Wednesday, January 16, 2002

I am paying a whopping 13.9 per cent interest on my HDFC housing loan. A few days ago, I decided that it was too much. I read about ICICI's offering of 11.5 per cent interest (with monthly rests) and decided to have my loan refinanced.
That was easier thought than done. I made six calls to the ICICI call centre. Each time I was promised a time-frame -- ranging from two days to two hours -- within which its representative would get in touch with me. The representative never materialised. The seventh time I called, they gave me the number of one of their sales agents. I called there. It was engaged for a good part of a day. I finally got through. And again I was promised a visit by a representative. No luck. I logged on to the ICICI site. For one, it doesn't have a feedback form. All it had was a query form. I wrote up a complaint on that. Three days later I got an email from a ICICI executive requesting my contact number (I had already furnished that in my complaint). I promptly sent him my numbers. Silence. Suddenly, out of the blue, three weeks on, I got a call from the sales agency. The lady who called didn't have a clue about the loan procedure. She referred every question I asked to someone who knew before getting back to me. By now, I was thoroughly put off by ICICI.
I called up HDFC. I told them my problem. They said come down any day. It will take 15 minutes to switch to a floating interest loan of 11.5 per cent (annual rests). The difference over a 15 year term works out to around Rs 20,000 more expensive than ICICI. But I don't mind. Because, one I save on the two per cent (Rs 9000) pre-payment penalty if I were to switch to ICICI. And, two, I would be doing business with a professional outfit that understands customer service.

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