Friday, March 11, 2016

The Chairman's Office

Every word written here is true. I have typed this with one hand while the other rested on the Bhagvad Gita to ensure I did not stray from the truth.

First a back story, the moral of which, has remained with me since circa 1987-88.

Way back in 1987-88, I was very young bushy tailed eager lawyer working in what was then probably India’s greatest law firm, Crawford Bayley & Co. 1987-88, just to put things in perspective, was way before mobile phones, sometime before fax machines, way before computers and laptops [we had several typewriters and a couple of rudimentary word processing machines] and definitely before the internet. It was a time of telexes, beige postcards and blue inland letters; it was a time when the postman was hugely important. It was a time of Indian Airlines and calling a travel agent to get a ticket.

One day, sitting in the absolutely disgusting reception was, I clearly remember, Mr M H Shah Legal head of Phillips along with his deputy Mr Mallik and a junior whose name I cannot remember. These gentlemen knew me and after exchanging pleasantries, I was intrigued why they were so grim looking. It turned out that someone had written a letter to the then Managing Director of Phillips – obviously a `gora’ or foreigner – complaining bitterly about a shaver he had bought. The gent in question had threated legal action if his unhappiness with his shaver was not resolved. This simple act of writing to the Managing Director had turned the entire legal department of Phillips into jelly. They needed to consult what at that time were the best and probably most expensive lawyers on how to deal with this.

This, my dear readers, is what the problem is in India. We are a bunch of irresponsible, uncaring selfish fools who only fear supreme authority. You can have your so called `Mission Statements’ pasted on walls and your website, you can have ombudsmen, grievance officers, sales heads and god knows what else – nothing works. A kick up your arse by the supreme boss is what gets action.

Now to the point of this post.

A few days ago while idly browsing thru the available channels on Tata Sky, I saw that there were 3 new channels – 526 which was Magic Bricks, 566 and 567 which were Nat Geo and Travel channels. However, I could not view them. I kept getting a notification that the signal could not be reached as there was rain and that I would get the signal once the clouds moved away. Of course, there was no rain. I thought that it was possible that though the channels had been allotted the actual broadcast had not started. Finally, after several days, HRH The Queen of Kutch called the Tata Sky help line only to be told that (i) the broadcast had started (ii) our subscription package included these channels and therefore (iii) a service engineer would have to visit our home to set the problem right.

Promises were made by Tata Sky to depute the engineer on the 7th of March. HRH The Queen of Kutch got a few tantalising phone calls from the service centre as well as an engineer. No one turned up on the 7th. A couple of calls to the Tata Sky help desk on the 8th, more promises more tantalising calls and no service engineer. Same story on the 9th. By this time the `complaint’ had been escalated, supervisors spoken to, complaint red flagged and so on. No service engineer. You must know this story. The saga repeated itself on the 10th.

Finally, at 1930 hrs or 7.30 pm on 10th March I sent this email to Harit Nagpal the Managing Director of Tata Sky.

Dear Mr Nagpal,

You can only imagine my frustration. I would not have written to you without grave provocation.

Briefly, we are unable to get the new channels 566, 568 etc.

From 7th March 2016 we have registered complaints.

We have been told that a service engineer would visit us on 8th, then 9th and now 10th March. No one has visited.

We have continually followed up. Just unfulfilled promises.

My wife has stayed home in the fond hope that an engineer will turn up.

The complaint is still unattended and unresolved.

Could you please intervene


At 1937 hrs, that is seven minutes after sending the email, yes folks you read correctly, seven minutes, I got a call from the Chairman’s office in Bangalore (i) apologising (ii) promising action (iii) requesting me to not make any more calls and that the matter would be resolved.

At 9 pm a service engineer turned up. He took a flashlight went in the dark to the antenna on the building terrace, readjusted the antenna, made a few tweaks in the settings on my set top box and lo and behold I was getting those 3 channels as well as numerous other Hindi channels.

I realised I was a fool getting my knickers in a twist. I should have written to Mr Nagpal in the first place.

This reminds me of another episode on similar lines. An aged uncle and aunt of HRH the Queen of Kutch had, for reasons best known to them, taken some sort of timeshare package with Mahindra Holidays. Then they wanted their money back. Boy were they given the round around by Mahindra Holidays. Then, they asked if I would help them by taking them to a lawyer who specialised in Consumer Court cases. Aaah, how innocent, idealist and trusting people are, believing that a lawyer would be able to help them. I told them to write to Arun Nanda the Chairman of Mahindra Holidays. They did, and guess what, they got their money back.

Staying with the Mahindra’s but Mahindra Financial this time, I had a largish Fixed Deposit with them which I wanted to prematurely encash. I was aware that I would lose some money and that was acceptable to me. Several phone calls but no the refund was stuck. A email to Mr Ravi V the Managing Director and Ms Arnawaz Pardiwala the Company Secretary and within a day the proceeds were credited to the account.

How many times have you heard in the recent past about complaints being made on Twitter and being addressed instantaneously?

I really do not want to get into the question of why no one can do their jobs unless humiliated or kicked.

Go Figure.

No comments:

Post a Comment