Sunday, May 31, 2009

Service Experiences - ICICI Bank

I had an interesting experience with ICICI bank.  It all started one day when they tried to make me a subscriber for their automatic bill pay service. They perstered me a lot of times saying that they provide a free bill pay option from my credit card to Airtel mobile. Though, I was paying my mobile bill from airtel website using ICICI credit card pretty easily, after they asked me lot of times to use that service I opted in for their service. They said it was absolutely free of cost and no charge but in my April card statement I got a charge for that for 100 rs. I called their customer care number and asked. They denied to refund it or cancel it saying that they sent a notice in November bill saying that the terms of using the automatic bill pay service were changed and I will be charged 100 anually for that.  I explained that though I didnt require that service, on their persistent pestering, I just accepted to try out their service which was free then and hence I dont want their services at all. I also argued that if there are changes to the terms and conditions then the existing customers should give explicit consent to that or they can choose to opt out. After arguing for sometime, a customer service executive called me and said that they are refunding my money and that my service will be deactivated. 
Though, they overzealously charged me for the service i never wanted, I was happy overall that atleast they were will to refund my money and the relationship thus strengthened. 

But the story didnt end there... After one month, a service person from ICICI bank calls. He asks me about the missed attempt of theirs to charge me for the automatic billing service. After explaining the whole situation to him, he asks if he can deduct the charge from my reward points... !!! I negated him and asked him how the two are related. One is a service I never wanted. Next is one which you promised, you will give me if I purchased with your card. i never asked for the reward points but that might have influenced me in choosing you as a my preffered card provider.  How can you go back on your promises? And how can you take advantage of the fact that I am already subscribed to a service and start charging for that service without taking my permission?? 
I understand the crunch banks are under. I understand the way the current credit card system might be unsustainable but that doesnt mean that you can run over your existing customers. Brainstorm a new business model, explain it to your customers, giving them to switch over to that or opt out. As I value my relation with ICICI bank, if I really feel that the bank requires to do what it is doing, I might as well switch over to your new policy but till then dont try to charge for free services or dont deduct from my reward points. 

Hope you take notice. Did any of you face similar experiences with banks? Feel free to post it.