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Old 30th December 2005, 13:22   #1
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Exclamation ICICI - Blatant cheating of customers & the (In)justice that is passed of as the law

ICICI - Blatant cheating of customers & the (In)justice that is passed of as the law in India.

As you may have guessed by now from :http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/newthr...newthread&f=20, I had an accident about 2 months ago. A brief description of the accident:

I was travelling straight down Cadell road (which is a straight cemented road with no central divider) onmy way to drop my friend home. I had to come to a stop at the Siddhivinayak Temple junction as a group of bikes in front of me stopped in the middle of the road.

I proceeded straight towards Mahim accelerating normally when One signal ahead of the Siddhivinayak Temple junction, I see a taxi on the opposite side of the road take a sudden U-turn directly in front of me, straight across the double yellow central line and into my path. The cab was on the outer most lane on the opposite side of the road, near the pavement when he suddenly decided to swing around without any warning or any lights.

This left me almost no time to brake and although I did steer away from the oncoming taxi, the driver did not stop and continued with his turn. Had the driver stopped right there, I would have been able to swerve around him. But he kept on coming oblivious to my headlights and horn. The front of my car hit the taxi at its passenger side B pillar, spinning it against my drivers side door and up onto the pavement. The impact was caused the drivers and passenger side airbags to deploy, and damage to the bumper, fenders, radiator, condenser, etc. We never actually touched the airbags as the seatbelts held us in place. Another reminder to all to WEAR YOUR SEATBELTS!!

We immediately got out of our car and went to the aid of the driver and the passenger in the back seat. As mentioned in the other thread, I called Dippy and the rest of them turned up there in no time to help out. My friend who was with me in my car at the time, went with the taxi driver and the passenger to hospital. The driver suffered a minor cut on his head, and the passenger seemed to have a fractured ankle. We covered all charges at the hospital at the time as the driver and passenger did not have the means to meet the expenses immediately.

I remained at the accident scene till the Police van arrived. After explaining what happened as well as some witnesses giving their story, I went with the Police to station. Incidentally the police at the scene as well as the public agreed with us that the taxi was clearly at fault as he had taken an illegal U-turn.

On reaching the Police Station, the Inspector in Charge went off to the hospital and the accident site. He did not take any statement from me nor did he let me come with him to explain what happened at the accident.

About 4 hours later he comes back and starts writing something. Again, he refuses to talk to me or hear me out. The next thing I know is that I am being charged with negligent driving and causing injury to another person! He refuses to even take my statement although he does confirm that the taxi was taking an illegal U-turn. He explains that this is normal practice in accidents such as these so that the injured can claim third party insurance. When I asked why he was claiming it from me when he should have charged the taxi driver, he says that most of these cabs run without insurance, so the victim wouldn’t get anything!

So basically what he told me was that I was damned for following the law! And that I had absolutely no say in the matter till my case reached court. I am then supposed to follow the famous Indian Legal system which could go on for years!

The line I will always remember is him saying “it doesn’t matter whose fault it really is, if someone is hurt, it is always the other persons fault.”

Basically the Indian legal system, or atleast the one our Police follow, does not see things as equal. They first see the size of the car you drive. Then they see who can afford to give the most and only then do they decide to place charges against that person without giving them any chance to explain or defend their position.

I always had a bit of faith in our legal system and the cops. I always thought that if you did what was right, you would be treated fairly. However this incident should serve as a warning to all out there that this is just not the case in India. Justice here is NOT equal and it is NOT blind. Trust me when I say I am sick to my stomach of the whole system we have here. It’s been 2 months, but that sour taste in my mouth refuses to go away.

This will be handled in court again, and I refuse to roll over and give in. I have had enough!

Case 2. The Cheating by ICICI
Now if things could not get any worse, I am currently going through what can only be termed as the blatant cheating of a customer from one of India’s largest Companies – ICICI. The following is a timeline as to what happened and continues to happen.

12-11-05: Accident took place. Police report was made. Insurance company was notified and claim number received.

16-11-05: After checking the list of cashless garages on their company website, and verifying the same with your customer service representatives as well as the garage of choice – Autograph Skoda, official Skoda dealers, I towed the car to the workshop. All papers as desired by ICICI were handed over to the garage to produce to the Insurance agent at the time of the survey. The only reason I picked an authorised Skoda garage, even after knowing the ridiculous prices they have, was because ICICI told me they had a cashless facility for that garage.

16-11-05: I received a telephone call from Autograph Pvt. Ltd stating that the surveyor – Nikhil from ICICI had inspected the car and the estimate and had approved the same.

9-12-05: I am informed the car repairs are complete. I arrived at the garage and was personally present when another surveyor, Mr. Abhay Yadav, completed the post repair survey. He was given a copy of the final bill and informed me that he would have the working ready by

12-12-05, and that he would inform me of the amount I would have to pay as depreciation, deductible on plastic parts and salvage charges etc. At this point I also gave the telephone number of the Inspector at the police station that had written the accident report so that they could call and verify what I had told them.

15-12-05: I receive a call from Abhay stating that a copy of the FIR was required to be submitted in order to process my cashless claim. A fax sent by ICICI on 16-12-05 states that they require the copy of the FIR to process the claim. He also informs me at this point that the working has been completed and they are now only waiting for this last document.

19-12-05: After speaking to Mr. Abhay on the phone, I faxed a copy of the FIR to his office.

