Name Changer -- the ‘Game’ in LPG Distribution
One of the best tricks of the trade in the good old days was for the ‘competent authority’ to mis-spell your name.
 
Train ticket, airline ticket, driving licence, scooter booking, radio licence, income tax refund, sales tax certificate, marriage certificate, school leaving certificate, board exam results, marriage certificates, travel documents, property documents, telephone booking receipt, gas cylinder records, legal paperwork ad infinitum.  My name lends itself to variations, Viresh, Veresh, Mallik, Mullick, and so on and so forth. This culminates into been there, done it, smile and part with a few ‘Gandhis’ (read rupee notes) and move on. 
 
One of the more interesting episodes involved a colleague with the surname "Shah". The ticket issued at the airport, despite showing the passport, was issued to "Saha". He did not look at the document carefully enough, and sure enough, in a well-sprung trap, the counter staff inside the airport denied the ‘Shah ban gaya Saha’, a boarding pass. 
 
A few Gandhis later, the matter was resolved, but I took up cudgels after the act, on return, with long letters protesting the case and demanding a refund. It was all the more enjoyable because the person who had caused the chaos in the first case was one "Rai", so all letters from me to the airline referred to him as "King Mr RAT".
 
I am assuming people have read KING RAT. It has a gory ending. Something like this is happening right now.
 
I have had a cooking gas connection in my correct name for decades now. Luckily the original documents from day-zero are with me, through different dealers as they changed, even the gas company changed itself from Burshane to Bharatgas. At one stage, the Aadhaar number was added, with correct spelling and mobile number, because of which I get the subsidy in my bank account and the SMS confirmation therein.
 
However, somehow, without my noticing it, in the bills, the spelling of my name has changed itself to Verash and my mobile number has disappeared from the dealer's records, even though, as I said before, the subsidy reaches me directly and the SMS message gets through to me on phone too. 
 
Obviously, therefore, somebody has fiddled with the local database at the dealer end. The dealer's staff, magically, know my mobile number, though.
 
What happens, if your dealer database name and phone number are at variance with the records kept by the gas company, in this case Bharat Petroleum (where I am a shareholder of a reasonably large number of shares, by the way) aka BharatGas?
 
1) You cannot raise an online complaint or vigilance report.
2) You cannot make an online payment for a refill.
3) The dealer can threaten to stop supply.
4) Complaints made for gas leakage and emergencies can and do go adrift.
5) You cannot fill any form if the mobile number is wrong or absent.
 
All the above are underway right now. Luckily, we have electrical and solar options for cooking at home, and so we are not dependant on cooking gas at all, so that's one stick the dealer, one Guptaji from Satish & Company, Hauz Khas, South Delhi, cannot beat me with. But he did try to insist that I go through a "change name procedure", which costs Rs500 and buy a new regulator which costs Rs750 and also pay another Rs250 for a new hose pipe. Over and above that, an inspection for "insurance" purposes, another Rs300.
 
So when I sent ‘Mr Gupat’ long letters telling him why I was not going to play along, he got kind of irritated with me referring to him as "Gupat", and refused to attend the gas leak emergency. Luckily, as an ex-tanker man myself, I know how to attend to this sort of stuff myself, but that's not the point.
 
The point is that all the other organisations, government or otherwise, have given up on the minor spelling variation games, and have moved on - or made it easier to fix matters. 
 
It's called ‘correction’. Not "change". 
 
After all, I am very happy with the name my parents gave me, so why is BharatGas aka BPCL ex-Burshane insisting that I have to "change" my name? Because Mr Gupatji of Satish & Company thinks, he can get away with it?
 
Note: If your name and other details have been altered by the dealer or gas company, then a "correction" is their responsibility. Don't get tricked into filling up a "name change" form and then paying for it.
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COMMENTS

krishna

2 months ago

Not sure, how India is No#1 in Information Technology. As a software engineer i can suggest that Govt. of India should maintain "common database" where e.g if you open a bank account or Gas connection, Flight/Train ticket, then Name , DOB, Gender, should be auto-filled by entering Aaadhar or Pan or Voter id number.

But it takes ages for Indian govt. to implement it.
Govt. is busy giving speeches on "digital India" , "Artificial Intelligence", "Machine Learning", "Deep Learning" . .etc. but lacks "common sense" in these kinds of issues.

