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Not a good Idea Sirji
In this personal experience, I highlight how, in spite of the popular adage 'customer is the king', a customer actually suffers because of whims and fancies of large scale multinationals.

I have been highly impressed by one popular cell phone service provider, Idea from the day one, and as soon as number portability became a reality I switched from my old service provider. At first, it was hunky dory and the reduced bills were surely a welcome sight. The few glitches in connectivity etc were overlooked.

However, I rounded a rough bend the day I lost my smartphone. My cell number was registered in all my bank and credit card accounts and hence all transactions and passwords came on that number only. Also, it being a smartphone had confidential emails and the service was running when I lost it. Any attempt to change my passwords on the accounts would mean the details would be sent to this number only.

Hence, I called up Idea Cellular Services and requested that they close down my phone number. To my shock, I was informed that the customer service could only debar outgoing calls and can’t close down the number completely. I was astounded. Shutting down the number in case of an emergency is the first service that any mobile service provider should provide. I was unceremoniously told that I had to go to an Idea outlet to shut down my number. Since I had lost my phone at nine in the night, I asked them which outlet will be open at 10.

Also, I was flying out early next morning. However, I was told that I could not shut down my number from any other city, as the number belonged to this city. When I asked if a relative of mine could do it on my behalf, I was told yes, but only if he carried my valid photo ID.

The next day, however, when my relative reached an Idea shop not just with my photo ID but also an FIR report, he was told that the person who lost the mobile had to be present. When he said that the customer service had already told them that it was not mandatory, the shop attendant maintained that the customer service had provided them wrong information.

Hence, I spent one week checking my phone number daily to ensure that no one had powered on the cell, but to my relief, it would always be switched off. I also refrained from using my account as the details would go to that number. Attempts to change my number from the bank accounts online were also unsuccessful as the passwords to change kept going to my previous number.

After returning to the city, I went to an Idea outlet on last Saturday, but they were closed on account of Republic Day holiday. The next day, though the outlet was open, a highly rude attendant informed us that their systems were shut on Sundays and they could not help me.

Finally, on Monday I had the good fortune of meeting a higher up person in Idea who helped me out and had my number shut down within seconds.

I could not understand if it was such an easy task why did Idea make me run in circles? Why did I have to use contacts to have a simple job done? How they could not shut down the number even when they had a FIR document and what would have happened if I did not have this contact?

Idea spends crores of rupees on its television ads but sadly they have not spent money where it is most required - at the point of contact for customers!

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