The Vodafone MiFi R206 designed to give you internet and Wi-Fi connectivity anywhere in India, and, in certain cases, even abroad. The dongle is a sleek device, slightly bigger than a small mobile phone.
It is claimed that you can take it with you wherever you go, to be connected to the world all the time. A wonderful product, though, it would be much better if it actually worked.
Since I was dividing my time between my residence in Wai, and Kharghar in New Mumbai, I needed a good roaming internet connection. In Kharghar, I saw a big Vodafone store – K. K. Enterprises. I walked in and explained my requirements. The sales executive showed me this dongle, which he said was the latest design, costing Rs. 3999/-, which would give me good connectivity anywhere in India. I gave them my details, and bought it. Very efficient service. The man at the cash counter even returned the one rupee change when I paid four thousand rupees. I walked out happily, carrying my new Vodafone MiFi r206.
The dongle worked in Kharghar, and Andheri in Mumbai, though it was not as sensitive as my previous broadband connection. One had to tap hard to get anything done. When I came to Wai, it wouldn’t work at all. The Vodafone helpline was also not helpful. Two or three times I managed to talk to a call-centre executive, who had no idea what I was talking about. Other times I was holding my phone waiting for someone to come on the line for about half an hour, with a recorded message playing, in which a lady was happily informing me that Vodafone EMPOWERS me. Such philosophy is of course beyond my comprehension.
On all my later visits, I visited the Vodafone shop on Kharghar. In the beginning I met the sales executive, Gaurav. He would fiddle around, and tell me that the problem is solved. No such thing. Then I was able to meet the technician, Shiva. Now it was his turn to fiddle around, and assure me that I would be connected when I was in Wai. He was wrong. At this point, on my next visit, I began insisting that I get my money back or the dongle replaced. The senior executive, Sandeep was called. He checked things, said he had found the fault, and now there would be no problem. No such thing. He only wanted to get rid of me.
Vodafone has contacted me a few times. Each time it is to ask me to pay for the use of their network while I was in Mumbai area. I have paid Rs. 3999/- for roaming facilities, which I have not been given. I feel that Vodafone are being very shameless trying to extract more money from me. There is a Vodafone shop in Wai. They were unable to help, but if Vodafone were sincere, they could have coordinated with the technician in this shop and tried to solve the problem.
At no stage did any of these people express surprise that this latest device was not working as expected. One would have thought the people at Vodafone would be shocked that their latest product was defective. Most likely, this is a common fault of the device that I had bought. The Vodafone people know that there is nothing unusual about this product failure.
There is such a thing as after sales service, which has been totally absent as far as my purchase of the Vodafone MiFi R206. Looking at the receipt I had been given, I discovered that it was a Tax Invoice printout. The name of the shop, etc., was given but there was no Telephone or Fax number, nor was the email id written. All three spaces were blank. This meant that the only way I could contact the shop was to go there again and again. Right at the foot of this printout was written:-
“Goods once sold will not be taken back.
Warranty as per Manufacturers norms.”
These Manufacturer’s norms have not been communicated to me, but I guess it would amount to :- “Frankly speaking, we don’t give a damn. You have bought it, and you are stuck with it.”
I solved my connectivity problem by buying a BSNL Wi-Fi connection. The dongle is the old pen-drive type, costing a bit less than Rs. 2000/- . It works like a dream. It is as sensitive as my previous broadband. A very light tap is enough for it.
I don’t know what I’ll do with the hi-tech dongle sold to me by Vodafone. It is nothing but a completely useless toy.
I just received another bill from Vodafone. The shameless people are adding one more month’s bill to the previous one, even though I have kept informing them that I am not using their hi-tech dongle, as it is useless.
By Asif Maerchant