Some late night TV shows which exhort you to call them to win a prize are somehow caught in the late 1990s as far as calling rates are concerned. Akosha readers report that they have been charged as much as Rs.12 per minute for making a call to such show! Rs.12 a minute, yes! Stay away from such shows if you can.
Housewife Mala Gupta charged at Rs.12 per minute!
As per a telephonic conversation with Mala Gupta who recently found herself enticed by a TV show which offered viewers prizes.
Q) Madam, how did you find out about the show?
One night I was waiting for my son, he usually comes home late from office. I was browsing through various T.V channels, where I stopped at Imagine TV channel, here a live quiz was going on, where they had given a visual clue of celebrity and we had to call them and give the correct answer. The number to call them was flashing on the screen, so I called them up and heard a recorded voice say “Kripya Line Chalo Rakhe, Apki call pratiksha mein hai.”
As I knew the answer and I had time to pass I decided to hold on till my call is answered. I kept on holding the line and soon realized that 15-20 minutes had passed, so then I hung up finally.
Q) Does this live quiz feature all the time on the T.V?
No, it comes after 12am. Before that I have never seen this type of quiz on T.V.
Q) Was the call rates mentioned anywhere on the channel?
No, they were not. Just the number was given over which was written call now!
Q) How did you realize that you had been cheated?
When my phone bill came my son showed me the bill and told me that the call I made on the specific number that was flashing on the screen to take part in the competition charged me Rs. 12 per minute for the time I was on hold waiting for my turn to come. I was shocked to hear this.
Q) Did you find anything odd about the competition while playing?
While I was playing the contest I had no clue that this is some kind of fraud scam that is going on but what I found odd was that the line was busy since so long and the voice of the participants on the live quiz sounded similar
Akosha’s take on it
We checked out some of the websites and it seems that these shows, if not fraudulent, certainly don’t have the right intention. While on their website, they say that premium charges apply, they don’t mention that properly on live television shows and neither do they mention how much. Premium charges are usually thought of as Rs.3 per minute and not Rs.12 per minute (nothing is that expensive these days).
Also, we have seen so many complaints where the customers are clearly pointing out that they never got through and we kept on hold all the time. While technically the company can claim that it is not under an obligation to take all the calls quickly, there is still something fishy about the whole operation.
We even found a complaint below from a person who says that the number on the show is actually his!!
Similar examples from around the web
When Mrs. Gupta reported the issue to us, we did some research on other websites on the internet. Here are some other instances we saw on the internet:
Debasis Das against channel E24
Now a days there is a program called Bollywood Dhamal / guess the celebrity is being telecasted on a channel called E24. The time for the show is after 10 in the evening. The theme of the program is they show u some scattered part of some celebrity and what you are supposed to do is guess the name and call them back on the number flashing on the screen. And guess the correct answer, and win Rs. 10000/-.
But my problem is with the phone number flashing on the screen. As that is my number. Once it is 10 I am bombarded with hundreds of calls. All are ready with their own version of the answer and may be expecting me to give them the cash at that moment itself. Some even don’t care to know who is at the other end of the call. Sometimes I pick the call and say the answer is wrong irrespective of what the answer is. And the callers (most of them young gals) try to convince me that their answer is correct.
The show charges 10 and 12 bucks for SMS and calls respectively. If I am getting all the calls then I wonder how the show runs. Recently while discussing this with my couple of friends I came to know that the show is a complete fraud show and no one is ever able to call them on the actual number that is flashed on screen. They say every time the same person or the persons from the channel keep on answering the wrong questions with different names from different locations. It is a cheap and worthless program going on. It shows all easy jumbles and puzzles. However no one is able to answer that simple questions. Even out of 100 callers not a single person can make a right answer. It’s the same person that gets connected and answers every time with wrong answer. It must be their own people making that call. You can hear the same voice every time. Rest of the country never gets a chance to answer this simple questions. Sometimes it takes an entire episode to guess a simple celebrity. I don’t understand how the trunk calls end up at my end. Once when I asked a caller why he is calling this number as the number being flashed on the show is a different one, he told as the number is invalid he must add a particular digit to the show, when I tried to explain the truth instead of feeling sorry he started arguing with me.
See – http://www.consumercomplaints.in/complaints/tv-channel-e24-c264693.html
Another complaint against India TV by Puneet Ratnam
I am Puneet Ratnam resident of noida, I mailed to your channel several times, last time I got a call from yours, office and one lady told me we will settle your case with in 1 month, but now it has been already 3 months for that incident and no action has been taken yet.
please revert me as soon
on 9th august I participated in live game show which is telecast on your TV channel…I dialed 5664411 after long time of waiting…one guy pick the call and ask your answer …Price money was 40, 000 I gave him right answer then he said on hold the line again …after few minutes…another guy pick n ask the answer…I gave him then he also told me for hold …this thing happened 4 times…after 25 minutes of waiting no one respond I feel cheated…
See – http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/fraud-c392910.html
Another complainant, Archana from Karnataka has a similar complaint
There is one program which gets featured everyday on Zee TV and Imagine TV at 12 in the night called “GOLD SAFE”. The program is for 2hrs. They ask some silly, stupid question which could be easily answered by anyone. This prompts viewers to make frequent calls to the show & each call costs you Rs14….which is quite unreasonable. The prize money is Rs50,000. And during the entire two hours they keep fooling the viewers prompting them to call. There is hardly any call they pick up & they make the callers wait on phone so that they get their share.
What makes it clear that the act is fooling people is that the questions which are asked are so easy that it’s impossible that in 2hours nobody answers it. This is a gimmick. I would like the concerned authority to take action against this particular program & save people from being fools!!
See – http://www.consumercomplaints.in/complaints/fooling-people-c494605.html
Shivangi Gandhi against Imagine TV
I am watching gold safe today as i write this complaint. It’s been over on hour that they have not changed their puzzle. It’s hard to believe that on last 60 minutes they did not get a caller giving the correct answer. Moreover, i have heard the same caller’s name again and again giving the same answers. This is a way to fool public and dupe them as i was duped today. The call costs are 12 Rs. per minute and I waited for 40 minutes.
I request the authority to register a police complaint on such fraud and put them behind the bars. I guess they along with the mobile phone operators have a syndicate and share the profits from such calls. As a responsible citizen i request everyone not to fall prey to such fraud shows on NDTV Imagine
See – http://www.consumercomplaints.in/complaints/fraud-show-c295677.html
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