'It has come to my notice recently that a leading CDMA operator activates caller tunes on customers' mobile phones without being instructed and charge monthly rentals and activation fees for the same.
I started monitoring my account balance when one of my friends told me that the caller tune service was active on his mobile and he was charged Rs 15 as activation fees and Rs 1 daily as usage charges (Rs 30 monthly). I too discovered that usage charges of Rs 1 was being debited from my account daily and a bekaar tune, which I never liked, was active on my cellphone!
I was not sure when the operator started this fleecing, but I complained to customer services and the service assurance cell by e-mail. They informed me that I was charged for the service I used, but failed to clarify why they activated the service without any intimation or instructions from me. Although I have approached their nodal officer and later appellate authority seeking redressal, they repeated the same message -- "You were charged correctly for the CRBT service used".
The same CDMA operator activated a caller tune on my phone last year as well and I had to fight for about two months to get back the money illegally debited from my mobile account, in bits and pieces. Even then, they initially claimed that their deduction was correct, but later refunded me the illegally charged amounts in three installments, each after lots of follow-ups. In the past, when roaming rentals were being charged for Mumbai customers in Maharashtra and vice versa, some operators used to activate roaming without instruction and then charge for the service.
It is high time the government introduces number portability where customer can change operators in case of dissatisfaction, without changing the number. Until this facility is available, the operators (especially CDMA operators, who know that the customer has to throw away their mobile instruments if they want to switch operators) will continue to cheat customers.'
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Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
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