Sunday, June 27, 2010

Have A Nice Day

HDFC bank has this message on their page– (reproducing it as it appears) - Effective June 1 2010, debit card holders will need to call PhoneBanking to place a request for the accrued cash back to their account. I have always found bank/government official language to be strange. But then one has to make sense of it, otherwise you are the loser.

I called phone banking only to realise I did not have the PIN number. Then I tried the customer service . And it is a long story.

I tried the first number that was listed. I had to wait  a while, hear some music, press some numbers as the recorded message gave me the options, and finally after about 5 minutes, it connected me to an operator. I had to wait till the voice at the other end introduced herself, and finally asked, how may I help you? She heard me out patiently and said, we do not deal with debit cards. She gave me another number

I dialled again. Same story. Dial, wait, press keys, listen to music and finally the voice. This time it was a male voice that said - Good afternoon, I am so and so, how may I help you? He heard me out too. He asks  Debit card number, Madam? . I tell him. He asks for address, the date of birth and then finally says, I cannot help you, I shall transfer your call to Mumbai. ( Why did he ask me all the details? )

He transferred my call. Again I wait… again the options, and finally the voice. Good Afternoon. ( It was already 15 mins since I had dialled the first number… shouldn’t he have said Good Evening? ) How may I help you?. I said, I have a debit card… I was getting tired of repeating the same thing over and over again.

Debit card number, Madam. Debit card number, the address, date of birth. He is not done. He wants to know more.

Landmark given for the address? I had filled the form over 3 years ago. How was I to remember?

I rattled off three landmarks. One worked.

Nomination.? Again three names. One worked again.

Then he says, I need to know the ATM PIN . I say I don't remember. Never used my debit card at the ATM. Telebanking number. I do not remember that either. I tell him, that I have answered all other questions regarding my identity. And besides it is my debit card. My money that I am spending. And all that I ask is the money that the bank promised as an incentive for my usage, to be credited to my account. So what is the problem? Sorry, madam, we need all these details.

Then he says, Madam, you search for the number and call me back ( It is close to 25 minutes now). I said - WAIT! ( did I scream in desperation?). I cannot go through this process again,

I have this practice of entering all these numbers in my mobile phone. But then cautious me, I have coded it, so that none will realise it is a telebanking number ( after all the mobile can be stolen). And doesn’t the bank communication state clearly that we are to remember the number and tear the piece of paper?

I had to decode the entry. It took me time to figure it out myself. I try different combinations. Finally ….I get a number. . I was not sure if I had the right one. ( But I felt a little victorious.. I had kept the customer service guy waiting ).

I was connected to a recorded message again to key in the telebanking number and then at the end of the message was transferred to the customer service person. He thanked me for confirming my identity. ?????  He said you have Rs 294/- out of which Rs 250 will be credited to your account. I said what about the balance. He said, we can only credit it once it reaches Rs 250/-.

So, can I give you instructions to that effect. No madam, you will have to call again each time!!! Anything else? Thanks for calling.  Have a nice day!

All this to get Rs 250/- credited to my account? Is it worth it? I am not sure. Will I go through this again. I do not know. I guess that is their intention. How many will have the patience to keep track? And then call and inform them to transfer it to the account?  A case of daylight robbery.

 cartoon source


  1. That's terrible:( Most people do not have the patience to go through with getting even larger amount back as the process put in place is long drawn and completely painful. My sympathies Mother dearest.

  2. The initial reaction was "all this for Rs 250?". Then, if you look the stuff you can get for Rs 250, it was worth it provided the phone calls were not charged to you. :)

    Could you walk into to a branch and get this done?

  3. I would love to deal with them all as depicted in the cartoon. If only.....

  4. SBI is the safest and hassle free I always felt.
    Good you blogged on this.

  5. With all the bitter experiences why do we have business with them who harass?Why not go to other banks?Is it that the difference is only between Tweedledum and Tweedledee?The power of the poeple to make banks realise their folly is immense if they act in unison.

  6. Interesting post.Sounds hilarious when it happens to others! I have also had a similar frustrating experience with a multinational bank.

  7. I feel humiliated when I go through so many doors to hear their artificial polite tones. They are all just machines, no human concerns at all. Just because we want to keep our own money in the bank and use it after paying their commission, they think that they are the boss.

    I know we need lot of patience do give any complaint about anything in this machanised age. It is going to be like this, hereafter, Radha.

  8. Nice post. I have experienced similar problems in India. Like a good law abiding citizen, I wanted to cash my dollars to Indian rupees in a bank in Chennai. (I can name the bank and the branch if you like.) I was transferred to 3 people. Every one asked me how much I want to cash, travelers check or dollar bills, my passport number, and if I have an account in that bank. Finally transferred me to the manager telling they are not responsible. The bank manager asked the same questions and asked "do you have an account in THIS branch". I said no. He said he cannot cash my dollars to Indian rupees.

