“Monetarily up yours ” is the common anthem of Private sector banks [ #writebravely ]

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!!


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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?

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I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge  and the prompt for the day is Pattern!

#writingbravely #writetribeproblogger

 

I’m taking part in the Write Tribe ProBlogger Challenge.

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Passionate about everything design, I am in love with photography, travel and baking. My writing journey was initiated with my letter writing hobby as a child and has metamorphosised into serious blogging. I indulge with reading fantasy fiction, day dreaming and sipping good wine.

Share your thoughts with me on this post please

  1. Phew! That seemed like a nightmare, Shalz!
    Thankfully, for me, my hubby takes care of it all…I know I too should learn the tricks of the trade, so to say, but reading about your experience, I need to rethink…
    I wish banking was easier on the nerves as it was in the olden days. Or, was it?

    • I hear your Shilpa – its become such a nightmare -right? Banks also ditch accountability at most times as they have an inner code in their training- they are right, customer is not!! Its become rough in todays times because we really dont stop to see all the boxes that have ben checked in the form – we take it to be convenient to be told by the bank rep to sign here and here and here…. how many of us sit and read that form! I didnt!!
      Not sure if it was easier in the older days but the Public sector banks are painful as you have t physically go there (their servers are always down) and face the crowd of babus and behanjis who will do everything but the work they are supposed to be doing- from knitting sweaters to slurrping tea 😉

  2. This is a nightmare. That’s why I don’t trust private sector banks at all. The worst thing is when they target senior citizens. We just have got no morality left

    • Yes Naba absolutely no morality left; shameless and brazen with their tricks because they know that senior citizens will not get into this nonsense. My dad refuses to act on it though I really want to take HDFC banks happiness in giving access to all pertinent security info to a third party! Saying sorry and rolling back the charges is no solution but thats their trick!!

    • Good thing you avoid it Vinay; I have also completely let it go tho I get tonnes of calls to avail of one. Private sector banks are such crooks when it comes to making money through such means!

  3. I don’t have much in my HDFC account but of late, yes my private bank accounts have been a chore and it is getting harder and harder to track expenses which go in small amounts. Worrying, really because they stab while smiling politely in ur face now…

    • You have put it down so well Doc; they stab while smiling sweetly! My sis in law you is an ex HDFC bank manager went through 6 months of hell for a mistake at the banks end- if people like her are taken through the grind, what hope do we poor mortals have 😉

  4. I really don’t take care of these issues as my father in law and husband deal with it. But I feel, I should make myself aware of these things.
    Sounds like a horrible experience

    • It was horrible Zainab; I fantasise in my dreams of killing the bank 😉 somehow design its downfall- Sigh!!!!

  5. Banks were once trustworthy, but not anymore. At least not the private sector ones. I used to get calls almost on a daily basis asking if I wanted a 10-minute personal loan or a credit card etc. These calls were frustrating because they would pester me even if I said no a 100 times. I ended up putting those numbers in the DND directory!

    • Yes Corinne – my SIBIL rating went down terribly after this and guess what 6 months later I get a call “would I like a credit card” from these skunks and when I check the rating, it was back up again!!! I was at an unfortunate messy juncture in my life and just couldnt handle more on my plate – so let it go! SOmething I really regret to this day and so wrote on it to get it out of my system! 🙂

  6. Shalini, you have been through so much and yet have come out a winner, great going. I accompany my hubby to the bank but don’t do it alone. I agree reading the fine print is a must before signing anything. I am also very particular about paying the credit card bills on time, have been doing it for the past 15 odd years.I have set reminders on my phone for the card and phone bills payments otherwise the forgetful me might not remember in time 🙂

    • Smart of you to set reminders; thats the only way to ensure you stay on top of these buggers! The credit card division is ruthless, atleast for #HDFC bank – they dont take any prisoners and cut you down before even you realise what happened. I wish there was a way to make these buggers pay for all the harrassment they made me endure!

  7. Far out! That’s a nightmare…I haven’t had a sole bank account in India so I can’t comment. Banks rort people generally everywhere; here included. I am quite vigilant about my transactions and check the accounts regularly as I don’t want to be charged for no reason or overdrawn or anything.

