Do We Need a Consumer Forum for ISP issues?




Wg CDR V G Kumar has written from Bangalore on another ISP service problem which should be of interest to all Netizens. I would welcome comments if any at


Another new phenomena. Two days back I got my cable bill from Hathway. They have charged me for some excess download. I complained. The letter quoted below received from their Bangalore Helpdesk puzzles me:

I have sent them a rejoinder asking them as to how I could monitor my total download. I guess it is a way  of coercing me to move up to the higher plan at a higher monthly subscription rate!!

To :


Dear Sir,

We would like to inform you that this download is not the attached files which you download but the data transfer coming towards your system(static IP),.

That is when ever you browse or use internet this will be considered as downloads.

If any clarification please get back to us.

Thanks and Regards
Hathway Helpdesk
Original Message -----
From: Wg Cdr VG Kumar (Retd)
Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2003 9:17 AM
Subject: Incorrect billing on extra usage


Bill No - UBAN 26490
Bill period 16/8/2003 to 15/9/2003
Customer code - 005739
Wg Cdr VG Kumar
Recurring charges Rs 1000
Download charges - Total download - 767.34 (Exceeded free limit by 267.50 MB - Rs 535.00))

I have been charge an excess charge of Rs 535.00 for excess download of 267.50 MB for the period mentioned above.  This is grossly incorrect. I have a very high speed broad band connection in the office and whenever I have to download something big in size, I use that connection. Downloads at home are generally avoided.  You can also view your own log to substantiate my claim. The log has been copied from your web page and  pasted below. It indicates a total download of  411.74 MB only. The bill may please be corrected an sent to me at with a copy to ,

As it is the final summation columns of the bill have been scribbled over in  ink by someone and the figures are unreadable.

Thanking you


Previous Billing Cycle :16-AUG-2003 - 15-SEP-2003


Download Details
Total Utilisation : 411.74 MB
Extra Utilisation Charges : Rs.0

Usage Details

Date Download (MB) Charges in Rupees
16-AUG-2003 40.81                   0                  
17-AUG-2003 12.90                   0                  
18-AUG-2003 13.62                   0                  
19-AUG-2003 15.99                   0                  
20-AUG-2003 12.17                   0                  
21-AUG-2003 13.16                   0                  
22-AUG-2003 14.06                   0                  
23-AUG-2003 1.83                   0                  
24-AUG-2003 27.43                   0                  
25-AUG-2003 6.56                   0                  
26-AUG-2003 8.12                   0                  
27-AUG-2003 7.63                   0                  
28-AUG-2003 4.41                   0                  
29-AUG-2003 8.79                   0                  
30-AUG-2003 4.45                   0                  
31-AUG-2003 28.63                   0                  
1-SEP-2003 6.03                   0                  
2-SEP-2003 14.65                   0                  
3-SEP-2003 12.47                   0                  
4-SEP-2003 14.75                   0                  
5-SEP-2003 19.45                   0                  
6-SEP-2003 8.75                   0                  
7-SEP-2003 11.94                   0                  
8-SEP-2003 9.39                   0                  
9-SEP-2003 4.64                   0                  
10-SEP-2003 13.67                   0                  
11-SEP-2003 16.41                   0                  
12-SEP-2003 13.72                   0                  
13-SEP-2003 8.91                   0                  
14-SEP-2003 17.75                   0                  
15-SEP-2003 18.52                   0          


Here is a copy of a reply sent by me to Wg CDR V G Kumar

Dear Kumar,

It has indeed been a concern for me for a long time that the Consumer interest of ISP service users is not adequately protected in India. Most of the time we deal with monopolies . Having invested nearly 30000 in the DSL modem, I as a consumer has no choice of ISPs.

In terms of information on service provided,  though ISPs can monitor every packet that goes through our computer, we can take only what information they provide us.

If ISP says they are giving a bandwidth of 64 KB and actually give 33 KB, because of which my download which should have taken 1 hour actually takes two hours, I have no means of claiming compensation.

If the connection is down and I have to dial up again and again each time spending money on the dial up, I have no remedy.

If the bandwidth is turned off and I am told there is a Cable fault, I have no means to make the ISP accountable.

If they say I have exceeded my down load limit, I have to accept it without any questioning.

Thus even if  ISP is not providing a minimum level of service in measurable terms such as bandwidth and uptime, or is over charging, the consumer is in no position to check and seek compensation.

There is yet another  type of problem I face often  with Dishnet. Ostensibly to check virus or spam , they use some faulty fitter mechanisms which often deletes incoming messages or shaves off outgoing messages without any indication to the customer. Mostly this happens since some of the attachments cause the mail to be deleted. If I get a business offer with an enclosed contract and I do not receive it, I may lose a life time business opportunity.  Quite often my mails sent with zip file attachments containing my Cyber Law College lessons get chucked either at Dishnet or at rediffmail. 

In many cases digital signature attachments are deleted as "Suspicious Files".

In view of the problems despite having e-mail accounts in VSNL and Dishnet  I am forced to use hotmail ID as a more reliable ID for sending and receiving the mails. This is making e-mail system less and less reliable each day and people may have to resort back to snail mails for reliable correspondence instead of moving forward with digitally signed e-mails.

I wish a consumer movement is started to make ISPs accountable and TRAI which has a legal responsibility for the same must take the lead in forming such an association.


October 2, 2003

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