Elaboration for @HDFC_Bank

Dear @HDFC_Bank,

Normally when I write a post with an intent to get to somebody, I spend some time, do a little home work, have a point and then roll it out.

Am doing this post in a hurry; because, you know, you’re trying hard to assist me on twitter but are unable to.

If you remember this tweet, read on for the response.

While I already replied to the tweet immediately and we’ve been having a disconnected conversation over twitter, this is just a sample to let you understand what I’m referring to, when I say “issues”. I repeat, it’s plural.

And, no kidding, but the terrible service you provide deserves more than 140 chars.

Story background:

A while ago, I contacted your branch where I unfortunately have my salary/ savings account. I requested them to stop an ECS request from Reliance Capital. I was surprised to know that I couldn’t do that! I have no control over my account? I didn’t dare to ask if I can at least block cheques anytime in the future; I kinda know what you’ll say.

Hold on for a moment now. I know you’re thinking “there is a way to stop ECS, all you have to do is get a declaration from Reliance Capital that requests you to cancel the ECS”. Now, take a deep breath and try to understand what’s going on in my mind.

If I come to you with a request to block a cheque (hypothetically, because a cheque is stolen, let’s say), you want me to find the cheque and submit it to you in original, along with my address proof, original passport, valid VISA, telephone bill, ration card, Voter ID card, 2 color passport-size photographs, and, may be my office ID card in original?

Think about it- if I can convince Reliance to cancel the ECS, why the heck would I come to you again and request you to cancel/ dishonor the request? I’m sure you have your dumb policies and bunch of forms at your finger tips, but can you at least get into my mind for a moment and look at the situation?

Here is an email that made me aware of your policy.

Current issue sample:

Again, this is not one of my primary concerns right now, however, as I told you, showing you a sample of why I hate HDFC so much and trying hard, in every way possible to kick you out of my life.

Your recent messages to me on twitter were talking about me visiting the branch to address the situation.

Well, that’s been on for about 6 months now and may be you call it “Retail Asset Branch” to sound/ read good on websites, but I refer to it as “Headquarters, Organized Crime, HDFC”.

Anyways, unable to bear with your pathetic Customer Service, being not in a position to explain every Tom, Dick and Harry, what assistance I need, and simply fed up with HDFC because no one can help me as it’s never “something you can take care of” (there’s always somebody else to address the concern and he/ she has not surfaced in 6 months!), AND more than all of these, not willing to pay huge penalties that arise due to your inability to solve a problem & you impose a fine everytime your kids need new school shoes, I chose to finally visit the “Headquarters”, and you wouldn’t believe, foreclosed the loan with credit card! *Sigh!*

That sounds pathetic even to read it, haan? I did it. Because, that’s how much I hate you now.

But, that’s not the point here, take a look at the letter below I received when I paid the total outstanding to foreclose the loan (yes, school shoes included).

Now, you tell me what do I do with this next ECS that’s referred to here. If I contact the branch, they will want a declaration from the “Headquarters” a.k.a Retail Asset Branch, with cancellation request.

While am not planning to deal with the “Headquarters” now, they gave me a letter that the loan is completely closed! AND STILL, you’re thinking of an ECS presentation.

The loan guy wants me to stop the ECS but the bank account guy won’t allow me to do it. For heaven’s sake, both are part of the same dumb organization!

Let me remind you again, immediately, that both these (the loan fellow and the bank fellow) are from HDFC. If you’re unable to stand on one word within your organization, imagine my plight to deal with HDFC and Reliance Capital in combination! By the way, if I have not mentioned already, they’re your tough competition for Customer Service; they rock as much as you do, but more on that later.

As I said, I don’t even have patience to explain all other such issues with HDFC. I understand you’ve charged me on my loan, as well as Savings account in the name of penalties because two divisions within your own organization don’t understand/ work with each other; but who can put a price on kids’ shoes, huh?

Thank you for all the attempts you did/ are making to address my concerns. Just to let you know the status: the reps who called me so far are useless; they ate up lot of my valuable time; and charged me heavy penalties on top of that.

I’ll pay for the uniforms too, could you please, please leave me alone?!!

Additional recommended reading: http://viveeonline.com/blog/?s=banking


HDFC’s new style – Convex marketing

Convex marketing is the art of looking at things through a magnifying glass. If you haven’t bumped into the term already, don’t worry. I just made it up! 🙂

Marketing is in a way by default looking at positive aspects and highlighting them big time to impress customers. And, looks like HDFC is doing it a little more than obvious. Continue reading “HDFC’s new style – Convex marketing”

SBH ‘Explore’d

I hope you’ve read my earlier experiences with banks. I should be a tough customer for everyone; why else would I have a terrible experience with every bank? Or, may be my stay in ‘Customer Support’ arena for the last 8 years (all my career!) forces me to look at service in a different way.

