February 19, 2004

Banks or cranks?

Few of my recent experiences with some supposedly leading banks:
1. Called up callcenter of ICICI Bank for an issue.
After a maze of number pressing, automated response informing my average wait time to be serviced by a Customer Service Rep is 5 minutes.
After finishing the time limit, a rep validated my identity, heard my problem completely, and then said 'Sir, I will put you to a specialty officer, who will answer your query. Pls be on hold', and there I go.
Another 5 minutes. To the specialty officer, I have to once again prove my identity, explain all my problem.
By this time, I am exasperated about this entire 15 minute routine, I lose all steam to shout and complain. I only have the energy to narrate. The SPECIALTY OFFICER finally gives me a transaction number and asks me to check back after 2 working days...aaarrgghhh....

2. I correspond to the customer care email-id of ICICI. Got an automated response that my query will be attended to shortly. After a month's time, I get a response saying my concern item will be addressed in 7 working days.
Now I send a response like one below -
I am disappointed at the speed in which ICICI responds to eMail queries. ICICI has wasted close to one month just to state that they will send across requisite documents in a week.

I am wondering if this type of service amounts to breach of customer trust and consumer rights.

To which the customer officer responds:
We thank you for writing back to us.

Should you need any further assistance / clarifications, please do write to us and we would be delighted to assist you.

3. Experience with AMEX.
I had a personal loan with AMEX, I opted for a top-up loan. They said the closure of old loan with top-up loan, and amount disbursal to me would take 3 days. I apply for the loan. After close to a week, am informed that it would take another 3 days. No response on 3rd day, so I call up bank. They tell me that application form is wrongly printed by AMEX, so I need to fill form again. This time they cautiously state it'd be a week.
After close to 10 days, when I dont hear from AMEX, I call up to understand what happened. Once again, an error on AMEX in getting my signatures, and I would have to fill the form again. I do this. A month has passed, and no action still.
I call up again to understand what happened. They say they will get back to me soon. And in the afternoon, a couple of reps from AMEX land up at my place, saying that error in form once again, and I need to fill up the form again. This is the third time, mind you.
They assure me that cheue would be disbursed this time definitely in 3 days. A week passes again... no no dont worry, not another time. But a system error - technology problem - so cheque processing will take more time. But my application form is fine.
Then I send so many mails and fax and lot of phone-shouting to AMEX, and informed I might be tempted to go to Banking ombudsman and consumer court. Finally, the loan amount was disbursed without much an official apology.
Wait, the story is not over yet.
AMEX had not returned my EMI cheques pertaining to my old loan. And a couple of days back, AMEX presented the EMI cheques related to both accounts - old and new. I called up the people who serviced my top-up loan. And they told me "Sir, this is sales department, we are not related with this issue any more. You will have to tal to operations department through our call center"

hmmpphh....So much so for MNC bank and customer service!!!

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