Broadband Connection: the Reliance Webworld experience

My search for an Internet connection continues… without much success though.

I posted a while ago with Airtel’s customer service and eagerness to cancel my connection. They did promptly so I was left with no option but to look for alternatives.

I decided on BSNL, but I’ve been told that there’s a 2 month or more waiting period and since I needed a connection urgently, I decided to try out the Reliance Voice and Data Modem.

A week ago, I visited the Reliance Webworld at Forum and they told me their USB modems were out of stock and to call back. In about 3 days time.

Next, I visited the Cunningham Road branch also to be told they were out of stock. Of course, no one bothered to let me know when they would be in stock.

I called the RW in Forum again and talked to Nehru, one of the sales guys, who had earlier assured me they were getting stock. Come over he said, we have stock now. So I drove all the way back from Cunningham Road to Forum. Where are the documents, he asks? Well, if you’d told me about them in the first place, I would have got them along, I replied!

So it was back home again. The next day, I went back to RW armed with all my documents. The guy at the counter took about 15-20 minutes to fill up my form.

A few minutes later (I was checking mail at their Net cafĂ©) the manager, Pishu, came up to me and told me that they couldn’t give me a USB modem after all.

Why, I ask, rather incredulously.

Because, you’re paying on your card. If you give me cash, I can give it to you right now, he said.

We’re out of stock, is his logic. We’re selling around 6-7 of these a day. So if you pay cash we can pay another store and settle it.

I am aghast by now.

What kind of logic is this and how can anyone give this kind of explanation to a customer? After he/she has filled the form and is visiting the centre for a 3rd time, and after being assured that there’s a modem available?!

Since I’m not in the habit of carrying 4000 bucks of cash on me usually, I told him that I don’t have that much cash.

The other customer service guy handed back the form to me and walked away.

That was it!

Of course, with my last encounter with the Reliance Webworld folks, I should have known better than to expect anything from them.

But seriously, the levels of customer service leave me speechless sometimes.

Not only did the manager not bother to tell me to come back the next day / suggest an alternate solution, he didn’t even try and bother to listen when I told him I had been assured there was a card. He just simply said he couldn’t accept cash and walked away!

Of course, he’s going to get a thousand other customers, so really he doesn’t need me. But is this the kind of service one offers to a customer?

And why on earth are they opening one centre after another if they can’t service existing customers? If their data cards are selling like hotcakes shouldn’t they stock more of them and not have a customer visit them 3 times only to be turned back?

I am, shocked by this apparent lack of sensitivity and their apathetic outlook towards customers.

But it’s Reliance. I should have known better.

It’s back to BSNL. Let’s see what happens there!

27 Comments so far

  1. Chitra (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 1:33 pm

    It is the smugness that is frustrating. Not that I have had a personal experience, but it is clear that they have more customers than they want, losing a few will help with their inventory management! Pathetic.

  2. Sanjay (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 2:29 pm

    Why dont you try Hathway cable Internet….provided its available in your area.
    I’ve been using it for a while now and am very satisfied with the service and the performance.

  3. Saran (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 2:31 pm

    I had similar experience with Reliance Indiranagar branch. Reliance customer care outlets are filled with bunch of crabs. Service is POOR raise to the power of POOR. Surprisingly, BSNL service is much better than Reliance ( Based on my personal experience ).
    So, guys, excuse from Reliance or face stray dog attitude from Reliance.

  4. anita (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 2:49 pm

    @ Chitra: absolutely, what lack lustre and smug attitudes. i have yet to meet a good customer service rep in these centres.

    @ sanjay: can you give me a contact number? i tried the number on their site but it’s constantly busy!

    @ saran: bsnl is next on my list…

  5. Ravi (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

    Well, Anita, I’d recommend AIRTEL for broadband anyday but if they are simply not available, then BSNL is a good, value for money choice. All the best with getting their connection soon.

