Customers suffer the brunt of the bulk SMS ban

Last Updated: Sun, Sep 26, 2010 11:10 hrs

New Delhi Sep 26 (IANS) Shivani Anand, 28, was mystified when she didn't receive transaction alerts after swiping her credit card in a shopping spree.

A concerned Shivani called up her bank's (ICICI) helpline, only to find out she would not be getting any updates or alerts from the bank on her transactions till Sep 30.

The bank's automated voice response system informed customers that they would not be receiving any alerts in the in the wake of the government banning bulk SMS service across the country.

'I was very confused and a little nervous as I these messages help me in keeping a track of my account,' said Shivani.

For Anvesh Ghosh, a manager in a multi national company in Gurgaon. things turned out to be hilarious when he gave his credit card to his wife for shopping but did not receive any details of the purchase done.

'I was relaxed that I will get the transaction alerts but now I have no idea of how much amount remains remains in my account,' he said jokingly.

There are many like Shibani and Anvesh who have been affected by the government's decision to extend the ban on all bulk SMS services until Sep 30 after the Supreme Court decided to defer by a week its judgement in the Ayodhya land title suit.

The government had initially banned bulk SMS and MMS services till Saturday ahead of the Ayodhya verdict Sep 24, in a bid to check the spread of rumours or hateful messages. However, the Supreme Court on Thursday postponed the verdict till Sep 28, resulting in an extension of the ban till Sep 30.

Complying with the centre's rule, banks and financial companies have stopped sending SMS alerts to customers and equity trading account holders on transactions carried out via the ATM or Internet.

Most of banks have issued statements on their websites and customer helplines stating that the customers will not receive SMS alerts during the ban period.

'As per the telecom ministry directive, SMS alert services will not be available till midnight of Wednesday, 30-09-2010. We would advise you to exercise additional caution in your banking and credit card transactions. Inconvenience caused is regretted,' said a note on the HDFC Bank's website.

The cellular operators association of India (COAI) has also submitted a request to the department of telecom (DOT) to relax the ban for certain essential services for the convenience of subscribers.

'We have already submitted request to the telecom department to relax the ban for essential services,' said Rajan Mattews, director general of COAI.

'The operators communication with its customers can be easily tracked,' he added.

However, the DOT could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.