Tata Sky: Binge by All Means; but Be Vigilant
Sometime on the morning of Sunday 26th May, I received a typical marketing SMS from Tata Sky congratulating me as I had been ‘awarded’ a free trial subscription for a month for Tata Sky Binge. Binge is a product that Tata Sky has on offer that allows access to various Internet-based streaming content sites and latest movies and shows, including Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hotstar. The ‘award’ also included installation of a free fire-stick. 
 
Normally, we are very wary of such offers. But we had been considering the purchase of a fire-stick; so we thought the offer would save us the hassle of either ordering online or going to purchase the fire-stick and then getting someone to install it. I called back the number to register my acceptance of their offer. Pronto! Their representative called back to set up the appointment for the installation. It would be on that very day – Sunday, at 4pm – within just about four hours of our accepting the offer.
 
Even as the service engineer was installing the equipment, I received an SMS from Tata Sky that my subscription pack had been altered as per my request and that the renewal date would be changed from 22nd August to 18th July. Our first thought was that perhaps the service engineer had made a mistake and had not registered the installation for a FREE TRIAL for a month that we had agreed to. Since he had not yet finished with the process of installation, he showed us his log book wherein he had clearly mentioned that it was free. He asked us to confirm immediately on the helpline and register our complaint. 
 
 
Thus began my odyssey with Tata Sky grievance redress mechanism which has taken nearly a month to resolve. It was a ‘trial’ alright – but a trial of my patience and persistence.
 
The helpline numbers, as our readers would know, have an IVRS (interactive voice response service) which requires you to have tremendous patience to hold the line until you finally come to a human voice – even though it is of a call centre staff. You narrate the entire sequence of events leading up to your grievance and all you get are standard replies. And you have been already warned at the beginning of the conversation that the call is being recorded ‘for training purposes’. So you better not lose your cool and patience! You are then put through to a ‘senior’ and his/her senior, who in turn asks you to restate your grievance and is unable to provide a suitable answer about the cause of the subscription period change and wrongful deduction of charges for a service you have not availed; again he/she puts you through to a supervisor, who promises to look into your complaint and revert to you ‘within 48 hours’! 
 
Tata Sky does keep to the timeline. I got an email saying that they tried to contact me on my registered mobile number but did not get a response – a patent falsehood, because someone did call and I had responded. The guy who had called insisted that our subscription had been modified on 24th April and would not believe that we had not made any change. We asked him to put in writing all that he was telling us, since he was refusing to accept the information from our records, or to provide evidence for his part of the story. He refused to do so point blank.
 
So, I sent an email about the grievance – since, as a customer, I had not recorded the conversation. I followed the procedure -- of addressing the first email to the ‘nodal officer’ but also marked the copies the designated officers in TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and to Moneylife and Bombay Telephone Users’ Association (BTUA). My grievance was articulated quite clearly. The following points were mentioned in my email:
 
“Sirs
I write re my account statement.
 
1. The last account statement that I have recd from you AFTER I had done my channel selection is dated 31st March.
2. This statement showed an outstanding amount to my credit as Rs xxx (rounded off).
3 If the subscription fee for the channels I have selected is Rs250 per month, then my balance should last me up to mid-August -- which is what your SMS (message) to me had shown. And it would be correct.
4. Since I have not selected any other channel in the interim, how come my subscription period is truncated to July instead of August?
5. It can only be IF your accounting software "by default" deducted the monthly fee for Binge @Rs250
 
 Please correct your account statement.
Thank you
Dr Nita Mukherjee”
 
I got an auto-generated response with an 8-digit ‘service request number’ – one that I had to remember to quote along with my 10-digit subscriber ID!
 
My assumption is that because of the CCs that had marked the email to, I got a reasonably prompt reply from the nodal officer. But it was a classic case of obfuscation; there was not even an indirect mention of why my subscription period was truncated or charges wrongfully deducted. Instead, it was a long spiel on the advantages of long-duration packs, etc. And by way of my account statement, what I got was my name address and registered mobile number!
 
