Institutionalised Corruption

January 18th, 2004, 3pm

While we catch small time corruption offenders, we fail to get into the real facts of how institutions make a killing by following corrupt practices. If you have ever taken a phone connection from India’s largest corporate group and then discontinued it, it is very unlikely that you have not come across this loot.

May be other companies are also into this but most cases are from this group. After a year you surrender your phone, a call will come from most in some remote parts of the country that there is some minor amount which is pending against you for the surrendered phone. In normal circumstances, your reaction is to get angry. And you will start abusing the person saying you have nothing left to pay. Before he hangs up the phone, he will give you a threat that you will have to come to a court in Assam, Delhi or Kapurthala or some nondescript courts if you don’t pay up. Fearing further harassment, most people go and pay at this juncture.

For those who don’t, a court notice by way of Book Post will be at your door step. You will most probably throw it away. After a few weeks, the same person will again call you saying a summon is being issued in some unheard court and you have to appear the next day itself. Again, just as any humans do, you will again abuse him, throw tantrums and put your blood pressure to the highest. Some may use their influence in higher places to stop this (imagine, you are doing this for an amount that is equivalent to three Dominos Pizza). Most will think better to pay off than to have this harassment. But imagine a million people in India paying Rs 300. It is unimaginable amount.

You will not know what to do under these situations. A majority of the left out of the first threat will pay at this juncture. For the rest, they will go on calling and after a while they stop automatically.

You know why this happens? When you surrender the phones, do you ask for a receipt and no due certificate from them? I am sure you dont. Even I didn’t. They take advantage of this loophole to trap you.

Do you know what to do? When a call comes, be cool like a cucumber. Listen to what he says. Do not interrupt. After he completes his allegations against you, agree to pay the amount but with terms and conditions. One he should send someone to the address in the bill (do not give your address) and also send the pending amount Invoice with details of pending payment and for what the payment is pending. You will receive a reply that he has none. He doesn’t have your address nor does he have the bill (since there is no pending amount, a bill is impossible to generate). The person at the other end has your mobile number and a fictitious amount through which he is making this call. Insist unless you have both, you wont pay. He will call you again and again but keep on giving the same reply. It will stop automatically as the company will erase you from the list.

You can call this business the biggest institutionalized corruption in this country and believe it or not, this is absolutely legal because it has judicial sanction.

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Binu Alex

Jack of all master of none. Reckless Thinker, Bad writer, Tech lover, Safe Driver in Dry Republic of Gujarat. 2 decades in print, web and radio. Unglorified tweeter. No Admirers. Unlimited Foes, Endless envy. Not to be loose shunted

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