India & Around, Living, Personal
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Where’s the customer in customer service?! Trouble with ICICI Bank

Update: November 21: Finally, after more than a month of running around the BTM branch managed to return the money back to my sister. Thanks to all the readers for their suggestions and advice! And also to the reader who had left the email addresses of the concerned people at ICICI who we emailed. (He had asked for his comment to be deleted). The saga is over but it has definitely left us with a really bad taste in the mouth.

Update: November 20: As of today, after about a month, my sister still awaits closure and return of her money. She has written to mostly everyone including Kamath, and someone from his office actually called, listened to her story and assured her that they will resolve the issue. We’re hoping it happens soon!

This seems to be a time for sharing horror stories. But in times when you feel no one is listening, I think at least we can resort to one outlet. That is, blog about it so at least others can come to know before they do something similar.

Last month, my sister who’s down from the UK and made the very big mistake of opting for ICICI to start a bank account. She went to the nearest branch in BTM (off the Udupi garden lane). That’s where her trouble started.

— On the 17th, she opened her a/c by paying pounds (which the bank accepted) and she received a welcome kit with an ATM card.

— Ten days later, on the 27th she checked the ATM card, which was disallowed. She called someone at BTM branch called Dilip and he said he’d get back in half an hour’s time. One hour later she called again and he said the a/c hadn’t been activated. They needed more time.

But she had given them enough time. She then went to bank and asked for the a/c to be closed and was assured by the BM that a/c would be activated tomorrow i.e 28th.

On the 28th she received an sms from the Sales Manager saying her a/c will be activated on 29th.

Meanwhile on the 28th she called Customer Care and was told that her application had not been rejected and that she would hear from them within 4 working days. SR NO 43113540.

She also sent complaint to the Senior Manager Quality Service through the website who promise to get back with a response in 48 hours. No response to date.

On the 31st, she called customer care (CC) and was told application had been postponed to the 6th of November.

On the 6th, she called CC and was informed that application had been REJECTED due to foreign exchange. They couldn’t accept pounds! There was no news from the bank in the meantime.

On the 6th, she went to the bank and 20 minutes later was told the manager was not present.

On the 7th, she called Dilip again and was told that the bank will be closed for Diwali and the manager was on holiday. He told her that it was best to wait till Monday (12) next and he had got the application form for closure ready and she needed to sign on it and would receive her money on Tues.

On the 12th, she went to bank and waited for one and half hours. Finally, she was given a blank paper to put her request for closure of a/c in writing. They had no formal application for account closure!

When she asked what the process would be next, she was informed that the letter would be sent to regional sales manager and they should hear from him on Tues or Wed and she can then come and collect cheque.

She told him she didn’t have an account (that was the reason for wanting to open one!!) and giving a cheque wouldn’t get her anywhere and could she have her money back.

The guy said yes but according to her, he keeps saying “yes!yes” to everything but is not able to give her a definite answer for anything. She sent another complaint to the Nodal Head and Senior GM yesterday and is still waiting to date for something to happen.

These are some questions that come to mind:

1) Why did they accept pounds to open her account when weeks later they realised that they can’t accept it? Why did it take more than 3 weeks to tell her that her account was rejected and why did they keep assuring her that the account would be activated?

2) Why on earth did they issue an ATM pin card and an account number for an account that they went and rejected?

3) Why doesn’t anyone seem to know anything at the place? If you work at a bank aren’t you supposed to know something about the working about the procedures at least opening and closure?

4) Why does she have to close an account which has not been opened or approved in the first place?!

5) In this day and age, how can any bank afford to take nearly ONE MONTH to process an account (whether it’s opening, rejecting or closure)?

My sister has already made endless calls and made numerous visits to the bank just to set up an account. Not to mention the distress and frustration she’s gone through of dealing with customer service people who basically know nothing and give you no real answers. And deal with the phone guys, and even the people at the branch don’t seem to know anything.

6) How does one escalate in this case? She tried the website but had no luck. Her pleas to the branch manager at the BTM branch does not seem to get her anywhere either.

Meanwhile, we wait in the hope that something will finally work out. But with these experiences behind her, it’s unlikely she will have anything to do with ICICI bank again.

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