 
Please find below the details of your account, as available in our records :
 
Name: xxxx 
Address: xxxx
RMN: xxxx
Email Address: xxxx”
 
So, as a compliant consumer, I took the next step in the redress process – wrote to the appellate authority Tata Sky. And would you believe it? That email bounced back, because there is no email ID for the appellate authority at Tata Sky! I forwarded the message of undelivered mail to TRAI, as well as to Moneylife and BTUA. 
 
While looking into my subscription records to make all these complaints, I found that there is a long delay in receiving account statements from Tata Sky – on an average, of two months. Also, there is no consistency in the information that customers are given about the monthly charges. One message, in my case, says it is Rs307, another says it is Rs297 and a third says it is Rs250. Wondering whether the free trial was worth all the time I had spent, I decided to give up Binge and return the fire-stick. It was done on 6th June.
 
 
Now, I got a call from a customer relations executive. He referred to my complaint to TRAI and said that Tata Sky had taken my complaint very seriously and had restored my subscription period to 22nd August. He was still unwilling to offer an explanation about why it had been truncated in the first place! He kept repeating that your grievance was about restoring status quo ante, which we have done; so as far as they were concerned ‘grievance redressed; matter closed’. 
 
But since I insisted that I wanted a reply in writing, I got a letter by registered post on 21st June. The content is interesting; hence, worthy of being quoted. “Our customer care associate last spoke to you on 17 June 2019 on your Registered Mobile Number to address the issue raised in the Complaint. It was informed that Tata Sky Binge has been dropped as per your request and the due date has been restored to previous date. Hence, the complaint stands resolved and closed.”
 
 
Isn’t this an indirect acknowledgement of the fact that what Tata Sky had done was to have charged me for the free trial period? And doesn’t it prove that their customer executive who was trying to fob me off, saying that I had modified my subscription on 24th April, presenting ‘alternative facts’?
 
I am sharing this personal experience so that customers don’t fall for such FREE TRIAL offers. And remember that vigilance is really the price we have to pay for Binging!
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    COMMENTS

    kpushkar

    2 months ago

    i had similar experience with Bajaj Finserve.. i have the EMI card, not used for last 3 years.. they charged Rs 117 as annual fees for non-usage! so far so good.

    i asked for refund as they never took permission from me ..to deduct the charges. i got email in writing about credit of money to my bank account, it never happened!!

    BF has few lakh customers , imagine debiting Rs 117 x few lakh customers , that is easy money , to increase EPS and share value.. CHOR compnay i would say and terrible management

    DeepakSB

    2 months ago

    DTH looting public

    Participate: https://bit.ly/2NpDSBk

    Become part of LocalCircles - India's # 1 community platform for citizens to discuss issues, find answers and solve problems together!

    Dr Nita Mukherjee

    2 months ago

    This reply is for ALL the comments to this report. The reason for sharing my experience was precisely this: most people do not have the patience and, worse, they are not vigilant about protecting their own interests. Many of my own friends and relatives, especially the younger ones who deal with e-payments and e-tails, say 'who has the time and the patience to check?' Most of them do not even know whether the service-providers send them the account statements! THAT was the advice -- be vigilant AND have the perseverance to follow through.

    REPLY

    DeepakSB

    In Reply to Dr Nita Mukherjee 2 months ago

    We live in an enviroment where government controlling DTH has miserably failed in addressing consumers suffering.
    Can a knowledgable person/organisation approach authorities and solve this problem ???

    B. KRISHNAN

    2 months ago

    Almost every subscriber goes thru these excruciating experiences, but do not have the time and patience to recount like you have done. Thanks for sharing this experience!

    archana_rahatade

    2 months ago

    After reading the story I feel all DTH operators behave in the same manner with customers. I am subscriber of Aritel. Almost same story. Everybody takes money from us but no service in return.

