Always read the fine print with Reliance: Case BIG Cinemas

I had the fortune to get hold of a couple of free ticket vouchers (3+1 offer) when a bunch of us went for the Avatar 3D show at IMAX (Wadala, Mumbai) in December. They were valid till 31st March 2010 & so 3 of us thought why not catch up on Alice in Wonderland 3D using those. Unfortunately, we chose to go to the R-City multiplex this time & here’s a summary of what happened:

  1. I go to the counter & ask for 3 tickets & give the person the two vouchers & the cash for the remainder ticket.
  2. He looks at the vouchers & informs me that they’re not valid in here as they don’t contain the R-City stamp & he shows me a sample voucher with such a stamp.
  3. I then ask to speak to the manager as the voucher seems to suggest that it should be valid at any BIG Cinemas.
  4. We speak to the manager & he kindly informs us that:
    • Sorry, but the vouchers are valid only at the branch where they were issued. So, our barcode readers here won’t be able to process those vouchers. (So much for integrated systems & CRM)
    • It was mainly a promotional strategy to increase the audience in each branch separately. (Duh!)
  5. We decide to watch it anyway & pay the sum for all the 3 tickets.

Lessons learnt

Have a look at the voucher first, interpret the barcode & the fine print too:



The clauses 1, 14 & 15 are particularly interesting. 1 is as vague as can be. Moreover clause 14 pretty much ensures that they can give you the boot any time. As for the movie, it was pretty decent, though the 3D effects were nowhere close to Avatar (sitting in the last row probably didn’t help, which was in spite of me asking for tickets towards the front – that’s another story).

All said & done, I do regret not having learnt to read barcode in my 18 years of education (school + engineering + management).

Reliance Mobile does it again

Last month I had written about the Reliance Mobile billing & notification system being broken wherein they do not send any notifications any more on exceeding the credit limit and just deactivate the outgoing call facility on the day the bill is generated. Well, they did it again today & in fact sent in the deactivation message earlier than last time (3:45 am). The script ran pretty much the same as last time, though I got fewer messages this time around.

At least the activation system is also equally prompt when you make the payment. Either way, they’re stuck with a broken system with no fix in sight. So much for effective CRM.

Reliance Mobile has it backwards

I have a Reliance CDMA post paid connection for which the bill gets generated around the 8th of each month. I have a Rs 500 credit limit & they used to send me an SMS when I used to get close to that limit. However, the incident of over the last day takes the cake:

  1. I get an SMS at 4:30 am saying that my outgoing call facility has been barred, without any warning whatsoever. This in spite of my paying the bills on time (in fact, I make payments in the excess to cushion against the credit limit).
  2. I log on to their site after waking up and make a payment of Rs 1000 against the bill amount of Rs 838 (incidentally Rs 837.53 that they conveniently round off as Rs 838 on their pdf bills) at 8:30 am.
  3. I am duly informed of my payment by SMS at 8:40 am (Thank goodness!).
  4. Another SMS at 8:50 am informs me that my outgoing call facility has been activated (Yippee!).
  5. However, at 9:50 am I get an SMS saying “your account usage is high. Pls pay Rs 873.53 to enjoy outgoing service.” (the amount adds up actually as it’s Rs 837.53 for the last bill plus Rs 36 unbilled usage that I had last checked on their site). I decide to ignore the SMS as I have already made a payment well over that amount.
  6. I finally get my bill for last month by email at 6:40 pm with an amount of Rs 838 due (Rs 837.53 thoughtfully round up in case I decide to pay by cheque… but wait, haven’t I already made the payment?).
  7. But the best part is when my phone rings at 9:30 pm & I hear an automated voice telling me that my usage is high and I need to pay Rs 873.53 to continue the outgoing service.

Somehow, someone, somewhere seems to have written down the design specs backwards or maybe it’s just me. I guess they have changed their support software/interface, or is that an “upgrade”.

P.S. The times have been rounded off to the nearest 10 minutes (not as conventional as the bill amounts unfortunately).