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Monday, June 18, 2007

Sleep deprived on Questionable Content

Got a Counsumer Court hearing tomorrow morning... shit! no... today morning. Why am I still awake? Got some marathon driving to do to the other end of town in the morning. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaak.

Was tripping out big time today on this comic strip my wife discovered: Questionable Content. Check it out, its so totally fantastic... started sometime in 2003, and I've only managed to get to 2005. Its real addictive, some nice artwork, some wise crack and quips a`la Calvin and Hobbes, and very real characters. Boo to Friends.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Class action suit against Air Deccan - 1

I am planning a class action suit against delayed refunds by Air Deccan. This is a call to anybody who has faced/is facing a problem with delayed refunds. Go to the end of my post, if you're quite familiar with Air Deccan and its mischief.


Story so far:

After much trepidation, I planned to travel Air Deccan for the first time. My family and I (4 pax) had planned to take a flight from A to B on 18th May, 2007. Needless to say, the flight got delayed by more than 4 hours and as per the policy Air Deccan is supposed to repay the full amount. Since we had a train to catch from B for which we already had reservations, we were forced to cancel the Air Deccan tics and book more expensive tics. We spoke to the Air Deccan station manager and asked them to cancel the flight and refund the amount. They said that their system is down, so I got them to give me a letter, all stamped and signed, with all details of the flight and the delay and that I wanted a cancellation and full refund.

After 18th May, 2007, I tried in vain to reach customer care and talk to somebody, but the stupid system would keep saying that I was some 30th or 35th or a billionth in the queue. I would wait in vain for as much as half an hour and then give up. A week later, I went through the reservation option, rather than the cancellation option on the automated system and voila! I was connected. After explaining the problem I was told to send a copy of the letter to one Eswar Singh. But even after a couple of reminders, I got no reply.

Called up customer care again. They gave me 10 numbers, 41148190 - 99 to call up and speak to the supervisors. I tried all these numbers for many days at various times of the day, but nobody picked up the phone even once.

Again called up customer care, and was given a special number 41585225, the "direct" refund dept number. This number is always busy.

Finally, mailed and on 6th June, where I categorically stated that I would file a case against them in the Consumer Court if I didn't hear from them by 8th June confirming that I would get the refund back with due interest. I got a mail back from them on 7th June, saying that the "case has been forwarded to the concerned department" and that I should mail for further clarification. I did this, but I got the usual automated email reply asking me to send all blah blah details, which I have already done more than once.

I've also been told, in the course of my chats with customer care, that refunds will take 40 WORKING days from the date of being logged.


A bit of search on the net threw up hundreds (if not thousands) of complains from consumers who have been waiting months and in some awful cases, upto a year, to get the refund. So the time is quite right to start a class action suit against delayed refunds by Air Deccan.

If you think you have been put to grief by Air Deccan, and have been given your due refund after unacceptable delay, or have not been given your refund, please let me know.

Ground rules before contacting me:

1. You should have been put to inconvenience, made calls, send e-mails, letters, whatever. I need proof. I will ask you to send me e-mails/letters that you have sent to them, I will ask you to scan and send me the ticket print out, etc. If you haven't called up customer care and threatened/begged/whatever them yet, DON'T contact me. I need proof of inconvenience to build up a strong case.

2. Read the conditions of your ticket very very carefully before contacting me. If it says non refundable ticket, DON'T contact me. If you have a doubt that Air Deccan owes you money, DON'T contact me. I require you to be fully convinced that you are in the right and Air Deccan is in the wrong. Please don't waste my time with frivolous complaints. I need water tight cases.

3. Write the case out clearly, crisply, giving ALL details, dates, persons talked to, phone numbers, flight number, sector, what happened, who said what, what has been done so far, what was promised. Please don't lie and don't bull shit. Don't use profanity. I need just a few very tight complaints with as much detail as possible. Be prepared to support me with information as and when I ask. No money or credit card details are required.

I can be reached at zehawk at Please forward this information to anybody you can.

Feedback, as always, is most welcome.

Friday, June 08, 2007

"MRPs take-off at the airport"

Just chanced across this report in the Mumbai Mirror, entitled about a raid done by the Weights & Measures at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai.

I found the Delhi Dept of Weights & Measures website giving a lot of information, but can't find anything for Karnataka. Its called Department of Legal Metrology here. As usual, the govt is sleeping. If anybody can find the website for me, please drop me a comment.

Charging over MRP at airports - 5

Read Charging over MRP at airports - 4 first.

Since I'd missed the hearing scheduled for 24th May, I called up the Consumer Court some days ago. They informed me that the next hearing is on 18th June. Seems the court summons had been returned, and the judge needed a confirmation of the address, else the case might be dismissed.

So I needed a proper address, and somebody at the B'lore airport would be able to help me. Anyway it was about time I met the officials there. Finally, on 6th evening, I went to B'lore airport and met the Duty Manager. He was very encouraging and happy that I was taking up this issue. He was surprised that I gone to the Consumer Court and the Dept of Commercial Taxes, but not complained at the airport yet. (Yeah, yeah, I know, but time is at a premium.) He knew that Port Lounge (the shop against which I'd filed the complaint) was overcharging, but was powerless to do anything about it until people came forward to complaint and follow these things up. He remembered a Consumer Court summons being received, but the person serving the summons would not have been allowed inside the security area, and hence would have gone back. He asked me to come the next day morning at 10am, and meet the Airport Director in person.

After some hesitation I agreed. Coming back another day meant driving all the way over from BTM Layout to the Airport in peak traffic, then driving all the way to Electronic City (my office), spending time and money, getting bugged by traffic, and spending another Rs 60 for parking at the airport. Sheeesh. Sometimes I wonder whether the pains my wife and I take for all these are really worth it. Anyway, on with the story.

Next morning after fighting with traffic all the way from Koramangla, through the Inner Ring Road, up and down the flyover, and horrible horrible Airport Road, I reached a bit late. The Duty Manager was on an inspection round and came at 11:15. While he was telling me where to meet the Airport Director, into the office strolled in another gentleman who wanted to know what the problem was. He turned out to be a senior manager with AAI, and for various reasons cannot be named. He was also very pleased and appreciative that I was doing this and told me his story....which used to be mentioned here and now I've edited it out for various reasons.

He asked me not to meet the Airport Director in person; instead he asked me to fax the Airport Director a brief of the case, and asking him to help serve the summon to Port Lounge in future, since Port Lounge was in a secure area where a normal person is not permitted access. He took my phone number and asked that we stay in touch in the future.

All in all, a most fruitful meeting. Next step for me is to draft the complaint letter to the Airport Director and fax it on Monday morning.

Continue read Charging over MRP at airports - 6.