Vodafone and Bharti Airtel have been told to compensate a customer after Vodafone disconnected a customer who ported from Airtel saying that the customer did not pay Airtel’s bills. The North 24 Parganas district consumer forum found that Bharti Airtel guilty of issuing ‘vague bills’ to a customer who had already ported out of the network to Vodafone.
Vodafone, in turn, was found guilty of wrongly disconnecting the subscriber’s connection based on Airtel’s inputs that the customer, Biplab Kanti Choudhury of Kolkata, had not paid his bill.
“OP No-2 (Bharti Airtel Ltd) is also directed to pay compensation to the complainant Rs 2000/- for sending vague bills within one month from the date of this order, failing which to comply the aforesaid order the OP No-1 (Vodafone) and 2 separately liable to penalty of Rs 50/- daily which will be deposited in the Consumer Welfare Fund,” the forum, comprising President Bandana Roy and Member Chandrima Chakraborty ruled on 28 October.
However, the heavier damages was imposed on Vodafone, which was the operator that disconnected the service based on inputs from Airtel.
“OP No-1 (Vodafone) is directed to connect the mobile service to the complainant within fifteen days from the date of this order. OP No-1 (Vodafone) is further directed to pay compensation of Rs 10,000/- for causing loss and mental anxiety due to disconnection and Rs 3,000/- as litigation cost to the complainant within one month from the date of this order.”
According to the facts of the case, Choudhury became a consumer of the Vodafone starting 10th March, 2013, after leaving Bharti Airtel through Mobile Number Portability.
However, according to the complaint, Bharti Airtel continued to send Choudhury bills for three more months — 11th March to 10th April, 11th April to 10th May and 11th May to 10th June.
Choudhury ignored the bills as he did not use company’s bills.
However, he soon got a message from Vodafone -‘Today is the last day to clear the dues with the earlier operator failure of this will lead to disconnect of services. Please ignore, if paid already.’ On 17 June, his connection was cut by Vodafone.