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Sunday, December 31, 2006

My New Year Resolution

I, Suresh Gupta, a proud citizen of India, adopt the following as my New Year resolution:
 That I shall work for continual improvement of day-to-day life of Indian citizens.
 That my relationship with all other Indians shall be on three levels – emotional, social and national.
 That on emotional level the relationship shall be based on the principles of humanity, as I am a human being and so all other Indians.
 That on social level the relationship shall be based on the principles of peaceful co-existence, as I am a part of the Great Indian Society and so all other Indians.
 That on national level the relationship shall be based on the principles of nationalism, as I am a citizen of Great Indian Nation and so all other Indians.
 That my behavior with all other Indians shall be guided by above principles.
 That my religion, my language, my life-style, my food habits etc., shall be my personal traits.
 That I shall consider religion, language, life-style, food habits etc., of all other Indians as their personal traits, and shall respect them.
 That all my personal traits shall support and strengthen above relationships.
 That based on above relationships, I shall work for creation of a class-less all-Indian society.
That I do not have any copyright on this manifesto and all Indians are welcome to adopt it in full or part as their manifesto.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Safe cold drinks - see it as a customer intertest issue and not as a conflict

Safety of food, now focussed on soft drinks, and further focussed on colas, should be a concern of all. There can be no two opinions that these drinks should be safe for human consumption. Then why there is a conflict? It seems as though a war is being fought between CSE and cola companies; and media, other consumer groups, statutory authorities and the governments are playing refrees. Can any of these agencies say that people's health is not a matter of importance? Can any of these agencies say that levels of pesticide and other harmful chemicals in these drinks is of no value? I think that no body in right sense will say that. And why they are fighting with each other?

A right sense should prevail and all these agencies should put before the people all relevant facts and figures, and then suggest solutions to make these drinks fully harmless. If standards are to be drawn then BIS/PFA should do it on emergency basis. If reliable testing needs to be done them CSE and other laboratories (including those of cola manufacturers) should develop and implement laboratory management systems as per ISO/IEC 17025 to ensure tyechnically valid results. And most important of all, irresponsible people like Ramadoss, unhealthy minister of India should keep his mouth shut.

People of India deserve this and no body should fail them. No more wrong and incomplete information. The customer is confused and this is harassment which should stop forthwith.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A new form of harassment!

What is happening on cola issue is nothing but a new form of harassment. Evetrybody involved in this debate is trying to force his or her views down the throats of customers. Let us see what Mr. Gurcharandas has to say about it:

"How to score a self-goal!

Truly, we are a wondrous land! In a country where two thirds of the children are undernourished, where 70 percent of the people cannot access safe sanitation and 65 infants die out of a thousand born, we are seriously debating the pesticide levels in a product that is probably the safest in the world from a pesticide perspective. Sadly, the controversy has created a scare in a nation which has among the lowest pesticide residues in its food chain. Indian diets contain roughly 18 percent of acceptable daily intake levels of pesticide versus Western diets which have 40 to 50 percent, according to international experts. The reason is that our diets are extensively vegetarian; and meat inherently has higher pesticide levels via the grains ingested by animals in the food chain.

If we are seriously concerned with pesticides in Indian diets, we ought to begin with tea. According to European norms (EU), tea contains 187,300 times the pesticide than water used in colas. If hypothetically our colas had exceeded allowable levels by thirty times, I could still drink 6200 glasses of cola and I would have less pesticide in my body than a cup of tea. The same goes for other foods. EU norms allow apples to have 154,120 times the pesticide than water; bananas to have 95,220 times; milk 7140 times. So, soft drinks are among the safest products we consume from the pesticide perspective. This doesn’t mean that our other foods are not safe. Nor is our food chain polluted—an unfortunate impression created by the media. It means that we do not live in an ideal world free of pests and pesticides.

I am generally a critic of our government, but in this case I give it credit. It has fixed water standards which are equal to the highest norms in the world. Since water in soft drinks conforms to these norms, it is probably safer to drink a Pepsi in Kerala than in Kentucky. The government is also now working on sugar norms and testing a protocol for finished soft drinks. In the end, governments understand that multinational companies have to maintain high standards because they have too much to lose. News travels quickly and a disaster in one country can harm a company’s image and sales around the world. Hence, the Indian government wants to do its own tests. The last time around government data showed six times lower pesticide levels than CSE’s tests.

Our state politicians have fallen into a trap. They think that by banning colas they have won cheap votes. People, however, will soon realise that they have been taken for a ride. Already the people of Kerala are questioning, how can you ban colas and allow the sale of liquor and cigarettes? Eventually, everyone has lost in this silly business. Our nation has been unfairly smeared for high pesticide in our food chain. Our exports of food products will lose the trust of international customers. Tourists will say, “If I can’t drink a safe cola, how can I eat anything in India?” Foreign investors will be reluctant to invest in a country which does not observe the rule of law in closing factories. All NGOs have got a bad name by these smear tactics. The environmental movement has been hurt. This is sad because we need a strong civil society to take on the real problems of India. Finally, media has been tarnished by its lack of application. We have truly scored a self-goal!"

