A large number of landline customers of state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) feel cheated as they do not get the refund of the security deposit charged from them at the time of booking the connection.
Though the figures of BSNL could not be obtained, government figures say that MTNL, which has its operations in Delhi and Mumbai, had Rs 555.77 crore as security deposits from customers as on 31 March 2015.
Though the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India guidelines stipulate that the refund of security money (Rs 1000, or more depending upon the usage) should be made within two months of surrendering telephone connections, many subscribers complained that they are not getting refunds even after years.
Sonbhadra (UP)-based Ashok Kumar Singh (phone number 05446-253668) has been running from pillar to post to get back the security amount. “It’s been two years now, but the BSNL is yet to refund my security amount. I have met all the officials concerned in this regard, but to no avail. Sometimes I am told to visit Mirzapur office, sometimes they ask me for something else,” Singh told this newspaper.
Similar is the plight of Delhi-based Rajesh Kumar Sharma, who surrendered his telephone (number 011-25322988) on 17 August 2013 along with the instrument, routers, adaptor and copy of the last paid bill, at Najaf Garh. “I was promised that I would get the security deposit of Rs 3,000 within 15 days. But till now, I have not received the amount,” he said.
The TRAI guidelines say: “The service provider shall terminate the connection within seven days. They cannot charge rental or any other charges behind the period of seven days of request for closure by the customer.” “The outstanding amount of security deposits has to be refunded within 60 days of termination of service. In case of delay, a customer is entitled to interest at the rate of 10% per annum for the number of days refund is delayed beyond 60 days.” Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad could not be contacted for his remarks despite repeated attempts.