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Bribery and the Convenience Fee.

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When I called the building plumber to replace the heating plate of my Water Heater, I was surprised to see that the MRP sticker was removed and the price he had paid seemed to be high (Rs 950/-).  Being wary of it, I asked him to come next day, while I would source the plate myself. After browsing around nearby shops, I got the same original plate at a nearby hardware shop at about 20% less cost (Rs 800/-).

While this is still understandable (one needs to be wary of what one pays for), I was concerned when I heard that my fellow resident had the same issue but, paid the amount the plumber asked for.  When I inquired on this and raised this as a concern to be addressed with the plumber, my fellow resident was nonchalant about it. According to him, it could be considered as a fee for his efforts to source the product, i.e, a ‘convenience fee’.

However, it really does become concerning if this attitude is applied elsewhere.  Going strictly by this theory, bribery could also be termed as ‘convenience fee’.  For example, you can pay 4-5 visits to your BBMP office for the Khata Transfer facility (for example) to check and verify your documentations are intact . Thereby, taking leave from office or reporting late. On the other hand, you can produce the minimal documents required on the 2nd visit itself and bribe the person to process the same. In my case, I ended by visiting the BBMP office atleast 6-7 times over a 4 month period, before getting the Khata transfer with no additionaly amount paid.

Infact, those who work in MNC’s have an in-house concierge facility to handle even these work. There again you pay a ‘convenience fee’ to make it easy.  One has no calms about it. It is purely business. Time is money.

Does it make us wonder if bribery or, sorry…convenience  fee is  here to stay? Where can the line be drawn?

Vimal k 


dvsquare's picture

Its not fully black or white

147 users have liked.


I have 2 things to say about these kinds of issues -

(1) Due to rampant corruption in all spheres of our lives, and a few people like us who want to pay no bribe, ready to do any required num of visits to get things done. I have done the same for my marriage certificate as well as my wife's bike trasfer interstate. But, one major thing, we are loosing here is of service. What if, this bribery is not there, there will be some agents, who would do some work on our behalf and we pay service fee or convenience fee. For eg., since we can't go to courier or post office, someone or some company can charge us 20 Rs or 50 Rs extra and can do post on our behalf. This gives fair space to us as well agent and the system, but thanks to all rampant corruption, today, using any agent's service has become equivalent to bribing the system.

(2) In this particular case, the wrong part is that MRP is removed and instead of asking for service fee or labour cost + convenience fee or travel cost, they are showing as if the cost of the part is that much. Had he been transparent about the cost, and charged for services plus labour, he chose to hide that by removing MRP.
But also, if we see other examples in our business model today, because of services being added, prices change like chips and other things at tourist places, coldrinks in restaurants, or any other such examples.

Incidently, last week, I also called up our building's electrician (not plumber in your case) (we stay in same apartment), to show him why water is not getting heated up properly in my water geyser. He also told me to replace the coil, which he told will cost around 1100 for the same brand, or 700-800 for local one. I need to get it fixed still.



silkboard's picture

The BBMP khata transfer part

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Talking of multiple visits BBMP office for Khata transfer, you should not have to do that now (in theory at least) as Sakala would guarantee time bound delivery of Khata transfer service. That perhaps is the way to go as far as dealing with government is concerned. Take time, take months to do my job if you will government, but just tell me when should I return and expect that my work will be done. comment guidelines

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