You can access my earlier posts about Emotional banking, HDFC (here, here and here), UTI, ICICI, SBI and Credit card calls right on this blog.

This one is with State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH). This is the first bank I opened an account with, when in graduation. My dad and uncle wanted me to have an account of my own to start savings (I used to earn OK with tuitions and stuff back then) but the idea of showing off a cheque book was more appealing than savings, so I did open one.

I used it for a while, with not many issues. Until I got my first salary account (with all those free transactions, zero balance, ATM card and Internet banking), I thought standing in line for 20 minutes to withdraw Rs. 300/- was perfectly normal. Then I realized I didn’t have to keep track of the bank holidays and timings (10.00 am – 2.30 pm) anymore. So, I started using ICICI more than SBH. And then someday soon I had already forgotten I had an account with SBH. And then I discovered my ‘passbook’ in some old files.

I took it to the bank and inquired about the balance. By then, they had supposedly changed the account number format twice and it took 45 minutes in the line to get a new account number and passbook with dotmatrix print (It was pen and paper before). Yeah, everytime I asked to have my passbook updated with the transactions, they put the complete book in the printer. How kool?

Then I saw an advertisement on billboard or newspaper that SBH has come up with ATM cards. I had one from ICICI already but why not another one if I have an option? How kool would it be to flash two ATM cards when someone asks if I have a bank account, haan? So, I went to the bank and requested an ATM card for my account.

The first person I approached looked surprised and answered “We don’t have an ATM card for SBH! If you are so much into technology and advanced banking, you have to go to one of those corporate banks like ICICI, HDFC or GTB”. Yep, Global Trust Bank was one of the well known banks then, unfortunately no more now.

I wanted to talk to the manager. Not very surprised this time, I received the same answer from manager. I actually had to get the newspaper cutting and show him that SBH has an ATM card. I wonder how it happened that a branch manager had no information about it. He then inquired with some assistants and gave me an application form.

Six weeks later, I received the card and after another two weeks, and may be 5-6 visits to the branch, I got the ATM pin. All was well till April first week, 2006.

Two days before I left to US on a corporate trip, I lost my wallet. I lost all the ATM cards with some good amount of cash I saved to get new shoes and stuff. I managed to block the credit cards and ATM cards from other banks. Till today I didn’t even bother to visit SBH branch and/ or block the card, it’s almost 4 years now!

Today on my way to office, I saw a billboard that talked about “SBH Explore”. It’s a new face of SBH with all the corporate banking features. Wow, if the technology allows me to access my account without standing in line at the branch, I wanted to give it a try. I walked into office, opened a browser and searched for the URL. I didn’t have any luck at first but then I visited Wikipedia page to get the official site there. And guess what? I see this message below. Cheers SBH! 🙂

Com’on, they forgot to renew the domain name? Huh!

Happy but not satisfied – III

hdfcAfter the loan was disbursed, I called this lady again asking about the EMI figure. She said it’s for 15.5%. I reminded about the deal she had offered. She easily provided another phone number and brushed off her hands saying “he should be able to help you”. That bugger never answered the phone and next day I started escalation – in all and every direction possible; I wrote to the loan support email address, Customer Care, central grievances cell and what not.

It got funnier. The loan support guy wanted me to send him a scanned copy of the ‘offer letter’. It took some time to explain that like normal practice around, the offer was made over the phone and I didn’t have any document that mentions 15% interest. To bury the issue under the carpet, he mentioned that I “agreed” for additional interest rate as I signed the documents. Again, took time to explain that as normal practice, I expected the bank policies to be ethical and signed the blank template. All the details would be filled in by the agent later. He was reluctant to look into the matter as I could legally do nothing to him.

Well, I completely agree, that I cannot sue them in this case (not that I would but just saying). I set the right expectations – if I can spread the news and stop at least 5 customers from doing business with the bank, I consider myself successful. After a few more phone calls, escalations and arguments, they agreed to pay me the difference amount in EMI (Rs 24.00 X 36 months = Rs 864.00). One of the representatives came home with cash to complete the clean up.

As for the additional Rs. 1114.00, it took good effort to learn that the money went for some bond paper and insurance. While I insisted that they return that money too, I am not very tough on that. That was not a case of ‘cheating’, but of miscommunication. I would have been happy if I was told of this at the time of the offer.

Anyway, this is my most recent experience with the bank. I guess I have to stick to them for some more time; unfortunately my company’s salary account is with these guys and they are not willing to move just mine to some other bank, huh! But, I wanted to make it clear that if they want to take me for a ride, I will not let them do it. And I think I am successful.

Few more experiences to follow, but different transactions. Cheers!