Thursday, December 27, 2012

Migrate your Reliance Data card from postpaid to prepaid

I wanted to do this - since usage is erratic. Instead of a constant monthly payment, "use as you need" made more sense.

Converting it is quite simple. I've outlined the steps below.

Day 1: Walk in to your nearest Reliance Mobile store and tell them you want to convert your data card from post paid to prepaid. You might be asked "Why". Then fill out a form with some details of the card along with an address and ID proof. You will get a request number. Note it down. If you have any outstanding amount, you will have to pay it.

Day 3 or 4: Your postpaid will be deactivated. Yahoo! Work is in progress....

Day 7: No prepaid yet? BTW, how do you check if the conversion is done or not? Go to this page and type in your card number. If it shows your balance you are converted. Otherwise it would say "You are not a valid subscriber".

Day 8: No prepaid yet? Call customer care. (1-800-3000-5555 as of this writing). Thank god for toll free. Give your request number and explain the situation. (If it helps record your explanation since you will have to do this multiple times). A lady or gent will very politely explain they cannot do anything and you have to go in person again to the same place where you gave your request. Try asking them why and make sense of their explanations if possible. Or give up and go in person to the store.

Day 10: Go to the store. They will ask for the data card number. They will tell you the request number. You can tell them you already have the request number. They will say status is "in progress". Ask them for a more elaborate status or the reason why the conversion is still pending - in my case, the agent responded "we have the request number".

Day 11, 12, 13, 14: Wait to see if it is done.

Day 15: See Day 10

Day 16, 17, 18, 19: Wait to see if it is done.

Day 20: See Day 10

Day 21: If you feel like, call customer care desk again. I did that and they gave me a request number to track.

Day 22, 23: See if your call to customer care desk was worthwhile.

Day 24: Call customer care desk again. I found my case was closed stating "Conversion to pre-paid is in progress". Uhm, I tried explaining that the case was opened because it is "in progress" for a long time. This time, I am given an "interaction number". At least they answer politely...

Day 25, 26, 27, 28: Wait to see if it is done.

Day 29: See Day 10 if you feel like you are upto it.

Day 31: Check if you are converted. Nope! No luck.

Day 32: By some luck, I stumbled upon this page.  Escalation contacts. So I decided to write to the appellate authority for Chennai ( I could have made my email poignant, but this is what I sent.

From: Deepak
Subject: Urgent resolution requested - postpaid to prepaid conversion

Mr. Mathew,
I am writing to you about the extremely long delay in converting my reliance data card from postpaid to prepaid.
I will keep this short to save you time: I gave my request to convert from postpaid to prepaid on 19th Nov 2012 to the reliance store at Ayanavaram. It's been over a month now. They've suspended my postpaid connection which means I cannot use my data card and the prepaid conversion is still pending. 
I've made many visits to the store personally and have made many calls to the customer care as well, but they're just asking me to wait. No one seems to know the status and they just ask me to wait.
The most frustrating aspect is that no one knows clearly why there delay is and who is responsible for the resolution of this. I would really appreciate this if you can step in and resolve this for me.
Please look at the log below and let me know if such a small task deserves so much effort on my part.

My details:
Data Card Number: xxxxxxxxxx
Original conversion request given to Reliance store at Ayanavaram - 19th Nov 2012 (filled up hard copy form along with passport copy for address proof)
Followed up in person three or four times to the store itself - no resolution - asked me to wait
20th Dec 2012 - called customer care desk. They gave me a request number xxxxxxxxx. It has been closed without the conversion being complete
24th Dec 2012 - called customer care desk again. Spoke to an agent called xxxxxxxx. She said she will escalate, but no action yet. She gave me an interaction number - xxxxxxxxx. 
My contact number is xxxxxxxxxx
Day 32, 33, 34: Wait

Day 35: Voila! Converted to prepaid. I received  no response from the appellate authority so I do not know if the conversion happened  because of that email. May be the person who did the conversion just took a break and did it.
See - that's it!
So simple - good luck!

In case writing to the appellate did not work, there is an email  for the president of customer services. Apparently, they are committed to resolving your issues in the first instance. You can write to that ID with the details requested.

I am so looking forward to the time I will need to work with them again - Woo hoo!!

(Update: I posted a tad too soon. I got an email from the appellate team apologizing and confirming that the migration is done. So it's their doing. Too bad you can't write to them right away! And may be, you might need to go through this ritual yourself. Actually, I noticed a report on the same page with the details on how effective the appellate is. It shows over 10,000 requests have been resolved with zero pending. May be they are effective, but unfortunately, it casts the customer care team in an equally poor light because these are cases where people wrote to them after trying their luck with the customer care team in the first place.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I need a new phone!