    • I think its a tactic world over and one needs to be careful with what charges are being levied every month! #HDFC bank is nefarious is this regards and I have been keeping a hawk’s eye on them now

  8. Oh no really!! I need to check my account too. I haven’t paid so much detail. We never transact through our home branch. Don’t know how many times they would have charged me for that. Also I hv stopped paying at petrol pumps through cards as they charge a fee even if paid through debit card.
    Thanks for this detailed post. I will be cautious

    • Thats a bit strange to hear Aesha because there is a 5% return on payments made at petrol pumps via cards as per the new rule in effect post demonetisation – you should check this up!! And yes chk for charges on your acct statement and WRITE mail to the cust care – telecallers are ineffective in doing anything!

    • WOW- thanks for sharing this Shilpa! Hats off to him for going after them as this is exactly what these banks are doing- these are just shenanigans. I had forgotten about this as it happened to my dad’s account and we went to get it reversed as we hadnt asked for it! I wish RBI would beocme stringent with banks or maybe there would be some financial regulatory board where we can log in such shenaigans and get help against it!

  9. Shalz HDFC is horrible. I have my account there and they charged me for a printed statement at the home branch as I needed it for address proof. I like Citi bank where I had my salary account in past. I find them professional and transparent. Their net banking is world class. I too keep a hawk eye on my statements and fight with them for every tiny amount I don’t understand. It’s hard earned money doesn’t grow on trees

    • Yes Akshata this is how they build in charges to make money – its damn sad to see all these fancy banks doing shit like this with their customers! Glad to hear about Citibank being good!! Keeping an eye on your account statement sounds awesome gurl!

  10. It is indeed a pattern! I had been through one such scenario where Rs1000 odd was charged under annual charges when my card was free for lifetime! When i called and asked for an explanation they simply said sorry madam and revised the charges!

  11. 55K for a 5K charge that you followed up on? What a total nightmare!

    Is there a reason you haven’t considered PSUs like State Bank of India etc? I know it can happen with PSUs as well, but I hear the instances are much lower.

    • I am shifting gradually towards there Shantala; PSUs have their own probs as their servers are forever down and its a pain to transact through them while traveling. I have see/heard ppl having trouble withdrawinh money via ATMs of PSUs on travel!

  12. Oh God! Good that you shared your banking experiences with us. It sounds like a nightmare.
    I manage the house finances on my own and I will have to be doubly careful going forward. Calling the customer service is a real pain. Taking clue from you, I will be mailing from now on.

    • Yes please only write an email as they tend to ignore calls by saying oh the complaint didnt get logged; pls log it again! they have nonsense for everything and get away with this shit, thanks to Indian govt and financial regulators complacency – check out the post Shilpa has shared in the comment section – its an eye opener and is against #HDFC bank only!

  13. Credit cards are such a lure but I have always avoided them. I use debit cards only. These bank people take us for a ride and offer no explanations when they are at fault. Hope it doesn’t get worse than this for you, Shalz.

  14. What a nuisance! I have an account with HDFC, but I will never take a loan or credit card from them, as yours is not the first harrowing incident I’m reading about. That being said, private banks do offer the best banking services..

  15. Banks are famous for sucking money out of clients and reason why many high executives are making so much money. It’s not only unethical but stealing on the part of banks. Just imagine if someone was not alert or aware of their rights and about procedures. Were you able to get back your 55k?

    • No yaar no money back as yet – they have turned deaf and dumb now after this all!! Check this as a recent thing with them: I withdraw money and get a transaction charge on it or 540/- I questioned them via email, they agreed to reverse it and credited 347/- to my acct. Mind you no explanation as to why this was charged in the first place. So I asked for the explanation and why 347 when 540 were dedcuted – the reply is a stunner!! Are you ready for it? They have dedcuted GST on the reversal of charges!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean what the fuck? In the first place these charges were false and then you charge me taxation on reversal and therby cheating me out of about 200/- WHY? It is going to take them 5 working days to answer this as per their mail to me today! This is #HDFC bank.

      • Dude! This is fucking cheating and to top it all, another mail sent to you today. I think that it should be highlighted in the media as well. Such bizarre people…reversal charge? Do they have brain in the first place?

        • Yes Vishal thats my reaction too- do they have a brain? I am so looking for some legal aid for this matter to be filed in a court of law now – if y ou know of someone willing to, pls do let me know!

