Updation on this post Dated: 4th October 2017: HDFC charged me 442/- against a cash withdrawal over the counter. When I challenged this charge, they agreed to reverse it. I have been asking for a reason for this charge and there is NO ANSWER from #HDFC bank on this regard. They reversed an amount of 375/- claiming GST cut on the reversal. Why the FUCK do I have to pay GST for their mistake is something the bank is just not answering.
Am online friend forwarded me this link to sign on an online petition against the banks in India and I humbly request my readers to do so too and join hands in bringing them to book!!
I remember the feeling of importance that crept up in my personality the day I walked into a bank to open my savings account. My sister-in-law was the branch manager who wisely counseled me on my monetary journey towards an independent life. It was August 1997 and its exactly 20 years of my banking journey with HDFC bank.
Initially it was the euphoria of having an account; later it was just convenience as I personally knew the branch manager – that I hung onto my account. Over the years, made some banker friends too who facilitated my banking needs and I never once had to think about hidden charges and their ilk.
Gradually, the bank increased the set of services on my account, I got a credit card and a locker too! Boy I had indeed arrived in this world!! The comfort just kept increasing.
Cut to 2008, when four monthly statements later, the credit card division started calling me out on a missed payment – 4 months back. Perplexed (for I was anal about punctual payments) I asked for clarification of amount and the month. For the next 6-7 months the bank kept sending me senseless emails, chain mails rather but wouldn’t confirm on the amount or the month.
I had to endure 4 years of chasing them to clarify the issue, agree to pay (it seemed the cheque “disappeared” from their check box) the initial amount, met countless agents of arbitration and what not; but the bank refused to listen and the interest kept piling.
I even got threatening calls from collection goons, call centres never called back, escalation departments slept on it – all this while I kept writing to them as walking into a branch was no good. The credit card division does not have a desk in any of their branches.
I changed cities in the interim and maintained address change on my account and kept emailing and talking – no avail.
In August 2012, the bank froze my account!!
HDFC Bank took approx 55,000/- from my bank account to reimburse for the missing payment of 5000/- !
I briefly consulted a lawyer too but I was battling tough emotional times at the personal front and finally decided to drop the matter!
I also gave up any notion of ever owning a credit card, especially by HDFC bank (I have one as an Add-on to my Dad’s card and that too for his peace of mind).
While all this was happening, a chance meeting with an acquaintance apprised me of what she was enduring over missed credit card payments with another private sector bank. “No one listens”, she moaned “and the threatening calls are weirding me out since I live alone in the city!!” She settled on their “said” amount to keep her sanity and of course ditched the credit card for good too.
This is a set pattern on the credit card dealings of the private sector banks and many folks would vouch for it. Dont listen to anything from the customers and go out guns blazing to bulldoze them into paying!!!
In 2013, HDFC bank increased locker rentals by more than 10 times or so. I had to surrender mine as the amount was ludicrous. The bank later rolled back the charges somewhat as this was a tactic to get low account balance keepers to ditch high-end service like the Locker, which they could now sell to people maintaining higher funds in the bank.
Sometime in 2011-2012, I started to note a strange charge on my account statement – 5.32/- ; 4.37 ; etc….. Puzzled I shot an email to the customer care who reverted back by saying this is cess on petrol when paid by card. I looked up my card benefits and wrote back saying this was a waiver on my card type. The bank apologised and rolled back these funny charges.
So if I hadn’t been vigilant, I would have to date been charged these amounts as “clerical errors” are a way of inserting hidden charges in your account. If you notice, they reverse with an apology – a pattern I have noted with many banks!!
In July of this year I withdrew a large amount from a HDFC bank branch near my home by a self cheque. The bank employee tells me that since this is not my Home branch, I will be charged some amount on this transaction. Perplexed I asked him why will that happen? He mentioned that cause its a certain denomination and being done at a branch which is not my home branch. He further added that I should transfer my account to his branch. None of this made sense to me and I asked him whats the purpose of have so many branches and banking anywhere in the world, if I have to run to my home branch every time? The guy had no answer, mumbled something and did the transaction.
Two weeks later, my monthly account statement showed a transaction charge of 542/- I sent a mail to the HDFC who replied saying this is standard and sent me a link to check out the T&C of my savings accounts.
I sent another mail insisting an explanation in writing and not links to be explored. The next email mentioned this as an error and the charges would be reversed.(Still waiting for that)
Six months back, my father noticed two payments of very low amounts from his HDFC bank account and mentioned it to me. I asked him to shoot a mail to the bank as he was adamant that he did not make them. Guess what – the charges were reversed.
It seemed a third-party could access my dad’s account, have his customer ID, password and security question details to process the transaction? The bank refused to talk about this with him. I insisted my dad take it further as this was clearly the work on an employee of the bank or call centre. Being of a certain age and mindset, he decided to drop it.
Recently he had a similar experience with YES bank and again the charges were reversed. I am after his life to let go of all these fancy accounts and revoke the auto-debit feature on his accounts. My fear is that he will be duped of all his money one of these days!
Yes besides women, the other target for misdeeds are the senior citizens! The banks are shamelessly doing such errors and apologise if caught!
I have countless other horror stories on banks like Standard Chartered, ICICI, Axis, etc.
So what to do? Should I just say no to the private sector banks?
You might ask me why am I still a HDFC bank customer? Because a known Devil is better than the unknown one! 😉
No, seriously I am just used to their website and netbanking facility and don’t want to change to another – that’s the honest truth. Besides, others have the same or more issues.
I have simply learnt to be more vigilant and check my account statement every month and write an email (not call on phone) for any discrepancy or issue in it. I am super careful with my passwords and don’t bank on the phone or tab at all (Did you know that some of the forwards that you pass on, carry viruses, etc which makes our phone very vulnerable to phishing attacks?).
In todays times, money-making is being “inserted” like a hidden charge/clause by the financial institutions and we are robbed of our hard-earned dues, without realising it.I This is an insidious pattern with the private sector banks in India (at least) and we need to become more aware and independent in our financial matters, especially us Indian women who depend on our menfolk for such things largely!!
I took a conscious step in this direction when a friend of mine introduced me to her BharosaClub where financial portfolios are managed and explained for creating an egg nest for future. You ought to check it out too. No this post is in no ways written to plug their cause 😉
I would love to hear your banking stories, if you have any you would like to share with me please. BTW do you take care of your finances or is the man of the house who does it for you woman?
I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge and the prompt for the day is Pattern!