Thursday, 12 August 2010

The State Bank of Idiots!!

I recently had the misfortune to gift away my wallet to a perfect stranger. Having 3 different bank accounts made it all the more fun. I'm listing below my experiences with all the banks involved in blocking the cards, applying for new ones and finally reactivating them.

* Call up their call center
- Promptly attended by a very polite and courteous agent
- Very professionally dealt with the problem
- Card blocked
* Card reissued (earlier than the proposed date, with extra charges)
- Pin issued (earlier than the said date, with no extra charges)
* Call up their call center
- Card activated

* Call up their call center - Prompty attended by a very polite and curteous agent
- Card blocked* Card reissued (later than the proposed date, with extra charges) - Pin issued (later than the said date, with extra charges)* Call up their call center for reactivation - Advised to visit the nearest branch again for reactivation
* Visit the branch
- Promptly attended
- Card reactivated

State Bank of India
I look up on the net for their call center number, two different numbers turn up! One is a toll free and another is a land line number, needless to say, both the numbers were not attended to when called. I get frustrated and go to the nearest branch only to find it deserted. It was apparently lunch time and all the staff had decided to have lunch together and then sit in a corner to yap about their wives/husbands.
After an agonizing wait in a deserted branch with no customers some guy decided to return to his seat. I approach him and tell him the issue, he listens and after much deliberation tell me to call their call center. I prompty tell him that i did but nobody answered, he smiles and says 'lunch time boss!' He dials the toll free number from his desk and hands over the receiver to me. The IVR asks me to press 2 for English, i look up to ask the guy to press the number for me and he is gone! Im stading over a counter with just a receiver expecting somebody to press a number on frikkin phone a good 5 feet away. I hang up and wait, the guy comes back. I ask him to hand over the phone so that i can do the sync without me shouting orders at him to press numbers.

After the usual ritual of pressing a series of numbers, a very sweet girl answers the phone. The conversation goes like this:

Girl: Hello, Sheetal speaking. Welcome to SBI, how can i help you?
(without any goddam emotion, am i calling up an escort service for Christ’s sake!)
Me: Hai, my name is Abhishek, i've lost my card can you block it please?
Girl: Give me your accnt number. (idiot!)
Me: xxxxxxxxxx
Girl: Where are you calling from? (dumbass)
Me: Chennai
Girl: Which branch? (do I have to ask you all the frikking questions myself?)
Me: T.Nagar
Girl: Is T.Nagar in Chennai?
(i realize she is sitting up in Delhi or Mumbai)
Me: Yes
Girl (after much thought): What does T stand for?
Me: Thyagaraya
Girl: Spell it for me
Me: T*H*Y*A*G*A*R*A*Y*A
Girl: Im sorry, i dont have anything like that on my system, can you spell it again?
Me: I try again
Girl: Sorry sir, i can block your card only if you give me a correct spelling
Me (dumbfolded): How does a spelling for T categorize as a security setting!! Ask me a personal question on the account for you to confirm. (Only now I realize that the girl is actually asking me a Security question)
Girl: Ok, Give me the bank code for ‘T’ Nagar?
Me: How would I know that?
Girl: Ask the bank guy. (dumbo)
Me: (totally confused) But u said it was a security question?
Girl: (agitatedly) Sir, can you please give me the bank code?
I ask the bank guy for the code of T nagar branch and he promptly hands over a sheet to me with all the branches of SBI in India. I filter through 100’s of branches of SBI to locate T nagar branch which is invariably listed as Panagal park branch when all the while I was search on branches starting with ‘T’. After much deliberation I manage to find the branch code and tell it to the girl.
Girl: Your card is blocked now. I’ll give u a 13 digit number using which you can reapply for your Debit/Credit cards.
Me: Thank you

Armed with the 13 digit number I visit the T Nagar branch of SBI for reapplying my cards. Invariable i go on a lunch time and wait for the pan chewing ‘almost retired’ uncle to help me reapply. He advises me to fill up an application form situated somewhere between the printers. By the time I find the form and return to his desk, the uncle is gone! I duly fill up the form and wait for another agonizing 15 mins when a ‘I am still young’ maami asks me to leave the form on the table and that she will inform the guy. I thank her and leave.

[2 months later]
I have no clue about my card status……. The wait continues!