ECS Story with ICICI Prulife
A few years ago I bought some insurance policies from ICICI Prulife, one of the new age insurance companies. Now I like to make my insurance premiums online using my credit card, to make some points on my credit card that I use sometime, though mostly they go wast as I am not very smart in keeping a track of the same.
A few days after buying policies I started getting calls from ICICI Prulife to set up ECS for the policies so that money will be debited online from my credit card monthly for the premium payment and I need not worry about remembering the same every month. So on great persuasion of ICICI pruflife tele caller and their website and SMS pestering by them, I finally set up standing instructions to deduct my monthly insurance payment from the credit card every month.
It was convenient to sign up for the service, a few click, fill my credit card details like
Date of expiry
CVV number and we were done, though I had to repeat the process for each policy manually. But I was able to finish setting up instructions for the policy in 10 minutes for all the 4 policies, and life was good for next 12 months. Then something happened, something that happens every 3 years at same time every year. My credit card expired and the credit card company sent me a fresh card with new number and new CVV etc. Now this is when the nightmare started.
Logically when my credit card expires that is in the system of ICICI Prulife, they should discard the card automatically,but no all the pro-activeness of ICICI Prulife was only at the time or receiving money. I started getting SMSes that my payment has been declined by bank. So I went to ICICI prulife to change my credit card details to the new one. But it won't let me do that, for some reason the new card would not work on ICICI site, while it continued to work on other sites. There was no option to cancel the credit card on ICICI Prulife websit to cancel the credit card ECS standing instructions.
So I looked for the call center number, which clearly mentioned that charges apply to call this number. So I called this number and listened to music for about 4 minutes ( A very costly music I must say), then after punching what looked like a hundred authentication means a girl came on phone.
For 5 minutes she did not understood the problem, and then on clearly mentioning that my card has expired and I need to change it manually as system is not allowing me to do it , she wanted me to visit an ICICI branch to give an application to cancel the ECS. I was not happywith this, so she said why don't you fax or send a scanned copy of my credit card to ICICI prulife and it will take 15 days to process it. I was still not happy with this, so finally she negotiated that I should send an email to email@example.com with the credit card and policy details to cancel the instructions for the expired card.
Now I was not very happy with it, when ICICI prulife needs money from my credit card I can set up the insttuctions in 2 minutes,but when I want to cancel it they want me to visit a branch or send an email with scanned and signed copy of my credit card.
I think this is nothing but delaying tactic so that ICICI continues to get payment on time and a policy does not lapses. What I failed to understand was if it takes 3 steps to set up payment instructions why it takes a visit to a branch to cancel the payment and that to on an expired card? The poor girl had no answer and fumbled to reply.
I asked for the email ID that an elite customer like me can send my complain ( ICICI has given me Elite status I did not asked for it), she had no idea about the same, I had to remind her to check her manual and see if there is an email Id for elite customers, and boom an email emerged and was shared with me.
So I have sent an email to the Elite customer exclusive email box and let us see what they say. I have sent the details of my policies for which I want to cancel the standing instructions for payment from my credit card. Let us see how things move. Will keep you posted. In the meantime I am making manual payments to my insurance policies, to ensure that my life cover does not lapses.
What is your experience with an ECS instruction that has expired and what steps you took to restore it. Are you in favor of ECS or against it. Why? Please leave your inputs in comments below. Thanks