Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Modern Thuggee


The visitor has always been a preferred victim. The thuggee had no hesitation in killing the pilgrims and other road farers of India. Sleeman, a British administrator, put an end to this practice about 170 years back.
But a modern version of this practice continues to this day. Several telecom companies around the world charge as much as fifty times for Internet connectivity to the cell phone of a tourist as they charge a local customer. Sleeman! Where are you, now that we need you again?

Overcharging a tourist makes mockery of maps and navigation services offered over the web. The tourist needs them more than the local residents. I plead with the regulatory agencies of the world to review this robbery. The goodwill a country will generate by not fleecing the tourist over the Internet will more than make up for the revenue loss. Travellers’ associations should launch an agitation against this and suggest boycott of countries indulging in this practice.

Srinivasan Ramani 

1 comment:

Srinivasan Ramani said...

There are two new questions I would like to raise in this context:

1) Does this pernicious practice by cell phone companies create an opportunity for Internet companies, such as Google? Can the Internet companies provide Internet access to to all their customers world-wide, charging them perhaps varying prices in different countries but always a reasonable price? What capability would they have to acquire to do this?
2) Can customers take up the question of overcharging for outside-the-country roaming with the World Trade Organization? Does it not constitute an unfair trade practice? Should we call it price gouging?
Srinivasan Ramani