Thursday, January 10, 2013

Beginning 2013 on a Thankful Note

Of the several posts I had in mind to post for New Year, this one seemed the most pertinent.

On Facebook a post is being repeatedly shared about an incident that took place in a MTC bus in Chennai recently. The complaint was made by a passenger to a MTC hotline when the conductor told him that the bus would not stop at a regular stop, where the passenger was to get down. The passengers of bus weren't able to believe the drama that unfolded. In an unusual move and in a never-heard-of-before-fashion a supervisor at MTC hotline talks to the driver and conductor of the MTC via the speaker inside the bus instructing them to stop the bus at the stop that the conductor refused to stop for the passenger.

My story is almost similar and one that deserves to be told.  Late 2012 I realise one day that I have lost the RC book of my Honda Activa Scooter that I had purchased way back in 2004. To make things worse I have lost the photocopies of the RC book as well. So what to do? Apply for a duplicate RC book, of course. So I visit the RTO (Regional Transport Office) at Thiruvanmiyur and I am told I need to submit an application and all that. But when a check is made for my vehicle I am told that the hypothecation on the vehicle has not been removed as I had taken finance assistance while purchasing the scooter way back in 2004 and that the title still rests with the finance company. I couldn't believe this was happening. In 2004 I had cursed myself for listening to that tenacious Ashok Leyland finance salesman who pursued me into taking at least 50% finance when I had the entire cash to pay off for the scooter. A few months after paying my first installments I get a letter saying that one of the EMI's hasn't been paid. With bank statements and photocopies of my cheque that I had sent them I am not sure how many people I had called to fix the problem that they had made on their system. The problem was solved eventually.

But for my current situation the worst was yet to come. Ashok Leyland finance was no more in existence. I went from searching in Chamiers Road and finally to Ashok Leyland's corporate office building on Radhakrishnan Salai (where old the Halda typewriter company used to stand) to only be told that Ashok Leyland's finance division is now IndusInd bank. The lady at the reception gave me a number and my calls began. It didn't take long to get through to the appropriate person and Surekha (name not changed) was kind enough to listen to my story. She was skeptical about finding my loan number in spite of me providing information about my scooter such as chassis no. and engine no. but she said she would still try. Telling me to call after a couple of days I was only wondering if my nightmare would continue as the guy at the RTO emphatically told me that without the hypothecation being removed it will be impossible not only to get the duplicate RC book but also sell the scooter to another buyer. If only I hadn't listened to that Ashok Leyland salesman that day!

Surekha meanwhile was doing yeoman's service. After 3 days she still hadn't located my information but she said she would keep trying. She also told me that somewhere she had come across the names "Sarath Lakshmi", my last name while searching for my info. When I was wondering if I would be lucky, came the call on a Friday saying she had managed to find my information. Oh! what a relief that call made! It had taken two weeks to locate my information. Moving forward I had to pay for the duplicate NOC. Subsequent procedures at the RTO are pending but I am sure the biggest problem has been solved.

Sometimes when you encounter situations where companies cannot extract even a previous month's bill and give you such a hard time here is someone who had dug into old archives and extracted information from 8 years ago. Not difficult in our information age but who is going to do all this diligently?

I am not sure if Surekha or her office or management would read this post but this is the best I could do for a job very well done. It feels good when someone goes out-of-the-way to help you as Surekha did and I am thankful for that.

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