I have always been a huge fan of Airtel Broadband ever since I started using their services way back in 2006. Their Internet services offered high uptime and the promised speed almost always. Airtel’s customer service has been pretty good as well when compared with many other brands.
However, the recent rollout of the so-called SmartBytes product has spoiled all my good impressions about Airtel and I am on the verge of discontinuing with them. It is turning out to be a major SCAM by Airtel whereby they try to force sell this product to existing customers on the pretext of making available high speed Internet even when you don’t need it. Read on…
How Airtel SmartBytes work?
Every unlimited BB package from Airtel Broadband works the following way. Basically when they sell a 2MBPS (for example) unlimited bandwidth product, the 2MBPS speed is only applicable to a predefined transfer limit (e.g 20GB as in my case). Once you reach this 20GB limit in a particular billing cycle, the speed drops to the minimum guaranteed speed of 256KBPS or 512KBPS.
At this point, the customers can opt for the so called SmartBytes using which you can continue using the high speed internet. All that you have to do is to click and buy the package that you want (for example 5GB for Rs.299/-). This sounds good and really helpful for the broadband consumer in need. So what is the problem?
Once you run out your high speed limit of your so-called Unlimited package, the following is what will happen:
- Every time you login to your PC and browse any site (say Google.com), you are redirected to the SmartBytes website (screenshot below). No matter, how many other sites you try to browse, it will STILL redirect you to this SmartBytes sales page. This highly irritating behavior continues for about a minute
- The ugly SmartBytes sales page forces you to either buy a High speed package OR Continue as per the plan BUT only after typing in a Captcha. This is a highly unacceptable behavior from any service provider as it’s nothing but force-selling
- For a billing cycle, it’s probably ideal to show this page once but NOT every single time I login – especially after I opted out of it once
- Whenever you are run out of the highspeed limit, for no explicable reason it disconnects you from the web every couple of hours and each time, the SmartBytes page is thrown
Second, it should be SMART enough to remember my selection at least during a billing period.
Third, if you are doing some important transaction and left your page unattended, when you come back, you are likely to be redirected to the smart page thereby losing all that you entered.
Even worse, the kids who are using your home PC or laptop can, by mistake, click and buy SmartBytes as it doesn’t require one to swipe any credit card.
What does Airtel Customer Support say?
I have raised THREE tickets with them in the last two months. Every single time, the dumb support person will say that, he doesn’t have the ‘authority’ to stop this. So twice, I requested him to put me through to whoever has the authority but no use. Obviously, Airtel has forgotten business ethics and is trying to milk customers by luring them into buying their SmartBytes product with a highly irritating landing page.
Probably the next step for me to write to none other than Mr. Sunil Mittal (email@example.com) – the big boss of Bharti Airtel – and forward a complaint to the consumer forums.
Do you suffer from this Airtel Smartbytes Scam or fraud? If so, did you try to deal with the same? Let me know.