Thanks for Great Article.

Shrik S

2 months ago

Its a brave conscientious human from inside the system only who can change the game if s/he so chooses.I wonder what all my dad had to go through to maintain that 1 cylinder we used to get from BharatGas dealer.being called a 'madraasi' in the northern parts of the country back in the 80s was a fad and it was ridiculed and appreciated equally but coming to the aspects of name being recorded, having a shorter name was def. some advanage but the spelling letters still varied like writing sun'daram' as sun'dram' or sun'drum'. I need to check whether 2 yrs back when I surrendered my cylinder with the setting up of LPG gas, whether I exchanged extra Gandhis but I do remember that the website had a whole bunch of problems and it irked me no less that I didn't get any response frmo the email IDs that I wrote to.

REPLY

Veeresh Malik

In Reply to Shrik S 2 months ago

We exist happily without cooking gas at all locations in India except at the ancestral home in Delhi. Apart from name, spelling and the whole nine yards, the form online asks for only customer's name but the dealer wants mother's and spouse's name. And will then get some spellings wrong there too.

Veeresh Malik

2 months ago

Further update. Our oil companies have no training programme for dealer principals or key management personnel. These are the people who at last mile are supposed to ensure safety of cooking gas.

Veeresh Malik

2 months ago

The sage continues. The episode started when I observed a leak in the cooking gas system and reported it, the person required to check the leak is supposed to be a "trained mechanic" but the person who came, two different persons, were unable to provide any form of certification that they were "trained". It continues.

Tapan Thakker

2 months ago

I spoke to one my friend who happens to be a dealer of Bharat Gas..
And here are few things I could understand:-
1) Name spelling mistake is because of offline (paper system) to online computer system :- it’s like typo error of staff and as far as it can be understood tht the person is same they update mob no, addhar card etc

2) if ever customers wants to get this typo error corrected BPCL does not have any system to correct this in their software or option is to change it thru Name change. Dealer has all customer records in BPCL software and tht is what they have to use compulsorily..

3) their is no need to change your regulator if it is working fine!! Pipe has an expire date after tht it needs to change..
Mandatory inspection needs to be done every 2 years for insurance purpose and it thru government order specifly know as “Sudha Joshi committee recommendations”

And regulator cost :-295/- pips cost :-190/- mandatory inspection cost is as per ur burner at home:- from 177 to 295/-

Hope this clarifies a lot and u can always msg in comment for any other questions!!

REPLY

Veeresh Malik

In Reply to Tapan Thakker 2 months ago

We have all got friends and family who are dealers and PSU types. As long as gifts flow regularly from one to the other, customer can take a running jump, right?

Your friend is being VERY economical with the Truth, we are also not fools, so pointwise.

1) Customer details flow is not paper-to-device anymore. The subsidy and message about bank update comes to the correct name and mobile number from the same database. Maintaining a separate local database for billing tricks is the reason for bigger game by dealer and side income by forcing customers to "change name/details" is the smaller game.

2) When I made a noise and filed a Public Grievance, all records were corrected by magic or what?


3) Regulator, pipe, expiry date, fine, let us see the details on Bharat Petroleum/BharatGas website. Insurance is another ripoff, the dealer is unable to provide details of master policy, what are they talking about?


I have people from dealer and BharatGas contacting me relentlessly. My background in shipping on tankers chartered to PSU companies, friends and family in the same business, and ground level contacts all point to a much larger fraud in such cases. Let the dealer be audited for name address mistakes, and what should be permissible error. 1%? 5%? 10%?

And as far as Sudha Joshi Committee is concerned, just throwing names around of a report from 1987 does not impress me, please take a look at something more recent in the same context.

Rajesh Nandal vs Lpg Gas Companies on 25 November, 2010, COMPETITION COMMISSION OF lNDlA

Case No. UTPE no. 104I2009 Date 253.1 .10

Rajesh Nandal informant

LPG Gas Companies Respondent

Have a nice day.

Tapan Thakker

In Reply to Veeresh Malik 2 months ago

Hi.
Pointwise reply to ur points...

1) name problem happens only in old cases!!! In new cases once the SV voucher is printed and signed by consumer distributor cant change the same in system!!

