Refunds for call drops
There is a gross distortion of my views in your news item “Call drops: BSNL, MTNL oppose compensation plan” (FE, October 2) relating to TRAI’s recent open house on the question of compensation to consumers for dropped calls. Your correspondent states that “Telecom consultant Mahesh Uppal said the scale of the problem is such that implementation will be a major issue, supporting industry’s concern on how would they identify genuine call drops or abnormal calls. However, consumer groups countered his claim and said that all technical solutions and systems are available to identify abnormal calls.” This misrepresents my interventions as well as the response of consumer groups. I explicitly stated, as TRAI’s records should confirm, that telecom companies should not charge customers for calls that fail for no fault of the latter. I specifically highlighted how airlines refund tickets for a cancelled flight, irrespective of whether they, the weather or for that matter VIP movements, etc. caused the flight to not take off. I clearly distinguished between refunds and compensation and supported the former and argued the latter would be prone to controversies and disputes, given the number of calls and consumers. I did not comment on the difficulty of identifying “genuine call drops or abnormal calls (sic)” as your correspondent says. Ironically, in a column on the subject of TRAI’s current consultation in this very newspaper (FE, “Taking the Right Call”, September 10), I had argued in favour of refunds for calls drops, citing the practice of airlines offering refunds for cancelled flights. I request you to correct the erroneous report.