I need a new phone!

My 8520 is showing signs of ageing. It is battle weary, having taken both physical and cellular abuse. I forget the date I started using this, but it should be three years at least. Now, two three keys have lost their buttons and the battery is dying - it needs two or three recharges a day.

I've restructured the two lost keys so that the third 'convenience' key is taking a beating now.  That too might fall of soon :), (Update: The third key is gone as well!) but it is getting difficult with the battery!  My headphone socket is gone as well - the phone pretends there is no headphone even if there is one. So I use a BT headset - that drains the battery more. I am in a dead spot! :)

Now I can spend 25% of the cost of the phone on a new battery or keep this is a reserve phone and get a new one. I am leaning on the latter.

But I have restructured my daily life around this phone that it has become indispensable. I am not selling Blackberry here - many things that I am doing with this phone can be done almost by any other smart phone. But given the time I have spent with this, I have come to love the design and usability of this phone.
Actually, my wife uses a more expensive phone (from "S") and it sucks so much, it makes me appreciate the BB's design more.

So for my new phone, I want to give the first choice to the BB again. It by no means becomes the defacto choice, but I want to see what the BB10 has to offer before looking at other models.

This is what I do with my phone:

1) Calling and SMS messaging (duh indeed)!
    But you get to configure the AutoText settings pretty much to your style and with QWERTY, it is VERY powerful.
2) Almost all bank activities short of depositing cash! 
    Kudos to ICICI Bank for a very nifty application.
3) Access all my important files and send to others on need basis.
    Thanks to Dropbox and their BB app!
4) Access Email, Twitter, Google Talk (all of these access the same AutoText settings)

5) Borderless messaging, thanks to WhatsApp and BBM

6) Expensing. Expensify deserves a mention here. Actually, it deserves a separate post by itself, which may be I will write. Given the nature of my work, I am required to maintain expenses of almost every single spend I do with the bills. Logging
    it is almost effortless with the BB app, and snapping the receipt with the BB camera ties them together contextually. It syncs with Expensify and at the end of the month, I can download a PDF that gives a neatly categorized report.

    It is magic!
7) Browsing totally was painful with the inbulit browser until I discovered Opera Lite. It pushes the 8520's browsing capabilities several notches up.
    Multiple tabs, hot keys, ability to sync history with the desktop - so many things!

8) Facebook - yeah right!

9) Jotting notes with Evernote. Again, Evernote is indispensible. I am not using it to its full potential, but I intend to.

10) LinkedIn - I don't really use it. But what the app does in the background is take all my contacts and syncs their photos if availabile with LinkedIn. Pretty neat!  (Update: LinkedIn discontinued support for BB4 and BB5. Talk about timing! :))

11) I discovered my own Easter egg recently. I noticed that the BB desktop software directly syncs my iPod library with the BB. Given the battery fatigue my phone is experiencing its difficult to listen to this for long, but its good to take my playlist along when I cannot have my iPod.

12) It is my alarm clock, stop watch and timer as well!

13) It has fallen atleast 5-6 times and has survived, but the credit goes to my Otter Box silicone case. It totally destroyed the slick look of my BB, but it definitely saved the phone many times :)

What I want my new phone to have, or what the 8520 sucks in!

1) Good memory. 8520 has 256MB - I have to juggle apps to maintain a healthy free memory.

2) Good camera. The camera on this phone totally sucks. No detail and lots of noise.

3) 4G - I want to leapfrog the 3G generation, which is part of the reason I am waiting.

4) Good processor. A pain point with this phone. Now with quad-cores becoming common, I want to see what becomes available soon.

5) QWERTY - I am still not convinced with the touch screens' ability to do email and messaging. With whatever I've tried, its like switching from a car to a bicycle in terms of speed!
    This option pretty much rules out every phone other than the BB isn't it? Lets see!
    But I love the facility of large touch screen real estate and possibilities. The only good phone that married the too was the BB torch. But it appears I have to pick one in favor of the other!
6) Video watching - preferably without reformatting! I can't even think of something like that on this phone.

7) Dual SIM - would be good value, but I am sure there is not going to be one in the BB.

8) Full browsing - both in terms of browsability and speed.

Blackberry is trying to make a very tall leap from BB7 to BB10 as it is their only chance of survival. I hope they make it worth the wait!

Given the value I have derived from mine, I wish they pull this off!
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