ICICI Bank / pathetic customer service in home loans
I have a money saver home loan account with ICICI Bank. When I took out the loan I was told that for this product there will not be an online account. I was given a phone number and an email id which I was told to contact for gettting any information about the account.
For the first few months, I could get all the informationt about my account over email. However after about 3 months all of a sudden, the email stopped responding. Repeated reminders to the email address went un-answered.
Then I tried to call the number that I was given. To my horror, I was told that the only way I can get information about my account is by personally travelling to the branch of the bank in Bangalore. This was not only a complete change in the promise that I was made when I took out the loan but was practically impossible for me as I am currently living outside India.
The loan account that I have taken works on a model in which I am given a current account into which I keep depositing monies. The monthly EMI is then taken from this deposited amount. The EMI figure can change whenever the bank wants. Therefore it is extremely important for me to know how much balance I have in this account and how much EMI is being deducted.
In Aug-2007, I travelled to India for this purpose. My intention was to check the balance of the account and also to discuss the issue with the manager and find out a method by which I can get a regular statement of my account. On the first day of my visit, after waiting about two hours in the queue, I could finally get a statement. To my horror again, I found that amouts have been deducted from my account for unexplained reasons. When I asked the representative about this discrepancy, she could not explain this to me and asked me to come on another day. This was very difficult for me as I had to travel back to London. When I wanted to speak to the manager, the honorable manager refused to speak to me. Instead, he made me speak to one Baljepalli Kumar in Mumbai. When I spoke to Mr. Kumar, he was very nice and took all the details and registered my email details and even provided his own email id. He promised that the discrepancy that I have highlighted will be addressed and further on, whenever I want any information, I can contact him directly from my registered email. He wanted me to come on another day to get the clarification on the discrepancy on my account.
When I went to the bank on the specified day, after waiting for about two hours again, I was told that the investigation has not been done yet and I will be updated over email about the findings when it is done. I was frustrated and came back. The next day I flew back to London.
During this visit, I also tried to update my mailing address in India so that at least I can get account statements over post. However, strangely, the ICICI home loan banking computer system did not accept my postal address. This is when then ICICI prudential account that I have has the same address and I get regular statements in this address.
It has been almost two months since and I am still waiting for the clarification. I have already sent few emails to Mr. Kumar and ICICI bank customercare about this and as ususal there has not been any response from them. My request for an updated account statement has also not been addressed. I cannot even foreclose this loan account as I have to pay a huge penalty if I do so. Am now frustrated, and surprised with the callousness and arrogance of this bank. We were supposed to get better service with the advent of these private banks but it seems we are walking backwards.
Am consulting the legal experts on this. Meanwhile my suggestion to the prospective customers of ICICI is to be careful before committing to any product or service of ICICI bank.
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