Do you think that current debate is addressing these pertinent issues raised by Mr. Das in his article? My answer is no. Providing wrong or incomplete information makes it a new form of harassment of customers. And all, govt, PFA, BIS, cola manufacturers, CSE, other NGOs, medias, are involved in harassing the customer.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Reliance way of harassing customers

Reliance is a very big organization. In its comparison a single customer has no means to fight when subjected to harassment by reliance. It becomes an unequal fight.

My family runs a training and consultancy company. It provides advisory services to other companies on management systems. It needs a reliable communication network to remain in continuous contact with its clients. Not being satisfied with MTNL services the company took a phone connection from reliance. It worked quite satisfactorily for few years. Then suddenly, the phone was disconnected withoit any intimation. Then we discovered that we are helpless agianst the might of reliance. That reliance has no respect for its cusatomers. That it believes hat customers are always wrong and only try to steal money from reliance. The amount in our case was Rs. 551.00.

We tried to get in touch with reliance to know what happened but could not reach the right person/department. Everybody we talked with only directed us to talk to somebody else. We were even given numbers of Mumbai. It was only when an executive visited us and told us that we have not made payment of Rs. 551.00. We told him and also talked with his office telling them that we have deposited the cheque in the box earmarked by reliance. For years we have been depositing the cheque there. He and his office told us that the cheque might have been misplaced in their office and assured us that they will check and revert back to us. They never did. After that we were visited by at least six executives fron six different offices of reliance to demand the money but no body informed what had happened to our chaque and why our phone was disconnected without any advance notice.

We were naturally very annoyed. This sudden disconnection of phone has affected our buisness. We have lost many calls from prospective clients. Existing clients showed their displeasure on being attended to on phone. We had to take urgent actions for organizing and informing alternate numbers for communication. But no information came from reliance about the whereabouts of our cheque. No explanation was given as to why our phone was disconnected without any advance notice. We have always believed that reliance will treat us as a special customer as we have always paid their bills well in advance. We never thought that we will be treated in such disgusting manner.

Our phone is still disconnected but we are receiving bills for no service. The details will be posted in comments.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Junk calls from service providers is harassment

Peaky telemarketing by banks, mobile companies and other service providers is nothing but harassing the customer. You are in the middle of an important meeting, in a business seminar, chatting with your friends and relatives, in the middle of your dinner, and an unidentifiued person asks you to buy some service which you don't need. You already have a credit card of a bank and this person from the same bank wants you to buy a credit card of the same bank. You don't need a loan but this person tells you that his corporate office has selected you for giving a loan to you without any interest. Your mobile service package meets your need but this person asks to buy some more new products which you don't need. You either cut the phone call or be polite to say sorry that you don't need the services offered. In later case you will be spending few more minutes listening to the sales talk and raising your mental temperature.

These service providers are cheating you on the confidence you placed in them and given them your mobile number for getting better service. They sell your mobile number to other service providers and you start receiving such junk calls from all sort of service providers. Bharti, Idea, Hutch and almost all banks have made life very uncomfortable by these junk calls. You can decline the offer courteously or shout at them but what will you do with their latest mode of harassment, the recorded message.

Now see the impertinance of Hutch Marketing Manager, Naveen Chopra. He says that he will harass you at his will. If you do not want to be harassed then you will have to go to their website to use 'do not call' option. Why should I do this? Do not I have any right not to be harassed? What right this fellow Chopra has to harass me with his junk calls? I have bought the mobile for my comfort and convenience and not for being harassed by some Hutch Chopra or Idea Mukerji or some Airtel spokesperson. And see the bullshit claim these companies make - we care for user privacy.

There should be a law to stop this harassment directed to a specific customer.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Wrong Ads are also harassment

It is not only that customer is harassed only after he has purchased a service or peoduct, the harassment starts much before that. Giving wrong advertisements about a product or service is also a form of harassment.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Customer never treated with respect

There were days when people used to say that customer as king. Mahatma Gindhi said that customer is the most important visiter to the business premises as the business is there because customer is there. Now these things have changed. A complainig customer is seen as more of a nuisence than an important visitor. Number of customers have increased and supply is not matching. Companies feel that their product or service will be sold if not to one customer than to the other customer. So why bother about them?

Customer and product manufacturer or service provider never get to see each other. In between them are computers and call center executives. These people are paid to listen not to solve the problem or forward it to the company. You are not their customer. Their customer is the company. Take the case of reliance phone. You have to interact with a huge organization. You will be lost and never will be able to talk to someone who is directly connected with your phone service.