Pehredaar, a TV show on CNBC Awaaz, helps customers get their grievances resolved by airing them on TV and putting pressure on the company. Anurima Chatterjee reviews one of their recent episodes.
The show, currently running its second season, is very popular going by the number of consumers posting about it on the internet. There are hundreds of complaints on the internet asking CNBC Awaaz Pehredar to help them out. The show airs on CNBC Awaaz on Saturday afternoons at 3:30pm with repeat telecasts on Saturday evenings at 8pm and Sundays at 1pm and 9pm. Each episode is 30 minutes long and is hosted by Priyanka Sambhav. As per Sanjay Pugulia, the editor-in-chief of CNBC Awaaz, the show aims at “enlightening and encouraging the citizens of India to become aware of their rights as a consumer. It aims to unite the public and offer them a platform to voice their grievances against defaulting companies offering products or services.”
This article reviews the show and discusses whether it is a true “pehredar” of consumer rights. This review is based on the episode aired on the 15th of May 2011. There were six complaints that were discussed in this episode. I will mention three of those. Each complaint was briefly introduced by Ms Sambhav and followed by an interview of the consumer. After introducing it, she explained what impact the show has had on the resolution of the problem.
Honda Jazz problem
The host cut straight to the chase and she began the show by introducing the first complaint. Kanchan Vaid, a resident of Delhi had purchased a Honda Jazz. It was a “select-model” which is supposed to have extra features. Unfortunately, Mr Vaid found that his extra features were defective. He approached the dealer where he was denied any relief. So, he wrote to Pehredar. Surprisingly even when Honda was contacted by CNBC Pehredar, they did not resolve Mr Vaid’s problem. So, Mr Vaid is now stuck with a brand new dysfunctional Honda car for now.
Voltas AC issue
After a quick three-minute commercial break, the show returned with another complaint. The problem was three years old and Ugrasen Singh had done everything he could to fix his Voltas AC. He gave it to the service centre where his AC was held hostage for months on end. After Pehredar contacted Voltas and told them about Mr Singh’s problem, his AC was promptly fixed and returned with an additional one year warranty.
LG Projector TV issue
The third complaint was that of Pratap Munot. He had bought an LG Projector Television worth rupees 70,000. As a result of fluctuating power supply, the TV was damaged. When he asked for repair costs, he was informed that it would cost him rupees 30,000. He contacted Pehredar to check if the estimates were correct. When LG was asked to check the same, they confirmed that the estimate was correct. But they offered Mr Munot two more options. He could buy a new projector TV at half price. Or he could buy a new 29” colour TV for rupees 5000. There were three more complaints involving a faulty Whirpool fridge door, a Dell laptop battery and a Nokia E7.
Pros of the show
I will begin with the pros of the show. It is a very popular show so it is thus a good medium to make people aware of their rights and shows them how others are getting their problems resolved. Two factors allow the audience to readily relate to the show. First, there was a wide range of complaints that was looked into. Secondly, the inclusion of personal interviews of the consumers makes it easier for the audience to relate.
Cons of the show
There are also some problems with the show. Their methods of choosing complaints and bargaining with the companies are unclear. It also leaves one wondering about a few other things. leaves a lot of questions unanswered. What about similar complaints? Are they addressed as well? What is the success rate? How does the show communicate with the companies? What happens in case the company does not respond positively? Does CNBC Awaaz suggest approaching the consumer courts to the consumers? Is the focus to spread awareness about consumer issues or just to focus on newsworthy complaints which make for good TRPs?
On the whole, the show is based on a noble premise. But it is a little rough around the edges. It needs to be refined. The questions raised above should be addressed by the show.
File your consumer complaint here.