I would like draw your attention to a fraud telephone bill we received in June 2006. We own a BSNL landline connection (no. 24211550) in Pune since 1996. The connection is registered on my brotherís name.
We receive our phone bill every 2 months. On an average, the bill amount is Rs. 600-650 for every 2 months. Very rarely, we get a bill for more than this amount. We were totally shocked when we got the last bill in June 2006. The bill amount was more than Rs. 3500. The bill has an attachment with lot of calls made to England in May 2006. As per the list, there were more than 30 calls made to England from our phone. The calls were made on only 2 days in May. In fact, on one particular day in May 2006, the first call to England was made at 11:00 pm and then total 15-16 calls were made in next 18 hours (till 5:00 pm next day) totaling more 6 hours of talking time. In fact, the calls were made throughout the night. The scenario is more or less on another day in May 2006.
Honestly speaking, we have not done any of these calls. We have never done any calls to any abroad country in the past. We do not have any relatives or friends or business relations abroad and thus there was no need to make any overseas calls.
Either these ISD calls are wrongly appearing in our bill or someone, with the help some BSNL employee, must have illegally diverted all ISD calls to our number.
When my brother visited the nearby BSNL office and told the concerned officer about these fraud ISD calls, initially the officer rudely told that we must have made all these ISD calls and we wanted to pass on the bill to someone else. Then he asked us to pay the bill in full. It is impossible for us to pay Rs. 3500 for the calls done by someone else. After telling many times that we have not done a single ISD call in this list and finally he asked to submit an application asking to enquire the whole episode. My brother submitted a written application about this. However, nothing has happened till date. No one in BSNL has done anything to find out how this has happened. In fact, after a few days the BSNL stopped our outgoing call facility for not paying the full bill. BSNL told us that if we donít pay the full bill, the phone will be completely disconnected and the initial deposit (Rs. 3000) paid in 1996 will not be refunded at all.
The BSNL officer mentioned that we should have locked the STD/ISD facility to prevent this fraud. I agree that we should have done this. But if we lock the STD/ISD facility, we have to unlock it every time even to call local mobile numbers. Due to the personal business, it is necessary for us to frequently call mobile numbers. We have control inside our house, but these fraud ISD calls have been done with the help some guilty BSNL employees. We donít have any control on what is happening inside BSNL offices. It is necessary for the BSNL to control their employees and stop these malpractices.
My brother owns a small business and our home phone number has been given to his all customers. His business will be heavily impacted if the present phone is disconnected. We canít afford discontinuing the phone. At the same time we canít afford paying Rs. 3500 for the calls done be someone else. Finally, due to his business compulsions my brother decided to pay the full bill. My brother has to pay the penalty for someone elseís fraud.
I suspect that some employees in BSNL must be misusing their position and doing this fraud. Despite the written application, BSNL has not done anything to find out why this fraud has happened.
I also registered a complaint with BSNL. But the complaint officer, Mr. D.C. Mandal, came back with the same stereotype reply - "You should have locked your STD/ISD facility.".
It is very unfortunate that instead of investigating how this has happened and punishing the culprits, he has chosen an easy way out i.e. blame it on the customer. It is like blaming a house owner for not locking the house, instead of catching the thieves.
I sincerely request you to kindly look into this matter and do the needful. It is extremely necessary to find out the culprits and punish them; otherwise, tomorrow someone else will suffer.
Looking forward to your help,
Thanks and Regards,
- Dattatraya K. Madhekar
46, Sangam Society, Bibwewadi, Pune Ė 411037
Phone Ė 24211550