BSNL broadband customers in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are an annoyed lot. Many have been complaining that the company has been activating value-added services to their account without their consent or knowledge and are even charging them for those services.
The BSNL Hungama scheme consists of entertainment packs which allow subscribers to access music, videos, games and movies.
Several customers have alleged that one of these packs was activated on their account without their knowledge and they were charged for it even though they had not used it.
There is also a Quora page that has suggestions on how to get rid of the scheme.
A look at the National Consumer Complaints Forum's complaint board shows a number of similar complaints that have been made in the past few months.
“I am using BSNL broad band. We are additionally charged 489/- from Dec 2016 being hungama charges. We didn't subscribed for that or used it.. so deactivate it and refund the amount...(sic),” (sic) wrote T Saraswathi.
Some stated that they received calls from the customer care cell of BSNL following which the pack was activated on their account.
Rajasheker Reddy said that he too was charged Rs 489 for the Hungama plans that he had not opted for. “We received calls several times but we didn’t opt for any subscription. Please check and solve this ASAP. I am also not sure how many months the subscription was registered on my landline(sic),” he said.
Mukul Varshney, another BSNL user, called it a “scam”. “Surprised to know that the Goverment agency like BSNL is not taking action on these frauds. I have been charged with Rs 170 for some blockbuster package and Rs 170 for entertainment unlimited. Total additional amount came to this month bill was 340 Rs(sic),” he wrote.
When TNM reached out to K Damodar Rao, Chief General Manager of BSNL in Andhra Pradesh, he said that they could look into the problem if they received individual complaints.
“We can sort it out if a specific complaint is made. But we can't say anything about random generalisations,” he said.
He also stated that “there were couple of written complaints from Guntur and Kurnool districts and we have initiated efforts to sort those out".
Rao said that their “system will have information if customers themselves had activated the plan” and once the claim was verified, they could adjust the amount in the next bill.
This problem however is not a new one.
The Hindu too in 2015 had published a report stating that many customers had raised complaints against BSNL for being charged for unsolicited value-added services.