Warning – long post, rant.
Two occasions recently when customer service let me down. Both companies to which I have been loyal for a number of years.
ICICI Bank –
A cancelled transaction cost me Rs. 5000 in credit card charges. Yes, no typo. The merchant (international) refunded in full, but apparently ICICI has a markup of more than 3% on every international transaction. Added to that were exchange rate fees. I would still be ok if the sale went ahead, but 10% of transaction value as fees, and that too for a cancelled transaction? I must be naive, but this just does not make sense to me.
I have been with ICICI since my first job, I use it not just for every banking needs but also demat. I am ok paying the premium they charge on most of their services too. Mostly because I like not having to go the bank for every little thing. But this is just not ok. Rs. 5000 may not be much in the overall scheme of things, but as a bootstrapper, it does make a significant dent in my pocket.
The customer care could have tried to help too, they could have seen my history and taken that into account. But hey, who cares about that?
ACT Telecom –
I have used Beam telecom in Hyderabad since 2009 and loved their service. So when I moved to Bangalore, I did not even check on the ISPs here – I called ACT – the company which owns Beam (or something like that). Unlike in Hyderabad, the internet wouldn’t work here when the power went off. I thought this might be the way it is here, until I asked the customer care one day. Apparently, it was a local problem and so I raised a request to get power backup at their router. Guess what happened? Nothing. The request was closed but the problem wasn’t solved. I followed up, not once or twice, but eight times before the company fixed the problem.
That, just before I moved to a new place about a KM away. Another request raised, and the wait began. 15 was the number of days they estimated for moving the connection – I was promised this was the maximum possible time and usually it got done earlier. Guess what happened again? Nothing. That’s right, one call from the company to confirm my new address and then radio silence. I called the customer care 7 or 8 times and got the same reply every time – someone will call back and look into my request. When finally my patience ran out, I demanded to speak to the manager and then was told that I had to submit a proof of address for the process to be started. Really? After so many calls someone remembered their own process? I could have literally crawled the distance from my old house to the new one and probably even laid a new cable in the time these guys took. I finally got my connection moved after a full 12 days. And of course the customer ‘care’ doesn’t care again. Since it took them less time than their SLA, they will take my ‘feedback’ and that’s about it. That is so helpful, who is going to pay for the mobile internet I had to buy inspite of paying ACT for broadband? And more importantly, what about all the hassle I had to go through? And how do they counter you – by mentioning 15 days as SLA. Good job, you’re surely aiming high.
I promise to move away from ICICI as soon as possible and definitely will recommend you to stay away from ACT.
It is amazing how big these companies are and how they fail at even these little things. And loyalty of course, does not count at all.
If you know anyone at these companies, please tag them and let them know. Hopefully, they will try not to repeat these with some other hapless soul. ICICI Bank ACT Broadband

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