Posted in Common Man, Consumer, Human Tendency, Hypocrite, Injustice, Management Lessons, Slogging, System, Victim

Is Bhartiya Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) having a liquidity crunch or is it just their double standards?

If you are a Bhartiya Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) customer then there is a very high probability that you have personally experienced an inconsiderate and a casual approach from their staff on some, or the other issues that you have faced with their service. Still, if anyone of you thinks that I am exaggerating anything here then I would simply request you to just check online or with other customers, the same issue that you are facing or have faced, with regard to the service of the BSNL. Most probably you will find a plethora of cases on the same issue, as raised by other aggrieved customers of the BSNL.

Well, I don’t want to generalize the entire staff working with BSNL because I know there are people among them who painstakingly walk that extra mile just to ensure that every single issue of the customers is resolved to the extent possible. However, the reality is that BSNL, the Indian state-owned telecommunications company, don’t give much importance to resolving the customer grievances and strengthening their processes, in such a manner that the same issues don’t occur repeatedly.

To justify my claim, let me apprise you with a recent issue faced by one of the long-time customers of the BSNL. This case clearly shows that how considerate BSNL is towards even their loyal customer who has not defaulted for once in any of the payments during his long-term association of more than two decades with BSNL. Now, let’s see what the BSNL has to offer in turn to the long-term loyalty and timely payments from the customer’s end. Please note that all the records pertaining to the said case are in front of me, while I write this blog.

A senior citizen, residing at Udaipur (Rajasthan) surrendered his BSNL Landline number on dated 11th May 2018, at the BSNL office located at Madhuban, Udaipur (Rajasthan). All the necessary closure formalities were duly complied with and the telephone instrument was appropriately submitted from his end, against the closure receipt dated 14th May 2018. At the time of the surrender of the landline number, he was being informed by the staff of the BSNL that his refund of the security deposit amount shall be processed within 2 months from the date of surrender.

This duration of 2 months i.e. 60 days to process the refund amount is also mentioned on the BSNL’s website under the citizen charter section, wherein against the point number 7 of the heading number (I) naming WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS, it is clearly stated that – “To get refund of security deposit within 60 days of request of termination of service subject to adjustment of pending dues, if any.” [Reference: http://www.bsnl.co.in/opencms/bsnl/BSNL/about_us/company/citizen_charter.html].

Yes, even in this age of 4G and 5G, our beloved BSNL takes as long as 60 days to process the refund claim of the security deposit amount of the customers and that too “if the customer is lucky enough, not otherwise.” Now, before you start thinking that it’s still fine if one can get their refund amount in 60 days, let me enlighten you that the defined processes are only for the customers to follow and not the BSNL.

As it is clearly evident in this particular case that BSNL’s own claim of processing within 60 days is not being taken seriously by its department itself because until now the customer has not received his nominal refund amount of Rs. 2000/- even though more than 6 months have passed since the surrendering of his landline number. What could be the reason behind such a lethargic approach of the staff of the BSNL office?

Please be noted that until the date the customer is continuously following up with the office of BSNL, Udaipur but in no vain. He has called everyone from top to the bottom, including the Personal Assistant to the General Manager, as well as, the Chief Account Officer but no one seems to be in a position to inform him that when can he expect to receive the refund amount of his security deposit.

Every time he calls them, they just give him excuses of non-availability of funds with BSNLIsn’t it quite shocking to know that an organisation of this repute is not having funds as low as Rs. 2,000/- to pay the customer’s security deposit amount? Is BSNL having a liquidity crunch? Or is it just their way to linger on the payments of the customers so that BSNL can enjoy earning the interest on such amounts for as long as possible?

Being highly disappointed and aggrieved with such an irresponsible behaviour of the staff of BSNL and their approach in processing the refund of the security deposit amount, the customer finally registered his written complaint online at the e-mail address of BSNL i.e. cmdcomplaints@bsnl.co.in. However, as expected, no reply was received from their end. Hence, the customer further registered his complaint on the government’s Public Grievances Portal i.e. https://pgportal.gov.in/.

Finally, he got the reply (not the payment yet) that his security deposit amount of Rs. 2000/- has been approved and the information has been sent to the Circle Office, Jaipur (Rajasthan) for issuing the cheque. Please note that in his complaint the customer has asked for the interest amount on the delayed payment of the refund. However, the learned staffs of the BSNL have very conveniently skipped that part, which clearly shows that BSNL has no intention to pay any interest, as far as, default at their end is concerned.

What an irony that when the customers don’t pay the bill amount on or before the due date then BSNL without fail, penalize them, however, when it comes to refunding the customers’ security deposit amount, the same BSNL very cunningly takes the freedom to pay solely as per their wish. Doesn’t all this, in itself, shows the double standards followed by the BSNL? Why don’t they themselves follow what they expect others to?

Herewith, I am not questioning the very intention of the BSNL in refunding the customers’ deposit amount, hoping that they do repay each and every single customer, even if with a delay. However, I do want to question that why BSNL is so inconsiderate towards the customer’s rights? Is paying the dues within the specified time so difficult for them or is it just their careless approach towards everything, “considering that they are a state-owned organisation so they can get away with anything?”

I, herewith, very humbly request the management of the BSNL to look into this matter with utmost seriousness and ensure to take necessary actions against the responsible persons. Also, do ensure to strengthen their processes so that, as far as possible, all the work happens within the reasonable time and if not, then strict actions are taken against all those who are responsible for the same, from top to the bottom. At the same time, it should mandatorily be ensured that interest is duly paid against each and every delayed payment, in the same way, as it is being charged from the customers when they default in paying even for a single day.

Peyush Jain

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