Earlier today, Falstaff explained to me that I actually could post angry rants about phone companies, since they'd deserve anything I said about them. I've calmed down since then, though, and so this will be a lot less exciting than it might have been.
About ten days ago, Airtel offered to change my prepaid number to a *postpaid* (that isn't a real term, is it?) one for free. This (they said) was to be done with minimum discomfort to me, would only take a day, my phone would only be unuseable for a few minutes, etc. I very much doubted that it would be that easy, but I'd been planning to switch over for a while. The next day someone from the company arrived to collect proof of identity (which was given) and a passport sized photo of me (also given) and I, sweet innocent that I am, thought it was all over.
Two days later I was out and someone from the office showed up again to confirm my address. They hadn't told me they were going to, and my dad (who was home) asked why not. Apparently the man told him that they did not call ahead for address confirmations, and dad pointed out(reasonably, I thought) that if they expected their customers to be home all the time, said customers would hardly require cellphones. Since I wasn't home, the guy left.
The next day someone did call, asking me what time would be convenient for me. I told him. He didn't show up.
The next day, they disabled all outgoing calls and messages on my phone.
I called up to complain twice. The second time, they reactivated my phone calls, etc, and promised to send a man to confirm my address. The man came, confirmed my address, was again shown proof of ID, and left.
On saturday morning, two hours before my flight to Bombay I discovered that Airtel had switched off my roaming priveleges, so that my phone would be useless outside Delhi. It would be nice if they'd told me this would happen, but I suppose it's my fault for not asking at the time. So I switched my phone off and left it at home and went off to Mumbai, thinking I'd get the roaming thing sorted out when I got back.
This evening I came home and switched on my phone. A couple of text messages needed replying to, and inexplicably, my phone refused to send said messages. Nor would it make outgoing calls. This was beginning to seem rather familiar. I called customer care (for the fifth time in ten days) and asked what was going on.
I was told my address hadn't been confirmed.
A rather timid customer care guy told me he understood completely and that someone would come to confirm my address...by June 21st.
At times like these, you can either yell or bang your head repeatedly against a wall. I yelled.
I think I'm getting a new phone number. And if anyone from Airtel actually reads this, you are welcome to grovel.