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Airtel Customer Wrongly Billed Of Rs. 12 Lakhs, Took 6 Years To Get Justice!

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Imagine waking up to find your monthly mobile bill has raked in seven figures in expenses out of the blue! Shocking, wouldn’t it be?

Well, that is exactly what happened with a Bengaluru resident Melvin John Thomas who was sent a mobile bill of over a whopping 12 lakh, including international data roaming charges by Airtel.

After receiving the outrageous bill, the Bengalurean took his service provider to court for providing poor service. There, he was granted a compensation amount of Rs 10,000 for his troubles and was told not to pay the bill.

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This incident started way back in 2016 when Thomas had to travel to China for his work. He helmed the position of Manager at a heavy equipment dealer firm in Bengaluru.

Thomas had an Airtel sim as part of a corporate account. Before making the trip in October 2016, he called Airtel’s helpline seeking to activate international roaming for voice call for a specific period.

Although Thomas was provided with the facility, he claimed that he received no intimation SMS or call regarding the same. And later, after his tour was over, much to his shock, the Bengalureean received a mind-boggling bill from Airtel amounting to Rs 12,14,566 for the period October 29 2016, to November 2 2016.

According to Thomas, he neared suffered a heart attack after reviewing the exorbitant bill which was sent via SMS. He instantly got in touch with Airtel’s support representatives to verify the bill’s authenticity.

But, as luck would have it, it further added to his woes because Airtel sent him a revised bill of Rs 12,18,732. Thomas then questioned Airtel about how the huge bill was generated for data usage overseas when he primarily relied on WIFI during his entire China trip, and his overall plan was limited to only Rs 9,100.

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After having many such repeated interactions, Airtel sent another revised bill, this time totalling Rs 5,22,407. This is when Thomas finally realised all his attempts to solve the issue on his own had been rendered futile. He finally approached the Bengaluru 1st Additional District consumer disputes redressal commission on December 12 2016 and lodged a complaint against Bharati Airtel Ltd.

In the litigation that commenced, the company’s lawyer said that Thomas’ contention of a hefty bill was absolutely false, and the heart attack story is cooked up. But then, the judges of the consumer forum questioned Airtel on the upper limit of Rs 9,100 that was set on Thomas’s package.

The judges also noted that Bharati Airtel, as per the rules, should have notified the consumer when his usage reached 70% of the permissible limit. And lastly, they raised grave concerns about how Airtel could send Thomas a revised bill which was 60% less than the original sum.

Finally, on March 5, 2021, the court ruled that Thomas is relieved from paying the last revised bill of Rs Rs 5,22,407 that Airtel sent to him. But that’s not all.

The court furthermore directed the service provider to pay the customer Rs 5,000 towards damages caused and another Rs. 5,000 towards the court expenses Thomas had to bear.

All in all, this incident is an excellent example of service providers can snatch away your months worth of sleep over one single error and lead you to fight for making them undo the wrong over several years.

But the incident also highlights the lethargic slow process of judiciary as it took 6 years fir Thomas to get justice and have a sign of relief.

Would you have dealt with the situation any differently? Let us know in the comments down below. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.

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