    SANJAY MADHUSUDAN MARATHE

    2 months ago

    I can fully relate with this experience. I have gone through something similar a few years ago, and learnt my lesson. When I get calls from TataSky with offers, I make it a point to tell the caller - 'Not Interested', and hang up. It is a sad state of affairs that TataSky is milking the Tata brand built over the years to act like street hustlers with their precious clients.

    archana_rahatade

    2 months ago

    After reading the story I feel all DTH operators behave in the same manner with customers. I am subscriber of Aritel. Almost same story. Everybody takes money from us but no service in return.

    DeepakSB

    2 months ago

    Probably ALL DTH operators sailing in same boat.VIDEOCON D2H is most horrible.Its an outright cheater and even TRAI do not take note of any complaint marked to them for Videocon d2h.MAY BE SOME OFFICIALS OF TRAI/TELECOM MINISTRY HAVE BEEN GREASED BY VIDEOCON D2H. After DOOHTs sold videocon d2h,its services has gone from BAD to WORSE.Customer complain calls are NOT answered.Even if they are answered-you feel like talking to someone sitting in a crowded vegetable market ( earlier like stock exchanges when trading was done manually in trading ring) After TRAI announced individual selection of channels,Its worst.Channels are forcibly offered and charges deducted arbitarily.Its online site works ONLY for recharge.ALL OTHER SERVICES on online customer portal has gone to dogs. I have purchased its smart set top box but smart services option DOES NOT work at all and Videocon d2h technicians who come to home are NOT aware of reason for non working of smart connect options. DOT/TRAI must immediately force all D2H operators to replace set top boxes with PORTABILITY OPTION LIKE MOBILE NO.PORTABILITY SO THAT USERS CAN SWITH OVER TO AN ALTERNATE OPERATOR ON THE SAME LINE OF MOBILE PORTABILITY.

    REPLY

    SURESH NAIR

    In Reply to DeepakSB 2 months ago

    I too was a subscriber of Videocon DTH. After renewing my plan one fine day I found that they had blocked CNN, a channel which was part of the package I had opted for. When I phoned them they said that they have removed CNN from the package. When I protested and told them that I had already paid for it they said that they will reinstate it but it won't be available on renewal. I said fine. They did reinstate but over the next few days they started blocking HBO and other movie and news channels. I knew that if I phoned and protested they would have reinstated the channels but frankly speaking I did not have the time and energy to do so! At the time of renewal I switched to Tata Sky but as mentioned in earlier comment it was not a wise decision! Now waiting for Reliance Jio to start their service!

    Surendra Babu Matavalam

    In Reply to DeepakSB 2 months ago

    Well said Deepak. I just stopped the DTH service now completely. The STB is lying around there. Just watching the ones I want to directly on Fire TV apps.

    Shrikant Narayan Dhekne

    2 months ago

    "I feel sorry for an illustrious customer having been treated dishonestly by the Tata Sky ..."

    I am sure, just like the writer, that no one approves, or condones such treatment even of (and especially) not-so-illustrious customers.

    MOHAN SIROYA

    2 months ago

    I feel sorry for an illustrious customer having been treated dishonestly by the Tata Sky ( Sat. Op) but I also admire the patience and persistence of Dr, Nita Mukherjee in pursuing her complaint painstakingly, as a receiver other end. However illogical and irrelevant may be, at least she got a final closing reply from the tricky Sat. Op. But wonder how she is still continuing with the dishonest, unfair and greedy Sat.Op.

    Our experience of handling consumer complaints confirms that Tata Sky is not the only one culprit but all Indian Sat. Ops play dirty with their subscribers in one form or the other without letting know the willy subscribers. Yeah, I agree with her that others should not fall prey to such "Free trail lure" but it is true only for the Indian Sat Ops, not the Foreign Wi-Fi Ops like Netflix or Hot Star. Our experience shows that they are very meticulous and transparent in offering a Trail Offer. One day before such free subscription ends, they will ask the subscriber if he wishes to continue as the paid subscriber. If No, then the transmission gets deactivated with a regret line that with heavy heart they are losing a potential subscriber but hope to see him again on their roll as and when he decides. That is called honesty and fair play.

