Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Your data or mine?

Last week, we called our gas delivery agency (Hindustan Petroleum) to ask for a refill. It was a regular thing, something we have been doing for 3 odd years now.

And he said, we lost your pincode, so can you please come and give your address proof and documents again? So, we said fine and went to the place and they tell us their "system" has "locked" some 200 user details because of which they cannot accept any order from us. So, till I provide proof that I exist, they deny my existence. I carried a delivery slip of last month and their triumphant retort - it does not have a pin code see? Ok. (And all this without a trace of an apology or anything.)

Is getting a pin code so difficult? The whole world knows what the pin codes of Bangalore suburbs are. Besides, you have delivered to us for the past 3 years.

What bull? It is your system, you lost my data without having a back up or whatever and why am I supposed to suffer? This happened some time back ICICI (another long term customer) as well and they told us that lost all my details in the Mumbai flood because of which I had to sign a "new agreement." Great. Again, you lost my data - I have no idea who will get their hands on it, but in any case, why do I, the customer have to bear the brunt of someone losing my data? If I lose any data tomorrow, the bank or the gas agency will bear no liability but why is that if they lose my data, I have to run around and get documents and provide it to them?

In all these transactions with any company the burden of proof is with hapless customers and that is because there is no law which makes it important that they take care of their data. Or that they need to ensure that they dont lose data or if they do, they need to ensure that the customer is not affected. I doubt if there is any law that prevents this from happening.

(With ICICI I ended up making a few visits and giving the documents. With the gas agency, we reached a compromise which basically meant that we have to courier details to them and they will give us a cylinder on "priority" - which has no meaning, but we will know soon.)

1 comment:

Kavi said...

There is no data sanctity at all. The respect for the other guy, esp so, if he is your customer ceases the moment he signs to be one !!