2) As i know correction is not possible in bpcl they must have got a name change done witout any charge to u!! As u must have shouted in social media and any ways lpg and petrol pump have dealers are in general know to thiefs due to olden days where LPG and petrol were scares!!
I am not saying all are good but not all are bad also!!!

3) All the dealers have the mandatory inspection letters from their head offices and in a way it’s compulsory!! Website not updated is a miatake of BPCL and dealers has no say in it!!

4) ur details on case is right and after reading it clearly shows tht omc distributer can change customer as per govt guidelines and letters for the same has been issued by ministry!!

Sudha joshi committee in from 1987 and regular letter for revision of charges is issued by ministry to omc’s and same is fowarded to distributos... it’s available with distbutors!!

You too have a nice day..

Tapan Thakker

In Reply to Tapan Thakker 2 months ago

Point 4:- spell check :- distributors can charge and not change!!

Veeresh Malik

In Reply to Tapan Thakker 2 months ago

Only a bad carpenter blames his tools. In this case dealers blame "software" and "computer".

1) Old/new, everything levelled off when Aadhar details were added for subsidy and direct messaging, but if dealer chooses to maintain double books like in the good old days, only this time on computers, then they need to be pulled up.

2) Correction of name and re-addition of mobile phone number as well as correction of PIN code was done at dealer end on their internal database. It was always correct on BPCL database. The fiddle with names and addresses is to make reconciliation difficult. Bear in mind that we use about 3 cyclinders per annum.


3) The BharatGas dealer has not got a single staff member who is PESO accredited or compliant and they don't have the required ID cards or certification either. Compare this with Indane.

I know what I'm talking about. The dealer is supposed to regularly update customer database. If they run multiple databases for customers on different servers or computers then that needs to be investigated. Especially if the receipt issued does not carry a valid consumer number.



Tapan Thakker

In Reply to Veeresh Malik 2 months ago

1)when addhar details were to be added omc’s just udpated their software where this details can be updated and database was the same!!! U say u have all details of their working but i think u dont!!!

2) no dealer can mentain 2 databases because all the bill printings are done online thru OMC software!!! Here again u dnt know the workings... u just saying things which are technically not possible!!

3) BPcL software is everything they dont have any internal database... everning detail of customer and past records stay with bpcl!!! U again dnt know bocl’s working!!

4) U really think this distributors can afford peso certified staff with the commission they get!! And it is no where in their rules also!! Its like asking vodafone to have trai trained staff at their stores!!!

I told u they dnt have other database its all on BPCL server and they just have access to it and permission to update with customers concent!!!

Non of the recipts can be printed without customer number as it comes from server which is fully owned by BPcl or in other cases respective OMC’s!!

Hope this clears ur mind..

Tapan Thakker

In Reply to Veeresh Malik 2 months ago

I think my answer did not get posted... here it is again

1) Datebase has been same just an update to feed in addhar number came in... nothing gets levelled off by just giving an option to update addhar card tht too in bpcl server!!!

2) no dealer can mentain 2 database as all the date is in BPCL server.. smallest of the changes which are required has to be done in tht BPCL OWNED AND OPERATED SOFTWEAR!!

3) What ever is printed is from BPCl software only it can be changed in tht server only which distributor has access to.. Everything is online and every customer can see his details online!!! Its open to all thru bpcl website!! There is no other place to save this data!! Nor dealer can have extra software and its locked down by BPCL!!

3) U really think this distributor can afford to have staff which is peso certified!! Tht too in this commission!! It is not their in rule book of OMC or of ministry!!
Its like asking Vodafone to keep all their staff trai certified in all their stores!!! Think before to talk such things..

4) U really dnt know working of this dealers andeverything printed is from BPcL software and database is govened by BPCL... dealer only have access to it!!! Consumer is printed in all their bills from bpcl only!!!

Hope this helps u!!

Tapan Thakker

In Reply to Veeresh Malik 2 months ago

I think my answer did not get posted... here it is again

1) Datebase has been same just an update to feed in addhar number came in... nothing gets levelled off by just giving an option to update addhar card tht too in bpcl server!!!

2) no dealer can mentain 2 database as all the date is in BPCL server.. smallest of the changes which are required has to be done in tht BPCL OWNED AND OPERATED SOFTWEAR!!

3) What ever is printed is from BPCl software only it can be changed in tht server only which distributor has access to.. Everything is online and every customer can see his details online!!! Its open to all thru bpcl website!! There is no other place to save this data!! Nor dealer can have extra software and its locked down by BPCL!!

