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Mar 05

So Indian Mutual funds are now required by law to have their customers Know your Customer or KYC for short verified for any amount of investment. Even a Rs. 500 SIP will need you to be KYC verified no matter what. So in December I decided to get KYC verified. To get your KYC verified, you have to fill up the online KYC form along-with PAN card and address proof and submit it to a center for processing these applications

Since then its been a long wait to get KYC certified. Its been around 3.5 months since I had applied for KYC but presently I have been able to hit the status ‘Present in verification’ only. Before this my status was stuck at ‘Present in Process’ for a very very long time. Approximately 2.5 months went by and the status remained ‘Present in Process’.

In the meantime my orders on Mutual Fund sites are being rejected as KYC is failed and its caused some loss to me as I wasn’t able to purchase units while the market was so down. The Indian Govt. is famous for such half baked ideas without any focus on actual implementations for the same.

Know Your Customer Status

The disclaimer on the site reads :

This KYC status shall be used exclusively for investment in mutual funds which have appointed CDSL Ventures Limited for centralized KNOW-YOUR-CUSTOMER (KYC) process, & shall not be used or relied upon for any other purposes, including commercial transactions, or more particularly for authenticating the identity of the investor .CVL shall not be liable to any person using this information for any purpose, other than investments in mutual funds.

But the reality is that all Mutual Funds are using this data to check your KYC eligibility and you are doomed if this doesn’t reflect correctly. To check your KYC verified status for investing in mutual funds, access :

http://www.cvlindia.com/inquiry_kyc01.asp


Jan 24

This is part 1 of the review : Initial reactions  + Physical features

I have grown up using the Nokia E63 and E71 so when dad lost his E71 (got stolen, no FIR from Delhi Police, deja-vu ? ) , E72 was the natural upgrade for his needs. So he backed off to the Nokia N72 while we searched for a good deal on the Nokia E72. Finally we got the E72 for around $220 from the United States, the phone came with the car navigation attachments which consists of a stand.

Anyway, the background ends here. Moving onto the phone itself. As soon as you hold the phone in your hand, you see it’s a sleeker version of the Nokia E63 and possibly even of the Nokia E71, although it’s a gram heavier than the E71 with the new features built in , it would be injustice to call it a bulkier version of E71.

The phone unlike its earlier version E71 has 2 cameras (one of them 5 MP)  and a much larger internal memory at 250 MB. The dual cameras promise good video calling capabilities and the much needed internal memory upgrade means more good things inside the phone for you. The phone came with a 2GB microSD card.

Physical Upgrades :

Nokia E72

Compared to the Nokia E71, the Nokia E72 while having the same shape does have an individual character about it. The keys are changed, the camera is changed and even the unlock key combination is changed. All these changes add to a non-seamless transition from the Nokia E71. My first impression of the E72 was that it unlocks differently than the E71. That itself takes some getting used to. The email key is also precariously placed underneath the right soft-key. I accidentally keep pressing the email key every now and then. On usability these things push the E72 a notch lower than the E71.

But there is a silver lining. Nokia has addressed a long standing demand from the E71 which even the E63 had. The E63 had a flashlight button, the E71 lacked it but with the E72 Nokia has addressed the particular point.

The Nokia E72 has a trackpad instead of a 5 way navigational key. The trackpad is so small that its actually very annoying and prone to mis-clicks and mis-navigation.  The older nav key was definitely better than the new track pad which just gives the phone some novelty but nothing on the usability. Even browsing photos using the trackpad key is difficult as multiple images get swiped many times.

The Nokia E72 also has a standard micro USB port, to tell you the truth I don’t remember what was on the Nokia E71 as I always used it with bluetooth. 

The E72 also has a 3.5mm audio jack as compared to a non standard 2.5mm jack on the Nokia E71. What it essentially means is that you can use your normal headphones with the Nokia E72. The built in earphones aren’t really that great with respect to quality but do the job.

The E72 also has volume keys which allow you to zoom into and out of images. It took me a bing/google search to figure out on how to zoom in and out of images on the Nokia E72.

Apart from this the E72 comes with an accelerometer (I didn’t see where they use it till now). The phone interface doesn’t seem to have been customized for the accelerometer which is a dampener.

The E72 also has GPS which I am surprised to say is extremely accurate and beats the GPS on my windows phone in terms of accuracy (atleast here in Delhi).

The E72 is also supposed to have a proximity sensor and a magnetometer. Will update as soon as I see how to use those. Overall from a physical perspective, the device is a definite upgrade from its poorer cousin but there are still chinks which Nokia need to address.

Stay tuned for the second part of this review, internals.


Oct 29

For those of you who personally know me would know that Shopper’s Stop is one of my favourite shopping destinations primarily during the sale time due to the nice discounts plus the good loyalty program they have : First Citizen. The parking they refund is a super idea in my opinion.

However a lot is left to be desired in terms of store experience and feedback handling by the store. I have felt disappointed with the services rendered in the stores multiple times, each time taking the pain to contact Shopper’s Stop via their online portal but never even in my life did I receive a response from their first level customer service. I will explain why I think the shopping experience there needs to improve.

1. Arrogant sales staff – This happened to me last week, me and dad were shopping at one of the Shopper’s Stop in the NCR area and this guy just kept on hovering over us like a bee over a flower, my dad asked him to excuse him but he was relentless staying there with a sheepish grin on his face, it was only after I sternly told him that I will call him if I need him did he move away.

