An Open Letter to Hutch India

Dear Hutch,

I demand a public apology. You bungled up the BPL transition horribly, and you have to make amends. Face the facts: it’s been over two months since BPL Kerala went pink, and the customer experience has continued to be horrible. If there’s a way to acquire a controlling stake and then integrate a different operator service into your framework, you’ve shown us that this is not it, definitely.

Constant “network busy” errors, wacky billing errors, zero availability of the 111 customer service number (on purpose, perhaps?), changing helplines and recharge shortcodes without any definite intimation, taking down your value-added-services almost at a whim, and the best of all – forced re-submission of all registration data! Just because you are all pretty in pink (and orange and whatnot) doesn’t mean that customers will flock to you.

And what a letdown! The huge “Hutch is coming” feeling that permeated the state and the immense publicity of the launch-day gala made me think, “Wow, I’ll finally get to use a real operator.” Call forwarding, call waiting, put a call on hold, maybe even GPRS and some 2G VAS. But nope, you gave me hell on earth. If I want to make a call from my cell – to any other mobile operator, including intra-circle calls – I have to face on an average, on bad days, at least a 2 minute delay while I work out the network busy errors: there’s no clear-cut solution except to press “redial” again and again and again. And when finally the call does get through, bad reception and voice quality, crackling and interference and sometimes even connections to completely different numbers! We are not living in the 1980s any longer! And just because this state happens to be way down (geographically) doesn’t mean you get to play frisbee with us.

What I’d like is some kind of admission that there are problems. Some kind of data that says that you are working on these issues because on-the-road user experience is way worse now than two months ago. The only positive indication seems to be the way coverage has improved, but that’s such a small piece of the pie. Instead, every one of the bland customer-support personnel seems intent on regarding mistakes during the transition with an all-in-a-day’s work attitude. The axiom seems to be “The customer will always suffer”.

There was a particularly funny incident (in that sad but funny way) during one of the earlier days. Hutch (and earlier, BPL) provide a status SMS immediately after the call gets over which has the amount of money that I spent on it. That’s the useful information, the rest of it are ads. But I’m digressing. By design, these annoying messages are only delivered once after a call. On that fateful day, around every three minutes I would receive that very same message on my cell. Irritated, I called up, to face an irate customer-care rep who got angry at me for disturbing him in the dead of the night (It was around 1). While on a personal level I pity the customer-care reps, the technical bungling that had to happen for a frickin disaster like this only proves my point. Didn’t you have a plan before you ventured into the merger?

Do give me some indication that the tide is changing. Be (wo)man enough to admit that you made mistakes too. An SMS that I got today said I’ll have call-waiting and forwarding enabled finally. Is that true, or is it more promises not delivered? Or is it something like what I like to call the Hutch-recharge-loop: when I call 141 to recharge, it says “Call 500,” and when I call 500, it says “Welcome to Hutch. BPL Mobile is now Hutch. Call 141 to recharge.” How is any uninformed customer supposed to recharge his mobile connection?

Do not bungle up again. Please. I like the image that Hutch offers to the media a lot. The cool kid on the block, the cool ads, the really cool understated media presence. I’d really love to be a Hutch customer. But give me respect.


10 responses

  1. Norvasc….

    Norvasc. Norvasc versus lopressor….

  2. The bloody bunch of idiots have issued connections without verification bases on BSNL numbers provided as reference and are now calling up people all around.
    They also started a racket with Shri Ravishankar duping the public by sending you loving messages every morning without verifying whether you want to subscribe or not and leaving no avenues open for cancellation. A bunch of rogues I say.

  3. sir how can i find my incoming/outgoing call details and sms?plz tell if this is possible..thanxxx

  4. Hi,

    I am TamilNadu Hutch prepaid customer. They are offering a Rs. 30 Special Tariff Voucher which gives 100 free minutes to local hutch numbers every night (10pm to 8am) for 30 days. I recharged with that voucher on 17th June, 2007. Usually it should be active in 24 hours. But this failed and I started calling from 19th June, 2007. They asked either 24 hours or 48 hours to resolve the issue. But did that only on 26th June, 2007 morning. This was resolved only after I told them that I will mail this issue to their higher officials and TRAI if not resolved before 9am on 26th June, 2007.

    See how much we have to fight for our issues to get resolved.

    Don’t think that postpaid will have no issues like this. One of the dealer advised me not to take a postpaid connection since it has lot of billing discrepancies.

    Other service providers are also not good.

    These private players will give good service only if BSNL starts giving a good service which is a distant dream. There is no level playing in this field.

  5. mrs m sambhy Avatar
    mrs m sambhy

    i got my problem solved, the hutch staff were very polite, the customer care is great, i have no complaints now
    mrs m sambhy

  6. mrs m sambhy Avatar
    mrs m sambhy

    i am a prepaid customer since last 6 years, after submitting my documents regurarly, my phone got disconnected, the company is doing this to harass people so that we switch over to postpaid scheems and the company gets a better profit,

  7. eLEKtROnIC gOD Avatar
    eLEKtROnIC gOD

    hutch in goa sucks!!!

  8. Not sure how I can help you… you want me to call this guy/girl? Hit contact me to the right and send me an email. Try Skype-out too. +9198xxxxxxxx should work though.

  9. Hi V,
    U dont know but this comes to u from just across the border.

    I was trying to trigger the Hutch ppl to help me with dialing a Hutch number im Mumbai fro Pakistan. Their bloody website is so planned that u can’t even send them a feed back (their address / place menu has only Indian destinations)unless u r in India. Anyway, came accros yr page by chance and liked yr style and atttitude.
    Now to the point. I need to dial person in Mumbai using Hutch. the number goes 98194xxxx (that’s 9 digits for a person dialing within Mumbai). I thought I was being very clever [ 😉 ] by adding 00 and 91 for dialing/messaging from Pakistan [00 is my international gateway and p1 is India] but no luck. Got the time to help this bloke?

    If u r busy or whatever, chuck this email in the junk bin, no problem n no hard feelings.
    Hv a nice day.

  10. same is the case in mumbai.. you pay a bill, they never get it. so ou have sort out the difference between credit card company and hutch. who has time for all this.

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