ICICI Direct / poor service!
This complaint is on my father's behalf who is over 70 is having the hardest time with ICICI direct customer service. Just over a year ago he visited India and set up a trading account to sell his one and only share holding. He was told he could only do so through a trading account. Hence his decision to open the account. The rest is a nightmare:
1. Account opening took much longer than anticipated ( acceptable given it is a Indian company and given the general bank experience in India)
2. It got worse with the whole process called DEMAT. This is where you have to submit the certificates to ICICI so they can put it into electronic format and sell it on your behalf... this was a nightmare. They sent the shares back (very big pile given the amt of shares... and charged the cost to his trading account )... not to mention this was after making three trips to the local branch in Toronto where they did not feel comfortable in "attesting" his signature. The branch actually will tell you they are "related" to the Indian company (rep. Mr Gandhi)... after a long 3 month process... have skipped over a lot of pain... shares were "dematerialized".
3. It continues...you don't see the shares in the account... you need a PAN number...
4. Keeping in mind my father is over 70 plus... they told him his shares were with the bank but he could not see them in his account as he did not have a PAN number. Certainly the thought of fraud cross his mind given the holding a a big part of retirement nest egg... but he patiently asked me to help again...
5. After obtaining the PAN forms, pictures taken... we again had to get everything attested... once again were told by the branch..."we are not related to ICICI India" although it is the ICICI branch in Brampton... they did not want to attest the documents.
6. Phoned ICICI India, were told we could go to the local branch or the Indian Embassy. The Indian embassy wanted 80$ per application ..would have been 160$. Given the que and my parents age, they could not wait that long and I told them I would try to do it for them.
7. Tried ICICI Bramtopn... again... this time the Manager (Mr Avtar) attested the forms making several comments about how his cannot be crossed reference by ICICI India... not sure why they want you to use us as ICICI India does not have their employee code or signatures on file... nonetheless... for $10, he did sign it and off went the application.
8. I sent the application to address provided on the ICICI web site. Turns out its not a real address according to UPS post. I had to redirect to where the original application was sent... delay of three days.
9. In the mean time, the company has decided to delete the shares through Management buyout... shares stop trading in early Sept.
10. PAN application sent Jul 10th.
11 My mother PAN gets updated on file Sept 4th. Fathers is not updated.
12. Receive both PAN NDSL cards in the mail in Canada.
13. I quickly scan the card and sent it via email to ICICI customer service and receive a rejection notice a couples of days later. Its seems the middle initial does not match the middle initial on the pan card. Now, I ask you... if the company used to get the PAN card is referred by ICICI for 500 rupees and they make this mistake... who should correct it?
14. I have kept a number of things out to keep it short... such as my numerous email and failed calls to ICICI... when you tell them to call you... don't be surprised to receive an answer....we tried calling you at the number ****, can you provide an alternative... now all my numbers have a voicemail (never got a voicemail) and call display (never saw the number as a missed call... hmmm).
All in all... this has been a nightmare... I have tried asking for names of management staff... never have been provided... its always a different customer service rep... never does anyone take any accountability... certainly no sympathy give the age of the client... to any senior who is thinking of dealing with icici I strongly urge you to consider alternatives as the experience with ICICI will certainly be heart-stroking. I truly believe if I had not been there for my father... he could not have made it... surely at least one heart attack... I feel sooo sorry for him and seeing his physical health and knowing full well what this money could mean to him... I try... I just hope to cross path with some on ICICI that will close this story for him and I...
UPDATE: I requested they send back the physical certificates... they need a PAN number to do so... back again to the beginning... and the shares can no longer be sold through the exchange... management needs the physical certificates.
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