Featured Post

Trust: Missing in action where it counts

Whom do you trust? That's a big, loaded question. And at least one organisation has been putting out a Trust Barometer for 14 years now...

Monday, July 31, 2006

How I got my mobile back

One doesn’t realize how valuable something is until it is lost. In my case, I realized this about my mobile phone - the C100- when I lost it in a cab in October last year. After it happened, I acted swiftly – got my SIM card blocked so the person who found my phone wouldn’t misuse it. What I didn’t do was – I didn’t file a complaint with the police. But then who does, these days?

Everyone knows, your cellphone is as good as irretrievably lost once you misplaced it or have been robbed of it. And the police are not of much use in finding it, which is why they told me I was very lucky to have got mine back at all!

Apparently, two men spotted it lying on the road, not far from where I had got down from the cab and had taken it to the Dadar police station because one of the guys claimed it was his. The other guy said he didn’t think so, and took the phone to the police. The guy who claimed it was his, was a chartered accountant and the really honest man was a BEST supervisor! So much for stereotypes.

Anyway, it took the cops a month to track me down. Well, I’m grateful they found me eventually but with my Dad’s number in my address book - very clearly mentioning ‘DAD’ - they could have found me sooner, couldn’t they? But the actual running around began only once they contatced him.

The cops had recorded the phone as an “unknown person’s property" in their diary and now wanted me to “claim” it back from them. So after verifying me as the owner, they wanted me to prove to them, that I really owned the phone and that it just didn’t have my SIM card inside it! I know it sounds so ludicrous but that’s how the police system works. At some point, I thought they were making rules on the spur of the moment, just to harass the hell out of me. But no - apparently, it is required of owners of cellphones to hang on to their bills for dear life or at least jot down the IMEI number of the handset somewhere, so you can prove to the cops that the handset does, in fact, belong to you. The IMEI number is found where the SIM card is inserted.

You have the benefit of this information -- I didn’t -- and that led to me being called repeatedly to the police station and that’s apart from the phone calls I made to have the phone released. I had to call my dealer who sold me the phone over two and a half years ago, and who didn’t keep bills that old. And obviously, he had not kept IMEI numbers of all the handsets he sold.

The cops wanted him to give the IMEI number on his letterhead, but my dealer couldn’t help. Then, a constable told me to forget about the phone but take SIM card, if I wanted it because I could prove the SIM belonged to me, with the help of a copy of a BPL bill.

So that took another round of phone calls. Then I admit, I got my dad to pull some strings and he spoke to the ACP of Dadar police station, who said the matter was a minor one and that he would tell them to release the phone, since for all practical purposes, I was the rightful owner of the phone.

He did say that since, a case ‘diary’ was made, it was a matter of routine that they had to ask for all that paperwork or else they could have just handed over the phone to me, once they tracked me down. So guys, if you’ve lost your phone, for once you’ll wish the cops are not as “thorough” as this!

My dealer also gave me the same bit of news, so I was slightly relieved to know it was standard procedure being followed and not harassment. Anyway, even after the ACP’s help, the phone was handed over to me two days after I gave in a formal statement/application, stating on which day, I had lost the phone, where I had lost it, colour/model/cellphone number etc.

So in all, it took me four trips to the police station in a week and twice as many phone calls to recover what was genuinely mine.

Like I said, I’m glad to have got my phone back but all the time I was running around to get back the phone from the police, I kept wishing that the people who had originally found it, had thought to get in touch with me rather than hand it over to the cops.

It would have saved me a world of trouble and of course the suppressed rage, that goes along with playing according to the rules – cops' rules – valid, but foolish nonetheless!

Safety steps
1. Keep the phone’s bill safely or jot the IMEI number down.
2. Remember the exact day you lost the phone. Don’t be vague about this because it helps prove the phone is yours
3. Pull strings if you can. Then hand in a statement like mentioned earlier.
4. Keep calling till they ask you to come and collect the phone from them. It’s just a phone to them, they have rapes and murders to take care of. It’s more important to you than to them.
5. If you find a lost cellphone, try and trace the owners and expect a justified reward, rather than taking it to the cops.

Written for www.dancewithshadows.com

No comments: