Amid complaints of non-acceptance of old Rs 500 notes for mobile recharges at some places, cellular operators body COAI has said that companies have given strict guidelines to accept these notes from customers but retailers and distributors cannot be forced. COAI Director General Rajan Mathews said operators have provided strict guidelines to their distributors and retailers for accepting and processing Rs 500 demonetised notes so that no inappropriate activity, contrary to the objectives of the government, takes place.
"However, these retailers and distributors cannot be forced to do something they do not want to do, if they believe the process is tedious. This is unfortunate for customers who wish to use these distributor and retailer points of sale and companies are disappointed with this companies can only encourage their distributors and retailers to follow the guidelines and assist customers who are facing difficulties obtaining currency from banks," Mathews said. He said company-owned points of sale are accepting these notes and hopefully this will help reduce some of these problems for customers.
The government allowed the use of old Rs 500 for pre-paid recharges to a limit of Rs 500 per recharge till 15 December after telecom operators requested it that dealers and distributors should be permitted to accept withdrawn notes till adequate replacement currency is available for the daily needs of ordinary citizens.
However, retailers said that company distributors and agents are not accepting old Rs 500 notes from them even as they are accepting them from customers along with ID proofs for recharges. "None of the companies is accepting old notes from us. So we are unable to entertain any customer if he comes with old Rs 500 note," Jai Prakash, who runs a mobile recharge shop in Nadesar area of Varanasi, said.
Another retailer, Nand Kumar Rai from Ghazipur, said that telecom companies are accepting Rs 500 notes at their offices but not from retailers. "Collection agents are saying they don't have time to fill up forms required for accepting Rs 500 notes. I am accepting every currency note number with ID card and mobile number details but agents are not ready for it," Vinay Popli, a retailer in Basti district of Uttar Pradesh, said.
Anjeev Thakur, who runs a mobile recharge shop at Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, said, "Retailers here are accepting old Rs 500 notes along with valid IDs preferably for high value recharges due to shortage of change. Distributors are accepting new currency notes only, and we are depositing old notes in our own accounts."
Aijaz Ahmad from Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir said that he is required to deposit recharge amount in his bank account which has led to 10-fold rise in his deposits. "I get recharge balance from distributors only after paying from my bank account. Most of the customers these days are opting for entire Rs 500 recharge. I have to stand for almost entire day to deposit old Rs 500 notes in bank," Ahmad said.