  6. Mahesh Shantaram (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 3:19 pm

    That’s the way it is here. I’ve noticed that nobody likes to say “Sorry” or even a blunt “No, we can’t help you.” They just swing around and walk away. Like when you ask an auto driver whether he will kindly oblige to take you to so and so place… If he’s not interested, which is most often the case, they just turn away nonchalantly or speed off giving you a disgusted look that suggests “Why the hell can’t you go to some place I feel like going to, you worthless lowlife?”

    I feel better now.

  7. Deepa Mohan (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 3:40 pm

    Must have been so frustrating, and they just don’t seem accountable,and going to the consumer redressal forum takes so much more of our time, and….I hated Reliance even when I got my first mobile phone as the shop in Jayanagar 4th block is run exactly like a Bihar Govt office, with no service. I never got bills properly for months and each month they would cut off my connection.

    BSNL does take time but the service IS surprisingly good, at least where I stay.

  8. Deepa (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 4:45 pm

    Yes, my experience with BSNL has also been good and no, there was no delay in getting the connection. Maybe you shud give it a try…

  9. Rajesh (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 6:43 pm

    Not that surprising to note the ‘BSNL’ has a different story for me to tell.

    Few days ago my Broadband modem stopped working, the power suppy got overheated and died. The modem is on rent thus I logded the complaint with BSNL on 17/05. The next day someone called me to tell pls carry the modem to exchage and get it replaced. I explained that I am working in office and can carry it after 6.30pm. He said sorry we don’t work after 5pm.

    Next day same person called me and said we have replaced the power adaptor once thus we will not replace but you have to get new one from open market. I said if the renatls are paid to you for the equipment it is your duty to get me the replacement, the quality of the adaptor is poor thus it got burnt. He was not in listening mode he bangs the phone. In need of Internet at home I rush and find the power adaptor, but the link does not start thus call the 18004241600 to lodge the complaint, after few questions and act that the technician made me perform from switching on modem connecting it back, swapping phone lines and data cable he accepts that the link light is not on due to exchange problem. the complaint is lodged. No development for next day thus I call again on 19th. The error on 1800 number was ‘your call can not be proceeded’ i kept trying and call the 1500 number for general complaint. They tell me that since it is broadband issue I must report on 1800 number only. I told them that i am calling to lodge a complaint that the 1800 number is not working. the agent laughs and says you can not lodge such a complaint. I call public grievance on 12727, the lady on the phone listens to me and tells me to talk to Deputy engineer. She tells me that I should call only after 11am till 4pm as there is no one who will listen to me after 6pm. We don’t work after 6pm.

    Next day I tried atleast 15-20 times to get though the numbers given but can’t make it through, no one was picking up the phone and otherwise phone was engaged. In the noon I get an automated call from exchange stating that the problem is resolved press 1 if true, and press 2 if problem persist. I press ‘2’ as the problem was not resolved yet.
    Late evening I call again to the 1800 number and it works, I could reach to an agent who surprised me saying that the exchange has reported that your problem is successfully resolved. I was shocked and reported that the problem is still not solved, he registers another complaint gives me the docket number and advises me to meet the Deputy engineer in person and even promises that he will send some technical expert at my residence to check the link. I kept waiting for the entire weekend and call the grievance number 12727 on Saturday evening again. The lady gives me DGMs number and tells me to call him on weekday. I asked her about the complaint number and she says that pls speak to the DGM first and he can help me get the broadband working. I tell her all three complaint numbers and request her to lodge the complaint under grievance as the exchange keeps closing my complaint without rectifying the issue, she hangs up the phone.

    Here I am after six days and three complaint numbers later still waiting for anyone from BSNL to rectify the problem.

    God save this BSNL!!!

  10. silkboard (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 10:09 pm

    My experience with BSNL has been very good. I got the service an year ago, it wasn’t a mad rush then. Have Reliance as well, better speeds and uptime than BSNL, but error-prone billing.