    Ashish Gokhale

    2 months ago

    Tata sky customer service has gone from the best to the worst over last 10 years. The processes implemented by them while handling sony channel issues and new package structure are one of the worst any one can come up with. A professionally managed company would have fired the responsible person for takin such decisions.

    SURESH NAIR

    2 months ago

    I too have a Tata Sky connection and have also experienced firsthand their utter lack of customer service and also finding all sorts of means to extort money under one pretext or the other! I was paying around Rs 500 monthly when one fine day I was shocked to get a message stating that they have moved me to a Rs 850 pack without any communication or confirmation from me! Also recently I discovered that some of the free channels I was all along enjoying were terminated stating that I did not subscribe to them though they charged me Rs 157 for the free pack. For one channel I had to give a missed call to reinstate the channel and as for the other I am still yet to be able to view them! Just waiting for a better option to come along to switch! So much for the great Tata name! They have proved to be no better than the any other company who treat customers so callously!

    AAR

    2 months ago

    There is no free lunch.

    SURAJIT SOM

    2 months ago

    I salute your patience etc. Bur how many can pursue like this ? It makes one angry. Then I think of "good old days " of Sarkari" telephone . It was a Sarkari monopoly and a fantastic 2% or so people had connection ( which often would not work ),just a couple of decades ago. I was told that a women refused to marry because the poor groom could not install a Sarkari telephone in time despite heavy bribe !!!!! Socialism is horrible but capitalism is no fun either.

    Ramdev seeks life terms for food adulterators, fake medicines makers
    Yoga guru and ayurveda tycoon Baba Ramdev on Wednesday called for "zero tolerance" to those found guilty of indulging in adulteration of food and manufacturing spurious medicines and demanded they be sentenced to life imprisonment.
     
    "This is one of the most heinous forms of crime against the people. Those indulging in it must be given life imprisonment," he told media persons here.
     
    Baba Ramdev is in Maharashtra for the International Yoga Day events on June 21 and he will head a programme in Nanded where over 150,000 people are expected to perform yoga along with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
     
    Discussing yoga, exercises, good health and nutrition, he expressed his serious concerns over adulteration of foods and spurious medicines in the country.
     
    "I have recently heard that in China, a man was hanged to death for adulteration. I feel we should make a beginning, not with capital punishment, but at least life sentence in jail to such unscrupulous persons. The central and state governments must consider it," Ramdev said emphatically.
     
    He said there are many instances of people getting caught doing 'milavat' (adulteration) and manufacturing 'nakli' (spurious) medicines which are harmful to the people and at times, the consequences are fatal.
     
    On good health, he said: "Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak had said 'Swaraj Is My Birthright'. I say, 'Health is my birthright'. I consider good health as important as anything else that is good for the people."
     
    He said he was perturbed over the increasing incidents of Indians suffering diseases like diabetes, blood pressure, obesity, stress, etc., and said yoga and ayurveda should be a party of the "journey of life".
     
    "This is a matter of grave concern. These (diseases) are all lifestyle-related, so fitness and yoga must be incorporated in lifestyle. We especially need to make children and youth aware of the importance and benefits of yoga and ayurveda," he urged.
     
    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.
  • User

    Senior Citizens Defrauded by Sub-broker
    A Bandra based couple has registered a complaint against two men for allegedly defrauding them of Rs50 lakh. The accused have been booked under Sections 420, 405 and 463 of the Indian Penal Code. 
     
    Mount Mary Road resident - Hassanaly Dossani was introduced to the two brothers Bhaumik and Amit Gada in December of 2016. The former said he was an ex-banker running a firm with his brother that acted as the sub-broker for the Motilal Oswal financial group. He subsequently offered his services as an investment advisor.
     
