Tuesday, March 1, 2011

BSNL Billing Woes

In the month of October 2010, I attempted to pay my BSNL bill through its website ( Normally my bill amount varies between 800 to 1000 rupees a month and now I saw a total of Rs.1600+ in one single bill showing that one month's payment was still due. Upon checking I found that the previous month's amount that I paid on the due date was not updated. The BSNL site has NO option to select/type the amount that you wish to pay. You are compelled to pay the sum mentioned there.

I went to the BSNL office to ask them to update the information so that I could pay the 900+ amount due for the month. Both people in charge in the Tarnaka BSNL office do not know how the BSNL website works! I demonstrated the same to them patiently. The lady who was in charge, Suvarchala, called up the person responsible for  the internet payments and asked him to rectify the amount showing online. He replied that he could not as the govt. employees are on strike! So, for some strange reason, whatever amount I had paid in the previous month (albeit on the last due date) remains un-updated for a month. I HAD to pay  my bill that day itself as it was the last day for paying for the bill generated for October. To further my misery, I was not carrying enough cash and offered to pay by card. The typical answer( I should have expected this) was that the machine that swipes the card is not working. Now, the only option left for me was to pay 1600+ amount for September ( which I already paid in the previous month) and that of October which was due this month. Suvarchala  assured me that if I pay the bills for both months, in November the amount paid in advance will be deducted and only the balance will reflect. Reluctantly, for no fault of mine, I paid double amount of September ( again) and that of October.

Is that the end of the story...what do you think? In the month of November, I again get a bill of 900+! Why? because the online payment has not been updated again (so, what's new?)..On calling Suvarchala, she checks and tells me that only 9 (nine) rupees is now due and not the 900+ reflected in the site. I, of course did not pay this time again as I obviously cannot choose the option of paying Rs.9...and guess what? The next month, in December 2010, I am fined an amount of 15 rupees towards late payment (actually non-payment of those 9 rupees)! At least, the January bill was ok and I could pay the right amount :)

This month (for the February bill), the website itself doesn't work. So what do I do? The safest thing and the only comprehensible thing as per BSNL requirement...haul myself to the BSNL office and pay them cash and get a hard copy of the receipt. I didn't carry my BSNL bill that is sent home every month. They have no qualms about  generating a duplicate bill (waste of paper). Second, waste of man power when you have hundreds of people queue up to pay their bill in person. Third, the physical receipt that is generated for every payment (waste of paper again).

All this wastage is acceptable for BSNL and not the easy and convenient online payment. Hail BSNL! Hail govt.!