    Guys, if you have no option but to wait for broadband installation or ports, but your neighbor has it, then you may want to buy them a wireless router and share the connection. Not that hard to do. Split the costs with them, and if speed is a problem, make them upgrade to faster plan (and you pay the diff, obviously).

  11. Anton (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:25 pm

    I have Airtel, BSNL and Reliance (for my laptop). I have just listed them out in the terms of their desirability! Try very hard to get your act together with the Airtel option: the pros outweigh the cons!!!

    Remember, we are still a long way from the Better Busines Bureau, class action suits and a buyer’s market!!!

  12. Ravi (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 11:42 pm

    Thats a brilliant and workable solution from SB. Wireless Routers cost as low as 3k these days. Anybody needs help with a supplier for the same, do let me know.

  13. Sid (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2007 @ 1:18 am

    Is it possible the employees were fishing for a bribe?

    I am not trying to impugn the innocent. I am asking if fishing for a bribe is a hidden custom. If not, a straightforward answer would be reassuring.

  14. Sid (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2007 @ 1:19 am

    Is it possible the employees were fishing for a bribe?

    I am not trying to impugn the innocent. I am asking if fishing for a bribe is a hidden custom. If not, a straightforward answer would be reassuring.

  15. santosh kabbur (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2007 @ 10:25 am

    I also had very frustrating experiences with Airtel. They didn’t take my company letter for address proof, saying that my company is not listed. Ironically they had give me landline with same letter 1year back. Since I had cancelled the landline, they said it is no more valid. Finally I got pissed off and went to reliance web world in BSK 1st stage, surprisingly he gave me the USB modem in 1day, but took 3days to activate it :-(
    overall conclusion is none of these companies care about customer experience

  16. Nobody (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2007 @ 11:55 am

    Customer service in Bangalore is pathetic as compared to other cities.

  17. Srikanth (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2007 @ 12:25 pm

    Airtel also has the data card(PCMCIA card for laptop) which doesnt require any landline connection. It connects with wireless. Actually its pretty good while travelling, and you have your own internet connection anywhere on your laptop(if you are using a laptop)

    Or you can have a GPRS enabled phone, and connect with it.

  18. anita (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2007 @ 12:43 pm

    @ Rajesh: Wow! that’s quite a story and giving me second thoughts already. I hope you manage to sort it out with the BSNL folks, but this shifting the blame attitude sounds really familiar.

    @ silkboard: not sure if my neighbours have a connection, but it’s worth a shot i guess if all else fails!

    @ Anton: I tried everything with them, even told them i was ready to wait, but they cancelled my line before i could do anything.

    @ Sid: I seriously doubt that, considering they weren’t even ready to take my suggestions.

    @ santosh: i know what you mean, i can probably go to another reliance web world, take cash and try and get one, but i’m not sure i want to anymore after my experience.

    @ nobody: in my personal experience, after living in mumbai for 5 years, i must say that the levels are a little better in that city.

    @ srikanth: thanks! will check out that option…

  19. anita (unregistered) on May 24th, 2007 @ 4:04 pm

    @ MAHESH:

    totally know what you are going through! my sis has been here a few days and was asking me why the ricks don’t want to go anywhere. and where do they actually GO! i had no answer, of course. there’s nothing that annoys me more than their indifferent attitudes.

  20. sakthi (unregistered) on May 24th, 2007 @ 7:01 pm

    Hi Ani,i can clearly understood your frustration. Since i too face the similar problem with Tataindicom Broadband connection,now i happily settled with Airtel connection.There is two reasons for these guys not keeping Modems and USB’s in stock..1)They really not sure about their product or service demand,2)They want to create fake demand for their service by the way saying No stocks Madam..But surely Ani you’ll definitely face more problem if you land up in BSNL,at least private palyers answering your questions Whereas in the BSNL they not even bothered to open their mouth.I experienced.
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  21. Libran Lover (unregistered) on May 25th, 2007 @ 1:40 pm

    Customers service in India sucks for a lot of products and services – from both public and private organizations. The reason is that there are too many customers and too few companies serving them. So, even if some customers get disgusted and leave a company, they will always be replaced with more new customers waiting in line. So, the companies never feel the pinch of competition. They have no incentive to take care of their customers. It’s disgusting!

