Day before yesterday I received an SMS from my mobile operator informing me that if I don’t recharge my mobile phone within 90 days, I will be charged Rs. 20 extra in my next recharge. This is entirely unjustified, I told myself. Am I the only one who will react this baffling way? I hope, I’m not. There will surely be others, who will have similar rush of anger after reading such an SMS from their mobile operator.
But just like me, you too don’t have any other option but to feel frustrated about such TOS (Terms of Service) changes.
Actually it’s not about paying Rs 20 in the next recharge. It’s the feeling of being restricted by rules which don’t necessarily appeal to the simplest of logic.
But we must better get into a habit of paying such penal charges.
Because paying such penal charges for our carelessness will soon become a norm. Through these penal provisions, the service providers are telling us that they need to keep some of our money so that we keep getting the service. This when they want us to save more, spend more and earn more.
Earlier, we used to have no “Minimum Balance Limit” on our bank accounts. Now there is. That’s if your bank wants you to maintain a minimum quarterly limit of Rs 5000 for your Savings bank account, then Rs. 5000 is tied up with your bank account (As long as you want to have one). And if you deplete your bank account money below that Minimum Balance Limit, you will be penalized by way of a fine. In case you are unable to pay the fine because of your hardships or carelessness (a better sounding, dignified term) then such unpaid fine will pile up, quarter after quarter. Ultimately you will have to pay it. The cane of law will always be there. In addition, the presence of a more uniform consumer data with these service providers, coupled with the market monopoly or oligopoly of these service providers, will mean even lesser options to leave.
I don’t know whether India will become a super power in the next 10 years. I also don’t know whether majority of 125 or 130 crore people in India will become careless about their money money by 2022. But I know one thing, India is fast going towards a lifestyle where such fines and money penalties will become substantial. A lifestyle where such penalties, arising out of a non-compliance of some kind, will start to pinch. The money you have will decide the pain of the pinch.
To conclude, if today India is essentially a poor country, then we’re fast going towards a lifestyle where fines and penalties, will bite such an amount from our monthly wages, that a sizable population of the country will feel the pinch. Although it will hit the poor the most, it will not spare the middle class either. And at that time, it will be more than carelessness!