CONSUMER ISSUES


Graduates will help you file IT returns! Having made filing income tax returns maddeningly complex and having put taxpayers and their consultants through increasing hardship, the government is now offering a balm. The balm is a bureaucratic concoction and would be as ineffective as the numerous...

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Amazing as it may sound, this old Nigerian fraud keeps claiming new victims, finds Sucheta Dalal Anybody who uses the Internet and operates his or her own email account has already heard of, investigated or stayed away from what is known as the Nigerian scam. Those of us whose email identities...

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It is time to get informed about airline regulations for the occasions when smart foreign airlines fail to meet standards The upwardly mobile Indian today is ready to pack her bags and fly away at the first available opportunity. With increased spending power and relaxation of foreign exchange...

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Fix what is possible, argues Sucheta Dalal Jeremy Seabrook, a renowned dramatist and author, writing in the Financial Express (Embalming the Fractured Society) says that a recent survey by Agewell Research and Advocacy Centre in New Delhi found that about “one-third of elderly people face...

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There is no consensus on where home loan rates are headed The home loans see-saw which has caused considerable consternation in the real estate market is once again in the news and this time the question is “will the rates for home loans dip?” Though rumors have been doing the rounds that...

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Going for a broadband connection? It is important to know what to avoid and what your rights are, points out Sucheta Dalal after extensive research We had taken Tata VSNL broad band connection, hoping the Public Private Partnership would be offering good services. Our experience with Tata VSNL...

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India is a software powerhouse. But its IT security practices are pathetic and consumers should beware, says Sucheta Dalal Last June an employee with Hongkong Bank in Bangalore was arrested following an investigation into a theft of pound sterling 230,000 from a British customer’s account....

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You sense that bank charges are sometimes too high and unreasonable. Now an RBI working group agrees, says Sucheta Dalal In 1999, when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) freed banks from adhering to service charges decided by the Indian Banks Association (IBA), it believed that fierce competition...

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Although banks may have complaints about the findings of a customer satisfaction survey (see cover story) or claim that they have well-oiled grievance redressal systems, every consumer knows it is not all that true. Here are some typical problems customers face and what to do about them,...

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Consumer courts will stop entertaining students’ pleas from now on.Sucheta Dalal reports The trend of students approaching consumer courts for a quick interim order has probably ended this July. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has sternly and empathically directed...

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DLF refused to wrongfully hand over a flat for six years to a buyer, but the apex consumer court merely ordered it to give possession and not the huge loss of income. Sucheta Dalal recounts the story  DLF Ltd, the company that is credited with creating Delhi’s swank extension of Gurgaon, was...

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The best of companies like Maruti would drop their pretence about consumer satisfaction and pull out all stops to prevent an adverse legal precedent, warns Sucheta Dalal Maruti Udyog is obviously like the little girl in the nursery rhyme -- when it is good, it is very very good and when it is...

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An alert consumer has to train herself to spot advertisements that make false claims with great pizzazz, or hawk products that are downright harmful, warns Sucheta Dalal A week ago, India’s advertising industry celebrated its rich haul of a dozen Lions, the most prestigious international...

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Ram Gupta’s speed post arrived late and the postal employees demanded bribes to hand over the post. He filed a case and a consumer court awarded him compensation. But the postal authorities fought for the corrupt employees and the apex consumer court cut down Gupta’s compensation! Sucheta Dalal...

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Telecom companies attract the highest customer complaints, says a consumer group study It also says that most customers were very upset about the poor quality of services offered and misrepresentation and improper billing practices of telecom companies. Improper pricing, faulty instruments and...

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Sucheta Dalal narrates the shocking case of Railways tormenting a 64-year old patient for proof of age! Several months ago, I received one of those 'horror story' emails that are so bizarre that one tends to disbelieve them. An Information Technology company executive on his way out of a...

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Bangalore City Corporation has harassed a father-son doctor duo for 11 years and prevented them from occupying their own premises. Sucheta Dalal reports on this nasty and shameful story The courts disallowed this but the Divisional Bench of the High Court ruled that the doctors could initiate...

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Sucheta Dalal reports on how insurance companies drag legitimate cases through endless enquries and court cases Until the government introduced competition in the insurance industry, genuine policyholders have always had a tough time claiming the insured amount. On the other hand, big...

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