  16. Oh my! I have never chcked into such transactions. I even asked about one recently to my banker and she said T&C and I accepted blindly not thinking for another second. Now I think I shall be more vigilant. Eye opener shalz

    • Yes they are bloody unscruplous; if you check my reply above to Vishal’s comment – you will see the latest BULLSHIT from #HDFC bank over some more false charges!!

  17. Oh dear…I have to admit I am not very prudent with my cards and accounts…at least you seem to be on top of things. This is an eye opener and a wake up call for me. I am definitely going to be more cautious going forward.

  18. Icici is a horror story. I fought for 3 years for credit card scam and only when I got some awesome high profile people involved they relented. I have been trying to contact their customer care for the past two weeks but to no avail. It’s so hard to get a bank job done.
    Imagine if you weren’t checking your account, all that amount would have gone. It’s ridiculous how unscrupulous banks have become these days. Since that scam, I have stopped holding any credit card. I don’t have any fancy services too. Just plain old bank account.

    • Gawd!! I wish I knew some awesome high ranking peeps in #HDFC bank too who would get me my money bank. I so want to draw blood here – hate these buggers like anything and this post is simply ctatharsis!!!! 😉

  19. I always had a credit card but it was manged by employer. So never faced any problem. But my better half is one just like you! He had since long, precisely since 2005, never ever used credit card. I had witnessed the whole drama only to realise that Banks are Sharks!
    Sometimes I feel sad, that why people like us, low profile, having no time for litigation, and neither interested in confrontations… a common man…. have to be soft target???
    Real eye opener and engaging read Shalini!
    – Anagha From Team MocktailMommies

    • Wow Anagha , I do feel bad for your hubby!! Its very tough to deal with these sharks as you so rightly called them!! I really hate #HDFC bank and hope there will be some backlash to their publicity via this post! 😉

    • Yes Indy its been a true nightmare with #HDFCbank and I am still fighting out issues with them on most days!

    • You are the smart one. I wish I had done so too and actually now keep my account balance very low in #HDFC bank with no extra deposits of any sorts! They are such cheats and harassers – glad to know I am reaching out to people as awareness is our only weapon against these goons

  20. I bank with Fed bank but just for namesake, and when I am in India only. And I literally have no idea what’s happening there. But one thing I can tell is that every bank gets into our nerves. I am behind my bank now to get my debit card renewed. And it’s been two months now.

  21. My mo m retired from State bank, so all things finance was dealt by her. It’s embarrassing to admit that I cared zilch about checking the statements. But your post makes sense! It’s scary actually!

    • Its ok Shalini we all do that as we have had someone to take care of it. Its a pain even today and I do long for someone to take care of it now also! 😉

  22. This is just at the end of a week when every single day i have been receiving such inknown debits.. From 5 rs to 200… I called the Axis bank call centre, no explanation for what the code stands for, but they will reverse it. One debit from my bank account has been reversed and credited to my loan account… I have no freaking clue why!!! And it is PAINFUL to 1.follow up, 2.explain to people who obviously have never looked at money or maths, 3. Get an explanation out of them which makes sense 4.realise that we are powerless in front of bank rules (apparently cluases are there which allows them to do all this!!) ! Last month, AXIS bank forcefully took all my money from the account coz my credit card payment was short by…. 3 rupees!!!! And there is nothing i can do about it!! Now i keep no money in axis!! I am just waiting to pay off the credit card balance before closing the account. I am glad there is a petition to bring banks to answer for their actions (i have signed it).. I just dont understand why something so important and simple is being left to the arbitrary mood swings of the bankers!!! I am angry and upset, i don’t want to have to check my accounts for such things.. To trace every 2 rs and remember every transaction i have made!!! Why can’t my bank account be mine!?? And my money be safe??

    • Thanks for signing the petition Ish!!! I hear you – these companies are being letting off the hook by the govt simply in the games they play, namely the follow ups and calling up the customer needs to do! I would suggest go to the bank armed with some of your aaccount statement and sit down with the branch manager to ask what are the rules on your bank account as these charges havent beein autjorised by you and you need to understand whats happening on it! Most of your probs will go away – also mention that you will register a public grievance against these deeds of the bank with the ministry of finance (there is a govt portal for it and I dont kknow how effective though a friend recommended. going to lodge my complaint there)
      Yes the banking clauses seem to be an oxymoron in themselves!!!

    • Yes the banks have had too much room for discrepancy and errors by our financial regulating bodies – its become such a pain to bank in India!!!