Update: I've been getting comments about the nature of issues I'm fighting for. You are missing the woods for the trees. The complains themselves are not important. The fight is. I am not persuading you to fight for the things I have. YOU fight for things YOU believe in, let me fight for things I believe in.
Camelin incident: I was probably in Class 8. I was gifted a lovely camelin fountain pen, came in its own leather case, which was in a velvet lined box and a choice of two nibs. Quite expensive. Unfortunately after a few months of use, the tip of the pen cracked, and the nib wouldn't fit. So I wrote to Camelin, lauded them for the wonderful pen and accused them of bad workmanship for such an expensive pen. Lo and behold, they actually send me a complete replacement set with their compliments. Small thing, but it made me understand the power that each one has, if only we take the trouble to complain.
Spectrum magazine incident: A few years ago I filled out the subscription form for Spectrum magazine, a Delhi based publication. I gave my credit card details, but forgot to mention whether I wanted the subscription for 1/2 or 3 years. Guess what Spectrum did? They obviously charged me for 3 years. So I wrote to them three times, by registered post, by courier, but didn't get a reply. Then I engaged a lawyer who sent them a show cause notice (I think thats what its called) on my behalf. My wife (my gf then) in Delhi took a lawyer friend with her to Spectrum office and" explained" the problem to them. A lady from Spectrum immediately called me up, oozing sympathy and apologizing. Within a few days, they had refunded my money.
HSBC Credit Card incidents: I've been charged not once but twice for making late payments. And I've gotten the late payment reversed on both these occasions. I've been a customer of HSBC for more than 6 years. I'm always very prompt in making the payment before the due date. Twice, due to forgetfulness, etc, I did forget and they slapped me with late fees. I wrote to them, complained that this was bad service, talked to some people and had the charges reversed after some effort.
Citibank Ready Credit incident: I normally do not accept *any* offers from Citibank since they have a bad reputation of employing sneaky tactics to get money out of their customers. Still, I fell for it once, a couple of years ago. Some agent of Citibank called me up and was extremely persuasive and said that I would only have to opt for the Ready Credit scheme and they would give me a gift voucher of some X amount. I would not be utilizing the ready credit account, and I would not be charged anything at all. I clearly got this last undertaking from the agent. Still, to protect myself, I signed the form but made a large cross in ink across the entire form. In the box which asked the amount of ready credit I needed, I put in "Rs. ZERO" in big, bold capital letters. Do you think that would stop Citibank. Oh no. The smart people at the bank credited me a small sum of money from Ready Credit, then debited me automatically after some time and charged me interest of Rs. 27 for the transaction!!! And I didnt get the promised gift voucher either.
So I began calling up Citibank customer care center and talked to a great many people, was passed from person to person, had to explain the same thing multiple times and this went on for a year. One year from the incident, Citibank had the gall to send me a notice saying that since I has "used" the Ready Credit facility, it was charging me (nearly Rs 1000) from the second year onwards. They told me that they had already informed me of the charges "earlier". Needless to say I hadn't been sent any such information else I would have got the Ready Credit facility canceled.
I went ballistic at this point. Till then, I was pursuing the case slowly. Then I began to look around for legal recourses available to me. I found out about the Indian Banking Ombudsman system, to which one can complaint for any kind of banking malpractices. I ready through everything on the site, read through the rules, read through all Citibank terms and conditions and then made a complaint to my "relationship manager", making a strong charge of malpractices. I also notified them that I would take the matter to the Banking Ombudsman if there was no response or unsatisfactory response from Citibank within 30 days (thats the precondition to complain to the Ombudsman). 1 month, some conversations and e-mails later, Citibank finally reversed all the charges, and I got the Ready Credit account canceled for ever.
Here's the complaint I sent to Citibank:
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Traffic complaints: I don't know how many traffic complaints I've made till now, how many altercations I've gotten into with uncouth call center vehicle drivers who drive rashly on the roads. For instance, see this post about Bangalore Traffic, 3 parts. I've had e-mail exchanges with the Transport Commissioner, with the Deputy Comm of Traffic Police about the state of Bangalore traffic, the way in which call center vehicles drive, the abusive nature of drivers, et al.
Another associated problem: I used to call up 103 to make traffic complaints, but since a year ago, the moment I make a call somebody would disconnect it (or so I thought). I thought they knew my number by then and didn't want to hear any more complaints by me. This kept on happening to me for maybe 6 months. Finally, frustrated, I called up the Traffic Police DC office, and made a strong complaint about this. Amazingly, two officers from the police department called me back, apologized for the inconvenience, explained to me that this was a BSNL problem, that they had repeatedly complained to BSNL about this but the problem had not been rectified, and that definitely no person was disconnecting my call. They gave me three direct numbers of the Traffic Control Room to call up anytime to make any kind of complaints.
Nowadays I call up these numbers, somebody picks up immediately and listens, and I'm a happy man.
Noise Pollution: A few months ago, I decided to take on a temple in my neighborhood for noise pollution. This temple had been playing loud music, songs, chanting, etc all day (from 6am to 9:30pm) and causing us great disturbance. So I started doing research on the net about Indian noise pollution laws and judgements. As usual, I found a wealth of information. I found out who is responsible for preventing noise pollution: in most cases it is the police and if it involves industry then the Pollution Control Board can also step in. I found out about the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, about permitted decibel levels, about how to go about filing a complaint, about previous judgments made by High Courts and the Supreme Court, esp against religious institutions.
I'd spoken with the temple authorities many times, told them politely at first, then rudely after that. After I learnt about the law, I threatened them with a police complaint, and finally with a court case. Still no avail... for a few days after I would complain, the temple would reduce the volume and then back it would be to normal. I even made a few complaints to the Police Control Room, the police came, the volume was reduced and then a few days later it went up again.
Finally, it was time for action. I wrote out a complaint and went to the nearest police station. It took them quite a while to digest what the complaint was about and one fellow had the gall to tell me to change my house. The junior officers were quite flummoxed, and asked me to speak directly with the Inspector. So thats just what I did. Well, the problem is quite under control now. The loudspeaker volume is fairly less. They play between 6 and 10am, and then between 6 and 9pm. We've been enjoying a month of heavenly peace and quiet.
Here's the police complaint I filed:
|Sound Pollution up...|
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