3) U really think this distributor can afford to have staff which is peso certified!! Tht too in this commission!! It is not their in rule book of OMC or of ministry!!
Its like asking Vodafone to keep all their staff trai certified in all their stores!!! Think before to talk such things..

4) U really dnt know working of this dealers andeverything printed is from BPcL software and database is govened by BPCL... dealer only have access to it!!! Consumer is printed in all their bills from bpcl only!!!

Hope this helps u!!

Arun Nair

2 months ago

Oh my, i have seen so many of my friends undergoing this scam... in one case (from 1986-87 era) the names of 2 of two elder siblings of my friend were intentionally misspelled in their 10th class certificate which the father got corrected after suitable incentives were handed out. By the time it came to my friends case, the father had caught on to the scam and refused to get the name corrected, as a result he still goes by a misspelled name..

REPLY

Veeresh Malik

In Reply to Arun Nair 2 months ago

Generations of my friends, especially South Indians with multiple long names, have seen their names being mutilated. My own real surname vanished in the sands of time and I am saddled with the honorific my father found himself stuck with one day as a new surname.

Murali Ratnam

2 months ago

Thank you for the alert .Typical
Incredible indian mentality

REPLY

Veeresh Malik

In Reply to Murali Ratnam 2 months ago

Give it back. I've had the bunch of them outside my gate and keep a register especially for this, in which I ask them to enter every possible details - name, father's name, permanent address, present address, office address, senior officer's name and full details, Aadhaar card number, mobile number, declaration about not carrying arms, declaration about not carrying electronic equipment, not allow them to carry mobile phones in. Then I make them walk under a wooden frame and do a security check with a plastic coloured sword or plastic cricket bat. Then I make them sit on a chair whilst I make a few phone calls.

MIHIR AVINASH KULKARNI

2 months ago

When I visited Bharat Gas recently, they were checking if there's some DBTL or not. Don't know what that means, but they charged me some Rs. 263/- for transferring to my name. Also, they asked for a different mobile number.

REPLY

Veeresh Malik

In Reply to MIHIR AVINASH KULKARNI 2 months ago

Bunch of nincompoops at the various levels at BPCL/BharatGas, all they are interested in is gifts from dealers, and consumers can go jump. Their website is useless, dealers invent their own procedures, and customers are unable to do anything.


Till they cross a line with me.


Manage without cooking gas for a few days and teach them "procedures" is what is happening right now.

RBI Limits Liability of Customers in Unauthorised Electronic Transactions Involving PPIs Like Paytm, PhonePe, GooglePay, among Others
After limiting liability of customers in fraudulent bank transactions, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has brought out new (similar) rules for mobile wallet and prepaid payment instruments (PPI) issued by non-banking entities like Paytm, PhonePe, GooglePay, and Amazon Pay. Under the new rules, customers will have a zero liability in case of fraud, negligence or deficiency from the PPI issuer and if the unauthorised electronic transaction is reported by the customer within three days. Most importantly, the burden of proving customer liability in case of unauthorised electronic payment transactions is on the PPI issuer and not on customers, as per the RBI rules.
 
In addition, PPI issuers are asked to ensure that their customers mandatorily register for SMS alerts and, wherever, available, register for e-mail alerts, for electronic payment transactions.
 
Under the new rules, mobile wallet providers like Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay and Amazon Pay, will have to setup a 24/7 customer care helpline to report fraud or any loss or theft or hack of the mobile wallet account of their customers.
 
If the PPI customer suffers a loss due to fraud, negligence or deficiency on the mobile wallet provider, the entire amount would be refunded if the incident is reported within three days. For unauthorised transactions reported between four and seven days, the liability of the customer is limited to the transaction value or Rs10,000 per transaction, whichever is lower. For fraud incidents reported beyond seven days, the customer liability would be as decided by the board of the PPI issuer. 
 
 
Reversal Timeline for Zero Liability / Limited Liability of a Customer
 
On being notified by the customer, the PPI issuer is required to credit (notional reversal) the amount involved in the unauthorised electronic payment transaction to the customer’s PPI within 10 days from the date of such notification by the customer without waiting for settlement of insurance claim, if any, even if such reversal breaches the maximum permissible limit applicable to that type or category of PPI. The credit shall be value-dated to be as of the date of the unauthorised transaction.
 