    But there is also a GREAT hidden opportunity here. Anyone who comes up with American-style efficiency, replicable processes (think franchise) and consistently good customer service will hit a goldmine – regardless of what product or service they are selling.

  22. RAVI A (unregistered) on May 25th, 2007 @ 7:28 pm

    I find BSNL the best of the lot. All private companies care only about money and tend to cut corners in product offerings or customer service. Although BSNL as an organization is a wee bit inefficient at times, the overall experience of Dataone service is refreshingly positive, including customer service attitude.

    After all, they were the pioneers of broadband – forced all competitors to scramble by introducing value plans and upgraded 2MBPS speeds for same cost! BSNL beats the hell out of any competition anyday.

    It took 1 week for me to get a connection since I did not already have a land line. If you have a land line it is 1-2 days. Even if the requested type modem is not available (there was a peak rush sometime back), they provide an alternative modem and later when it becomes available the engineer agrees to come over to replace it – they are pretty flexible on that sort of thing.

    Complaint booking and acting on it was fairly prompt, responsive and very much customer oriented. The newly introduced tollfree line 1800.. has a few hiccups in reaching an operator (I expect they would get this in shape soon), but once complaint is booked it is acted on promtly – within 1 day in my last two experiences. They even called up several times after rectifying, to confirm the problem has indeed been solved!

  23. RSharma (unregistered) on June 4th, 2007 @ 11:31 am

    Everyone agrees that BSNL is good. I agree too. but do you know how much time it takes to get a connection. I have applied in Jan 2007. Even when today (almost 5 months) you ask for connection it is told that they are not in position to tell when the connection will be give. But is anyone aware that whenever you walk into any BSNL office. I am sure that BSNL is being held back by the private operators.

  24. Vikas (unregistered) on June 5th, 2007 @ 2:25 pm


    I am also in search for the net connection (data card and cable)and am doing my own searches..

    1) AIRTEL – i was told the AIRTEL data card was among the best in india..but i don’t feel the same after going through this review “”.

    2) RELIANCE data room mate is having it and believe me..pathetic is also not the word for it..

    3)BSNL ADSL is there at my native and i found it quite OK. The speed is satisfactory. Regarding service, the experience was not good..customer satisfaction is given the lowest priority..but that is the same everywhere in india.

    3) friends are using is ok..but not up to mark..their customer service is really awesome(sarcastically)..the reasons they give for the slow internet really makes me think whether i really completed my engineering or not..:-D..but its better among the given lot.

    4)TATA which i read on net were not good..

    AND now i am too confused among these. Regarding data cards..i think india still has a long way to go..

  25. Mallikarjuna (unregistered) on June 7th, 2007 @ 7:44 am


    Because the problem started after anouncment of 2 mbps and increasing the data limit, every one started applying for dataone, so the back log, probably if you have applied in december or earlier if you would have got it.

    I got 900plus connection (usually i work at night) I will get even 1 mbps speeds and in 6 months only 1 breakdown.

  26. Mallikarjuna (unregistered) on June 7th, 2007 @ 7:46 am


    Because the problem started after anouncment of 2 mbps and increasing the data limit, every one started applying for dataone, so the back log, probably if you have applied in december or earlier if you would have got it.

    I got 900plus connection (usually i work at night) I will get even 1 mbps speeds and in 6 months only 1 breakdown.

  27. raja@gene (unregistered) on June 9th, 2007 @ 10:05 am

    BSNL is very good when it works. Outages are in the rate of 5 to 6 per month for ~ 8 hours each. We are getting a standby Airtel broadband and a reliance datacard.

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