores of appealing anecdotes.

Here is one. In 1913, Maximilian Ringelmann, a French engineer, studied the performance of horses. He concluded that the power of two animals pulling a coach did not equal twice the power of a single horse. Surprised by this result, he extended his research to humans. He had several men pull a rope and measured the force applied by each individual. On average, if two people were pulling together, each invested just 93% of his individual strength, when three pulled together, it was 85% and, with eight people, it was just 49%.

This is called social-loafing effect. It occurs when individual performance is not directly visible; it blends into the group effort. It occurs among rowers, but not in relay races, because here, individual contribution is evident. Social loafing is rational behaviour: why invest all your energy when half will do—especially when this little shortcut goes unnoticed? Quite simply, social loafing is a form of cheating of which we are all guilty even if it takes place unconsciously just as it did with Ringelmann’s horses.

Here is one more that describes the importance of knowing what you really know and have no opinion about the rest. After receiving the Nobel Prize for physics in 1918, Max Planck went on a tour across Germany. Everywhere he delivered the same lecture on new quantum mechanics.

Over time, his chauffeur grew to know it by heart. He said: ‘It has to be boring giving the same speech each time, Professor Planck. How about I do it for you in Munich? You can sit in the front row and wear my chauffeur’s cap.’ Planck liked the idea, so that evening, the driver held a long lecture on quantum mechanics before a distinguished audience.

Later, a physics professor stood up with a question. The driver recoiled:  ‘Never would I have thought that someone from such an advanced city as Munich would ask such a simple question! My chauffeur will answer it’ he said, passing the mike to Planck.

This apocryphal story has a genuine message: According to Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s partner in Berkshire Hathaway, there are two types of knowledge.

First, real knowledge that we see in people who have committed a large amount of time and effort to understanding a subject. The second type is chauffeur knowledge—knowledge from people who have learned to put on a show. “Unfortunately, it is increasingly difficult to separate true knowledge from chauffeur knowledge,” writes Dobelli. “With news anchors, however, it is still easy. These are actors. Period. Everyone knows it. And yet it continues to astound me how much respect these perfectly-coiffed script readers enjoy, not to mention how much they earn moderating panels about topics they barely fathom. With journalists, it is more difficult. Some have acquired true knowledge. Often, they are veteran reporters who have specialised for years in a clearly defined area… The majority of journalists, however, fall into the category of chauffeur… Their texts are one-sided, short, and—often as compensation for their patchy knowledge—snarky and self-satisfied in tone.”

Rolf Dobelli, a PhD in philosophy, the co-founder of, has not written anything new. Original work on this subject has been done by Daniel Kahnemann (Nobel Prize winner), Amos Taversky, Gerd Gigerenzer and Richard Thaler. Dobelli has put it all together making it highly accessible with bite-sized chapters. And, yet, this book has become a bestseller. In that sense, its success is based on the same human irrationality it describes! Having said that, if there is just one book you should buy on this topic, this is the one, available at a special Indian price.




4 years ago

Thank you Mr. Basu. Simply too good!

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