Consumer VOICE

Airtel found guilty of overbilling

Bengaluru consumer forum has ordered Airtel to pay Rs 5,000 as compensation for overbilling a customer and forcing him to pay the inflated bill by abruptly disconnecting his service. The customer had opted for a particular plan that had a clear credit limit. However, Airtel charged him beyond the set limit and disconnected the number citing non-payment of bills as reason.

While looking for more internet data and additional talktime, R Murali bought one 1,999 plan from an Airtel outlet in May 2016. The plan promised free local and STD calls including roaming, unlimited SMS and 7.1 GB of internet data. However, within two weeks of usage, the user received a text from Airtel stating he had exceeded his usage limit. Puzzled, the 44-year-old customer called the Airtel executive who convinced him that the new package would kick in within a few days and the discounts would come into effect.

In June 2016, Murali was shocked to receive an email stating his Airtel bill was Rs 9,979. Murali contacted the Airtel helpline and raised a query about how could the 1,999 plan go beyond the cap without the customer receiving any alert. Although the company executives admitted to a possible mix- up and assured Murali of sorting out the issue, they only barred all his services within a few days. This forced him to lodge a formal complaint at the forum.

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