    I went to a local bazar. Many people asked for my US dollars and I cashed them at a small premium. So much if you want to obey the law in India.

  9. Thanks for making me smile so much. But sorry for having fun at ur expense.

    I think u deserve to treat urself for making the guy wait!

    I went through something similar with ICICI. I was calling from the UK, and the thought of the bill made my blood boil. I felt sad at the plight of the people on the other end of the phone too, after all they were just doing their job.

  10. I thought the banks in India were more personalized than out here. I guess your experience proves me wrong. Or is it just the modern banks who do that?

  11. Oh my. I can so relate. MOving it took me three weeks to get a phone....and I can't go into details but the same stuff...yikes! I am so frustrated right with you! What is with corporations now adays...can't get a thing that is rightfully ours!

  12. most of the customer care phone numbers... are actually customer trauma centres... They are so seriously irritating...

  13. Very interesting experiences.
    The messages and documents from the bank and government are always like this. The intentions we should is understand, so that they can et us a legal mess if we still challenge them.

  14. Hmm..atleast you still have the option to hear a human voice. Here most of the banks have such confusing sequence of numbers to press and ultimately you reach the first option again! It makes you wonder, if Telebanking is suppossed to make your life easier!Some even have the nerve to make some facilities to be available only thru telebanking, not branch visits or online banking!
    Atleast, next time you will armed with this rich experience and hopefully get the job done in less than 5 minutes! :)

  15. Horrible experience, but nice post!

    Many readers here must have had similar experiences- I know that I have!

    And the frustrating thing is, that in most cases, they do not give you the option of going to a branch and getting the work done. It has to be done by phone!

  16. Well, the problem of call centers and the endless time they take to solve your petty problems!!!
    So true..very well written!

  17. Serendipity - I thought I would have had more monies credited to my account - remember the shopping spree before you left?
    Nona - True, is the trouble for 250/- worth it. I never ever checked if the amount was credited ( when it was supposed to have been automatically done), but the minute they put a note like contact for action - I thought I must.
    Shailaja - I wish I was as agressive as the lady in the cartoon.
    Indrani - I am not sure if nationalised banks are better. Sometimes with them there is no response.
    KP- maybe, but how do you initiate such action?
    Lotusleaf - :-)
    Sandhya - sad to think that this is what we might have to put up with all the time in the future.
    SG - Some silly rules can make law abiding citizens do what one is totally against, but leaves you with no choice, as in your case.
    Arundati - I know they are doing their job, but why can't they have a easier routine. I try my best to be polite to these people. But it can be quite trying.
    Jaya - I think all banks complicate matters. They say it is to ensure security. But it is sometimes ridiculous.
    Trish - Like SG we are likely to believe it happens in our country only.
    Rajesh - Their documentation is so complicated. And who has time to read the fine print.
    Jyothi - I hope so, that is if I decide to go through the process again. I will remember the telebanking number for sure.
    Hitcwriter - very true.
    Manju - absolutely no option at all! But I am not sure if a bank branch experience would be simpler.

  18. What is this cash back about? is it on all speding done on Debit card? I am asking because then I will shop:)

    These calls are always exasperating, as everyone keeps asking for details:(

  19. Wow thanks for going through all this trouble and sharing it with us. We are wiser as a result and will be saving a lot of money.

    Lovely cartoons!

  20. @Shailaja SBI is safest but I wish their cust service were a lot better

  21. This entire business of phoning any bank and getting a human response is frustrating in the extreme:(

  22. Have had similar experiences with HSBC and one really feels quite helpless! The last thing you want to hear (after they HAVEN'T solved your problem) is "Have a nice day" or sometimes "Is there anything else I can do for you?"!!

    Thanks for taking the effort to write a post on this.

  23. I hear you my friend. I hear you!I've been at the receiving end of the automated phone messages also. Mine was Axis Bank. Its a big nuisance. It was a salary account and now I'm not working in that org anymore. But I had to show the details in my IT returns. The bank statement didn't reach me. Like you I must have spent an hour on the phone with these dumb automated messages. Half the time you punch the wrong option. And the remaining time you're shunting from one number to another. I have decided to close down this a/c.

  24. The term "customer service "is such a misnomer , isnt it ? I spent 25 minutes on the phone with HSBC yesterday , listening to music, recorded voices and customer service officers who spoke to me as if I was retarded .

  25. oh, the experience with the call centre and with banks. so truly represented here. you at least kept your cool through the proceeding, i usually give up much earlier. phew and yeah, all these for Rs. 250? and i doubt whether they would do anything if you walked into a branch!!


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