Being a consumer is not a matter of choice. We cannot survive without being a consumer. In fact, it never was and it will never be the case. What is more important is to be a consumer who is more aware especially in this era of digital consumerism. Innumerable choices for a particular item available across various platforms can often be so confusing and given the paucity of time, it is highly likely that we might miss the small details and most of the time we simply agree to the terms and conditions. In such scenario, it is important to understand your rights as a consumer and you should simply not give up in securing your rights. In this article, I shall share two important incidents of my life where, as a consumer, I missed the minor details during the purchase but I didn’t give up and ultimately secured my rights as a consumer.
Few years back, I, with my friends, planned to catch the live actions of Indian Cricket against South Africa at Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium in Kolkata. It was to be the third and the last T20I of the three match series in which India had already lost the first two matches and hence the series. We booked the tickets online from kyazoonga.com (now zoonga.com). We were expected to show the receipt of ticket generated online at the ticket counter at the stadium to get the original match ticket before the match. Unfortunately, due to huge crowd we could not get the ticket till the time match was to start. We did not want to miss any action of the match and so we thought to enter the stadium using that receipt which we called as ‘online ticket!’ We were successful to convince the security and entered the stadium on time. We were really excited as we entered the stadium but that excitement did not last long as we saw the announcement on the bigscreen- “Match delayed due to wet ground conditions, next inspection at 08:30 PM.” The news made us sad but we were still hopeful that the match would start. We continued clicking pictures, having chips and drinks and enjoying the atmosphere although hoping for more electrifying atmosphere which was yet to come.
The umpires kept inspecting the field and kept putting a new inspection time on the bigscreen, disappointing us and keeping our hopes alive, both at the same time. Finally, the tough luck hit hard on us and the match was called off due to unplayable conditions due to rain. We were heartbroken not because India lost the series but because we could not witness even a ball being played. We returned heartbroken while the only consolation being the information that ‘if a match is abandoned without even a ball being played then the complete amount of match fees is liable to be returned.’ To claim the refund, we needed to go to the Eden Garden. One of my friend went to the Eden Garden but returned disappointed only because we did not have the original match ticket. I was disappointed again but did not give up. I emailed the company discussing the complete issue and attaching all the related documents but did not get any reply. I was in no mood of giving up. I searched for the company’s CEO and twitted her on twitter (Although I doubt if that ever worked) and then I posted a letter to the company’s office address in Mumbai, writing all the details and attaching all the related documents. Few days later, we got the email from the company that our money would be refunded and it eventually did get refunded. ‘Yay!’
Few months back, I needed high amount of data to complete an online course during the lockdown and so I subscribed to a Rs 1208 pack of Jio which offered 240 GB of data upto 240 days. But after the recharge I figured out that the pack sets a usage limit of 30 GB/month. This came as a surprise and disappointment for me. Although, I knew that the case was not strong for me because I have agreed to the terms and conditions but still I decided to raise the complain on the National consumer Helpline platform through it’s Android application. I got a call from the National consumer Helpline office in Mumbai saying that my application is under process and to my surprise the pack was taken back and I got my money refunded. The second surprise came few months later during the IPL as I found that my HOTSTAR-VIP subscription was activated. Initially I thought it might have happened by mistake and money must have been deducted from my account but later I discovered that HOTSTAR-VIP was activated by the Rs 1208 recharge that I did few months ago. Though my money was refunded, the HOTSTAR-VIP subscription remained. Thus, by being aware about my consumer rights, I did not only get the refund of my Jio Recharge but also got the free subscription of HOTSTAR-VIP and that too legally. ‘Whoa, That was Huge!’