Further, RBI says, the PPI issuers should ensure that a complaint is resolved and liability of the customer, if any, established within such time, as may be specified in the PPI issuer’s Board approved policy, but not exceeding 90 days from the date of receipt of the complaint, and the customer is compensated as per provisions mentioned above. 
 
"In case the PPI issuer is unable to resolve the complaint or determine the customer liability, if any, within 90 days, the amount as prescribed in above paragraph should be paid to the customer, irrespective of whether the negligence is on the part of customer or otherwise," RBI says.
 
Reporting of Unauthorised Payment Transactions by Customers to PPI Issuers 
 
RBI says, PPI issuers should ensure that their customers mandatorily register for SMS alerts and wherever available also register for e-mail alerts, for electronic payment transactions.
 
The SMS alert for any payment transaction in the account should mandatorily be sent to the customers and e-mail alert may additionally be sent, wherever registered. The transaction alert should have a contact number and or e-mail ID on which a customer can report unauthorised transactions or notify the objection.
 
Customers should notify the PPI issuer of any unauthorised electronic payment transaction at the earliest and, also be informed that longer the time taken to notify the PPI issuer, higher will be the risk of loss to the PPI issuer and customer.
 
To facilitate the reporting, PPI issuers are asked to provide customers with 24x7 access via website, SMS, e-mail or a dedicated toll-free helpline for reporting unauthorised transactions that have taken place and or loss or theft of the PPI.
 
Further, RBI says PPI providers need to provide a direct link on mobile app or home page of their website or any other evolving acceptance mode for lodging of complaints, with specific option to report unauthorised electronic payment transactions.
 
"The loss and fraud reporting system must also ensure that immediate response (including auto response) is sent to the customers acknowledging the complaint along with the registered complaint number. The communication systems used by PPI issuers to send alerts and receive their responses should record time and date of delivery of the message and receipt of customer’s response, if any. This is important in determining the extent of a customer’s liability. On receipt of report of an unauthorised payment transaction from the customer, PPI issuers should take immediate action to prevent further unauthorised payment transactions in the PPI," the central bank says.
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COMMENTS

Pramod B Patil

2 months ago

Ok

Chandigarh consumer forum fines store Rs13,000 for charging on paper carry bags
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum in Chandigarh has imposed a penalty of Rs 13,000 on a leading retail store for charging Rs 5 from a consumer for giving a paper carry bag to carry items that were shopped at the store.
 
Terming the charging of Rs 5 for each paper carry bag as "high-handedness" on part of the Lifestyle retail chain store, the forum pointed out that the store could not take the excuse that plastic carry bags were banned and they had to charge for the paper carry bags from consumers shopping at their store.
 
The complaint was made to the forum by a couple, Pankaj and Sangeeta Chandgothia, from Chandigarh. The decision was delivered by the forum on Friday.
 
Lifestyle store has been asked to deposit Rs 10,000 as penalty in the Consumer Legal Aid account and pay Rs 1,500 each to the complainants towards compensation for "harassment and mental agony" and as litigation expenses. 
 
"The opposite party (Lifestyle store) has also argued that post ban of plastic bags, it started providing paper bags to its customers on payment of its price. However, we feel that banning of a product does not entitle the opposite party to charge for its substitute and the opposite party and all other shops like it are obliged to provide carry bags free of cost to carry the purchased items to their customers, as the customers cannot be expected to carry the items in hands," the forum stated in its order.
 
The forum noted that the carry bag, for which the consumers had to shell out extra amount from their pocket, is a printed carry bag on both sides, which has a prominent display of the advertisement of the store and is serving as an advertisement for them.
 
"In this manner, the complainants and other gullible consumers like them have certainly been taken for a ride by the opposite party for advertising their name. Undoubtedly, the opposite party has several stores across the country and in the above said manner, made lot of money, thus, the act of opposite party by forcing the gullible consumers to pay additionally for the paper bags is surely and certainly amounts to deficiency in service and its indulgence into unfair trade practice," the forum pointed out.
 
The forum asked the store to provide free carry bags to all customers forthwith who purchase articles from its shop. It also ordered the store to refund to the complainants the amount of Rs 5 wrongly charged for the paper carry bag.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

 

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