'Your mobile bill is Rs 13 crore, please ignore if already paid'
Text message sent by service provider asks subscriber to make payment or risk losing connection; two hours later receives another text asking to ignore previous message
Customers have received unreasonably large mobile bills in the past, but none can be compared to the sheer exorbitance of Vishwanath Shetty’s January mobile bill. Kandivli-based businessman Shetty got the shock of his life yesterday when he received a text message from his service provider asking him to pay Rs 13,18,47,813.
Shetty is a subscriber of MTNL’s Dolphin mobile network and has been using their postpaid service since the last 10 years. On an average he receives a bill for Rs 1,000 every month. “I am an old customer and enjoy their network. I received a bill for Rs 1,318 last month and I made the payment at MTNL’s Kandivli office on Wednesday,” said Shetty.
“Yesterday, while returning home from Fort in the train, I received a text message saying I had to pay my January bill. I was just shocked to see the amount. It said bill is due for Rs 13,18,47,813. Make payment immediately to avoid disconnection. Please ignore if already paid, “ said Shetty.
Horrified with the over-the-top bill, Shetty proceeded straight to the service provider’s Kandivli office. “When I went to the office they said that nothing can be done and the messages are sent from the head office, which is located at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC). I then approached the senior manger at Kandivli, but he was unable to help,” said Shetty.
He added that one of the staffers told him that the bill amount was more than the monthly commission the network earned. Shetty then decided to return home, and contemplated visiting the BKC office. However, after two hours he received another message rom the service provider saying: ‘Dear customer please ignore previous message. Current amount is 1,318. Inconvenience is regretted, if paid please ignore.’
“I was relieved. But when I narrated the incident to my neighbour later, he said a faint-hearted person might have suffered a mild attack after seeing such a huge bill.’”
The other side
An official spokesperson from MTNL Dolphin said, “The incident took place due to a system error. Similar message were sent to several subscribers. However, when we realised the blunder, we sent another message saying that the previous one should be ignores and inconvenience is regretted. We are probing the technical glitch.”