The telecom companies are also not lagging behind as far as business from misleading advertisement is concerned. As an example, whenever Airtel subscriber enters into roaming area, it receives following SMS on the mobile:
"Airtel-3G smartphone network welcomes you to .......... We have made incoming calls free in roaming. To avail, SMS ROAM to 121. For seamless mobile internet, keep DATA ROAMING session ON in your handset."

At the outset, it looks like that the subscriber would be getting incoming calls free during roaming. However, this is misleading as if you send SMS as per the above stated procedure, the subscriber would be asked to recharge with Rs. 75/- per month in the case of prepaid or confirm charges to be included in the post paid bill to get incoming calls free during the roaming. The subscriber is then asked to press "1" to activate the services. Now the question is why the company in the first SMS states itself incoming calls free when it charges an amount of Rs. 75/- per month and why Rs.75/- is not stated in the first message itself so that the subscribers could opt whether to go in for recharging or not. The answer lies that the most of the business lies in misleading the consumers. . more  

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Thanks. I have forwarded the mail of the subscriber as well as response of Aircell. Regards more  
Pl get the mail forwarded to my E-mail id, more  
Kind Attn: Here is another example received from one of Aircel subscriber who happen to enter into BIhar who was informed that Aircel has got its operation in Bihar and all the incoming charges will be free on recharge by Rs. 75/-. However he was shocked when he was charged about Rs. 1,000/- for incoming call in Bihar on the pretext that Aircel does not operate in Bihar Circle. I am reproducing the complaint:
Subject: Complaint for 9716141008 (1-18675605778) urgent
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:36:02 +0530
Dear Team,
Greetings for the day ,
This is to inform you that I have log the complaint against you to Consumer foram on dated 27th march 2015 because I have made the complaint to you and you have not solved my issue
The resolution are not valid I think you should stop you operation in India because you all are making full to the customers like me
My issue
Number for complaint made :- 9716141008
Compliant number in aircel:- 1-18675605778 dated 23-03-2015
Complaint number at consumer forum :- 584081 dated 27-03-2015
Bill number in aircel :- 259680564
Bill is attached for the references and to open my bill the password is :- 9716141008
1:- I have asked to your call center that you have aircel network in Bihar they said yes
I have asked if I will activate Rs 75 roming pack then my incoming romaing calls will be free they said yes
And they do said where ever we have aircel presence’s you get this benefit call and data both as per plan applicable
Hence I have requested them to activate Rs 75 romaing incoming free plan on my number and they do activated for me
But when I have received my bill I was change for incoming call received in Bihar
I know that you don’t have money to provide data services in bihar but why on calls you are charging
To the customers you don’t have towers in bihar ???
And if you don’t have towers in bihar then why you say that you have presence in Bihar
Or why you all are making full to the users ???
And if this is the call center miscommunication then why should I will pay the charges
Kindly stop your operation and stop cheating customers
Kindly check all the call, recording and give all the answer on righting only if if you want any communication the call me only on 9716199207 "
I do want to cancel all my postpaid numbers from aircel and i will not pay any roaming incoming call charges for 9716141008
Kundan Jha
9716199207 "
The response of the Aircel is:
Subject: RE: Complaint for 9716141008 (1-18675605778) urgent
Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2015 11:02:55 +0000
Dear Customer,
Thank you for writing to Aircel.
Your request number is 1-18736657327.
We would like to inform you that, as per our records you have been charged Rs 972.48 (including service tax) for INCOMING calling on off_net (Latched on Vodafone network) in roaming (Bihar) at the time of call, hence you have not received the benefits of free incoming calling in roaming as per roaming pack of Rs75/-. Therefore charges are correct and no adjustment is applicable for the same." more  
Dear Shri Sunil Gupta Ji, Thanks for your prompt intervention in the matter. While expressing my gratitude, I am also slightly differing here as to not mentioning of Rs. 75/- per month in the first message. The regulations on UCC are clearly differentiating between transactional message and commercial message. In my view the message does not come under commercial message as the message has to be intended only for Airtel customers and is related to a tariff plan wherein roaming charges are free if someone is either recharging or paying a special tariff charge. The subscribers are unnecessary taken to the 2nd stage. The first message contradicts with 2nd message. As a customer of Airtel, one is likely to get a feeling that the incoming calls are absilutely free but in actual it is not as he is paying some charges. I am uncertain whether TRAI is satisfied with the response of the Airtel or would like to look into for a corrective steps to be placed by Airtel. Thanks and best regards more  
The reply received from Airtel is as follows:
Dear Sir,

Our response for the complaint is as below:

As per TRAI’s tariff regulations (TTO 55th Amendment), specifically regarding tariffs for national roaming, service providers are mandated to provide a Roaming Tariff Plan – FR (RTP-FR) wherein there is no charge for incoming voice calls while on national roaming, on payment of fixed charge, if any, as may be determined by the service provider.

Accordingly, Airtel in compliance with the regulation provides free incoming services upon upfront payment of a fixed monthly charge of Rs 75/-. The TRAI’s regulations allow service providers to charge a fixed charge to provide the service of no charges (free) for incoming voice calls. We believe there is no misleading communication in this as the customer is informed about the charges the moment he / she expresses interest to avail the same and is asked to reconfirm the activation of this service (free incoming calls while on national roaming) only after which the service gets activated and the customer gets charged subsequently.

Another important reason for not mentioning charges in the first communication itself is that the customer maybe registered under DND service and if he receives communication with price point mentioned informing him about free incoming calls at a fixed charge, it may be perceived as a promotional communication (UCC) leading to a complaint – this way, it is an informative message and if customer is interested he / she can further query and get the charges.

This charge (Rs 75/-) is being levied for a period of 30 days to avail free incoming calls while on national roaming available for both prepaid and postpaid customers. Customers are also given a choice to avail the free incoming calls while on national roaming for shorter duration (i.e. daily / weekly / fortnightly period) for lesser amount. The details for the same are as below:

1. Rs.5 per day pack Available for 1 day, 3 days, 5 days and 7 days for Prepaid

2. Rs.45 for 15 days for Prepaid

These messages are sent as below sequence:

Welcome SMS (sample message):

airtel-the 3G smartphone network welcomes you to AP. To get free incoming calls while in roaming, SMS ROAM to 121 and activate the pack

Response SMS when he sends ROAM to 121

Get free incoming calls while in national roaming at just Rs75/month. To start Roam 75 pack, reply with 1

Once the customer is in national roaming, the pack information is given when he sends SMS ROAM to 121 in case of Postpaid and for prepaid he dial *222*5#. The scripts are sent as USSD messages.

We trust the above would clarify the position and this will not be termed as a misleading communication from Airtel. We request your good office to explain this viewpoint to the complaining customer.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,

For Bharti Airtel Ltd. more  
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