    Mr Dossani then visited their office in Ghatkopar to verify their claims. He met them a few times and finally decided to take up their offer on March 2017. He then opened a DEMAT account with Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd (MOSL) and transferred shares worth Rs40 lakh into the account. However, before the transfer, they had signed a contract with the brother’s firm, OSR Financial Services that prevented them from selling shares without prior consent from Mr Dossani and his wife.
     
    Mr Dossani said he was given monthly statement of account on MOSL’s letterhead, which was duly stamped and signed. “Not being tech savvy, we never checked the real statement on emails, believing these copies to be authentic.
     
    Besides, we were getting a regular flow of cash into our savings account which we were told were profits from these trades,” said the retired pharmaceutical professional.
     
    In December 2018 the family wanted to liquidate a part of its position in the equity market due to a family emergency and instructed the Gada brothers to do the same. They kept evading the requests from Mr Dossani to liquidate his position and when they were finally confronted by him in January, they informed him that they had sold off shares worth Rs49 lakh without his knowledge or authority. 
     
    It was then that the couple took notice and cross checked all the statements provided to them by the brothers over email. It is then that they realised that the physical copies were forged and numbers on them were manipulated by them.
     
    This is not the first time that the Motilal Oswal Group has been accused of permitting unauthorized trading. In 2006, Wing Commander CR Mohan Raj VM [Retd] lost a significant part of his savings when the Motilal Oswal group sold his shares off without his instructions. 
     
    The Wing Commander subsequently took the case to District Consumer Forum where the Motilal Oswal group produced a bogus power of attorney (POA) to sway the case. However, the Consumer Court ruled in favour of Mr Mohan Raj.
     
    He then lodged a complaint with the SEBI which in 2018 fined the Motilal Oswal group to the tune of Rs2 lakh. 
     
    Mr Dossani now finds himself in a financial fix as his emergency fund has been misappropriated by the Gada brothers who acted in cahoots with the Motilal Oswal Group.
     
    When asked about the case, MOSL replied as follows:
     
    1. Mr Amit Gada is a sub-broker of our company. We were not aware of actions of the sub-broker. However, in the month of February 2019, the sub-broker informed us that client has forcefully got some papers signed from him and he has got NC lodged with police.
     
    Further, client has sent emails to our grievance id in the month of February / March 2019 and we have duly replied to the same.
     
    2. As regards discrepancy, since we are not aware of which specific physical and digital documents you are referring to we are not in a position to comment on the same.
     
    However we would like to inform you that we have duly sent copies of contract notes, ledgers, margin report etc, to the client’s email id, regularly informing client about the trades in her account. Also, we were regularly sending SMS to the client informing about the trades in her account. We have also provided to the client web-back office login facility where the client can view all the details with respect to her account. Further, we have sent hard copies of the ledger to the client.
     
    There is no discrepancy in the documents provided by us to the client.  It is also pertinent to mention here that we have done surveillance calling where the client confirmed that client is aware about all the trades in her account. In addition to this we would also like to inform you that the client for the purpose of trading in her account has transferred shares from her Demat account with another company.
     
    The client has also at multiple times taken payout from her account.
     
    3. Since police has registered an FIR on the complaint of client, we are cooperating with police in the investigation by providing information / documents sought by them
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    COMMENTS

    Sreepathid

    1 month ago

    This is clear cut case of Sub broker offering a nice return and that return came from their original investment and loosing that also.

    Parimal Shah

    2 months ago

    Why do we need sub-brokers?
    India has become a country of idle mans.
    And this breeds malpractice, corruption, and exploitation.

    Suketu Shah

    2 months ago

    All stock brokers in India are bad jokes.We donot need them ,they need us.If they are so intelligent and bright,why do they need our money to invest.Let them sit and home,invest their own money and earn 100% /yr returns as they claim.

    Ramesh Poapt

    2 months ago

    traps everywhere in financial matters!

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