But this is nothing, recap 3 months in the past, same store. I had recently got a new job (well paying :) ), so I was looking around in the store for a gift for my parents and the perfume counter caught my eye, I starting checking out the testers for my dad and voila out comes another sales associate with an aim to disturb us. “What can I help you with ?” he quipped with a malicious looking grin on his face. As if I am so dumb that I cant use a perfume bottle.

I felt like Irfan Khan from Mumbai Meri Jaan, like this guy was just there to ensure that I didn’t use the testers of the perfumes. I promptly excused myself and went away from there. I can imagine the associate feeling proud he saved 2 sprays of the tester without realizing his encroachment cost him a sale. In contrast the folks at Pantaloons don’t bother you while you check out the testers. Maybe the staff here is trained like this.

I wrote to shopper’s stop about this incident via their online portal, till date no one has reverted back to me.

Recap a few months before this also, I needed to get my jeans altered, since it was getting late I requested them to send the altered jeans to my home (offered as part of Gold membership to First Citizen). Guess what, “Sir, I will have to talk to my senior about that,” some fake conversations later: “Please collect it after 1 hour from here only.”

2. System not working, salesman disappears with card – I am in another city and mom and dad are out shopping at Shopper’s Stop and they pick out some stuff to purchase. At the billing counter they are told that the first citizen system is not working and neither is their credit card machine. In an instant the sales person disappears with my parents’ credit card to try on another machine. My parents frantically try to locate him, for all we know he could be skimming our card. He reappears five minutes later with the card saying its still not working. My parents dump their purchase there and walk out. I had asked my parents for the executive’s name, and I complained via their online portal. You guessed it right, no response !

3. Customer Care needed, but no response – This one is about when I needed customer care with one of the items I had purchased from their store. I wished to know the procedure for repair etc. Again I wrote via their website and email addresses and got no response. It was only when I got in touch with a senior employee personally that I got a response. It was smoother sailing after that though.


So what is the purpose of this post ?

Its not to defame this store (I infact still visit it once a month), but to bring to the attention of some of the senior folks on what they are doing wrong. Theirs is a publicly listed company and if they don’t even read/respond to customer care emails, it’s a worrying factor. Lets hope we see some change after someone from Shopper’s Stop reads this post.


May 03

Jubilant Foods recently went post IPO so the revenue pressure seems to be there :P , today we ordered some stuff from Dominos Pizza and I decided to order online using some coupon codes I had. I got the pizza soon enough in 30 minutes :D. This new service by Dominos India seemed amazing at first look.

But I was in for a surprise, an hour later the outlet called me and told me that no coupons were applicable on what I had ordered and asked me to pay even more money equivalent to original price of the items + tax. This call came 1 hour after my order by the way so I was all the way through the pizzas. The difference in price was around a huge difference before and after coupon.

Anyway, I didn’t want to argue so accepted the revised price (handwritten and overwritten). But this just exposes the chinks in Dominos Pizza’s offerings as the online ordering service can be very misleading especially with regards to coupons, you may think you have gotten a bargain but the local outlet can spoil your party. Wont be ordering from Dominos pizza some some time at-least.

Don’t know if the local outlet will pocket the extra money as the printed bill still lists the original price. In any case Jubilant Foods need to get their act together.


Apr 09

image

If you are a Paypal Indian customer, your life with Paypal is officially over thanks to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Government. You would have received an email to this effect already and would have realised that the Paypal account you so cherished is now just a wormhole to bring money into your bank account. You cannot use your earnings to purchase stuff on the Internet. So you can no longer use the hard earned money from your website to purchase hosting or to pay for the domain name of the said website. Under normal Indian Tax laws, these are perfectly acceptable uses for your earned money and infact are even deducted for the purpose of calculating taxable income from your business/service. The intentions of the Government are pretty clear. They want all this forex in Indian accounts but they dont want to give any leeway to Indians who are earning this money. A sad day in cyberspace for Indians indeed.

In compliance with Indian regulations, if you are selling products and services to customers globally, please review the following important information:

•       Any proceeds or earnings received into your PayPal account from the export of    goods and services should be withdrawn to your bank account within 30 days.

•       While making the withdrawal please make sure you select the purpose code that best fits your business.

•       Any proceeds or earnings received into your PayPal account from the export of goods and services may only be withdrawn to your bank account in India.  This received amount cannot be reused for making purchases.

•    If you would like to make purchases on any website that accepts PayPal, you can continue to use any credit card issued by a bank in India.

If you do use an Indian credit card to pay via Paypal it would actually mean double payment of commission to Paypal , once at time of receiving the forex and next time at the time of sending it since Paypal earns a lot through forex rates.

Its not Paypal’s fault though, its obvious the Indian Government and RBI had a larger role to play in this fiasco.


Nov 26

black friday

A very good morning to all our readers in the US and a very happy black Friday to you, hopefully you are headed to stores around the country who are selling merchandise at dirt-cheap prices and are taking advantage of fabulous deals all around.

Black Friday is the time to buy the latest electronic gadget, the video game you have been wanting to buy, any household item and quite frankly anything under the earth. Sites like slickdeals etc. will get you the best deals from all these stores.

The friday after the Thanksgiving Thursday is the Black Friday, the concept is yet to catch on in India though, I wasnt able to find any Indian online store offering Black Friday discounts, but a large number of online American stores do :P So if you are in India and want a black Friday deal, just ring up your relatives in the US and ask them to buy the stuff you want. They can bring it to you when they are coming to India :D

I know I did that :D

Among the deals is an Xbox 360 elite system with 7 Game titles for $200, now thats what I call a deal !