19-12-05: At 7:30pm, I get a call from Mr. Abhay stating that ICICI cannot process my cashless claim as a third party has been injured and a case has been filed. He instructed me that if I want my car I could pick it up after paying the full amount. I then spoke to Mr. Suresh Shetty, who stated, “the ICICI legal department had advised them not to pay the claim”. I asked for a written copy of the clause in the policy where it is stated that the claim for vehicle repairs cannot be paid unless the case is solved in court. I also spoke to my long time insurance agent from New India Assurance who confirmed that there is no such requirement and that ICICI is known to harass its customers on large claims.

I was put on the line with Mr. Kapil Madgar who stated that he was the Regional Manager. I asked him to provide me with the clause as mentioned above. However he rudely told me that he does not know and even though he was sitting in the office, he did not take the bother to atleast try and assist me. Till date, Mr. Abhay and Mr. Shetty were well mannered and helpful to the extent they could be, but I must say that the manner of speaking of Mr. Kapil leaves a lot to be desired! As it was obvious that I was not going to get an accurate answer on the phone, I have asked for a written statement by fax from the company showing me where this clause is mentioned. I was assured that it would be with me by 10am the next day. Nothing came.

Note the following information taken directly from the ICICI website (http://www.icicilombard.com/app/Claim/Motor_claim.asp) on the point of cashless claims.

Motor Claim Procedure
In case of motor insurance claim, you can avail cashless facility for the repair of your car in any of our cashless garage network. However, If the car is serviced in a garage outside the purview of our network, then you can claim reimbursement for the same.
In Case of an Accident
Note the number of the other vehicle involved in the accident, if any.
Jot down the names and contact details of witnesses, if any.
Contact our 24x7 call centre. Get your claim number / reference number. Call centre representative will provide you the details of documents required for claim processing and also details of our preferred garage, where cashless repair facility can be availed.
File an FIR at the nearest police station in case of property damage, bodily injury, theft and major damages.
After Registering the Claim
Our customer service manager will contact you within 24 hours of registering the claim.
Submit the copy of documents to the dealer / CSM and get verified with the originals.
Our CSM will get the estimate for the repairs of your vehicle and give spot approval after assessment.
After completion of repair at our preferred garage we will make payment of our share of the loss directly to the garage.
The insured to pay the excess mentioned in the policy and depreciation, salvage etc informed by the CSM.

All this information was faxed to ICICI.

On 20/12/2005, I receive the biggest shock of my life. I get an unsigned fax from ICICI stating that they will NOT HONOUR my insurance at all stating the limitation in the policy of “PACEMAKING”. No expalination was given as to what they mean by pacemaking, and my agent at New India told me that this is a motorsport activity and does not apply to my case at all.

All further attempts to get a proper reply from ICICI has fallen on deaf years, and a fax sent on the 20th to their MD – Mr. Sandeep Bakshi has not been replied too till date.

There is no-one at ICICI who is willing to take responsibility, all their written correspondence is unsigned, and there is no-one you can speak to who will give you a straight answer. This from a company who’s slogan is “Haam hai na!” I should take them to court for false advertising alone!

I have now approached the WIAA who are supporting me completely. This battle will now move to the Insurance Regulatory Board. From there I can move the Consumer Court if I am not happy with the verdict.

However this will now take time and I have no choice but to fund the entire repair costs myself. But, from all the legal opinions I have taken, I am in very good standing legally and I should win my case plus penalties and other expenses paid to me.

I am putting this topic up here now to WARN all other members (and the thousands of non-members who view this thread everyday) that ICICI are COMPLETE CHEATS AND DO NOT GIVE A DAMN ABOUT THEIR CUSTOMERS. They will try anything in their power to wriggle out of paying a large claim, which they are rightfully entitled to pay. This tactic is probably their company policy, hoping that finally the customer will give up and forget about it.

Well, this is not happening here with me and rest assured this case will be followed till its rightful conclusion. And hopefully it will serve as a lesson to ICICI and other insurance companies that the Customer is no longer just going to lie down and take the CRAP that is meshed out to them.

My Final note – DO NOT DEAL WITH ICICI, whether its their banking, insurance or loans. They will gladly take your money with a smile, but when it comes to actual customer service, they are the WORST I have ever had the displeasure of dealing with.

I will keep everyone updated with the things as they happen and I hope this serves as a guide to all those out there who are facing, or may end up facing, a similar situation.

UPDATE: 20th Jan 2006
Ok. It's finally over!

We hand delivered a final letter to the ICICI Head office in Mumbai. The letter basically stated that ICICI had no right doing what they were doing and it was nothing but a delaying tactic. We politely mentioned in the letter that they had exactly 8 days to revert before a legal notice is served hauling them to court.

The very next day I receive a call from their "legal Dept." telling me that they had reviewed my case and that they are now going to honour the claim and pay what they are supposed to. This is the same legal dept that first told me that they were repudiating my claim!

3 days later I receive the final cheque from ICICI Lombard for the complete settlement.

I have been trying to meet with the concerned people to, if nothing else, get an apology from them, but mysterisously they are always "in meetings" or out of town. The same people who had no issues being rude on the phone and basically telling me that "we'll see how you get your claim from us" are now too scared to sit face-to-face and talk.

I have been trying to get this published in some newspapers here, so that, if nothing else, otehr people would become aware of the business tactics of these private insurance companies.

I have been told clearly by people in the know, that this is a regular practice from private companies. You see, they have nothing to lose. Once they tell the customer that they are not honouring the claim, the customer can do either of the following:
1. Keep after them till they finally get so infuriated with the company that they just give up. this may be due to the lack of knowledge about their own rights as a customer or maybe just frustration of having to waste all that time.
Result for Ins. Company: they save a bundle as they don't pay the claim.

2. The customer sends the company a legal notice. the Ins Company then proceeds either to consumer court or the IRDA. Either way, it is atleast 6-8 months before a decision is made. That is 6-8 months longer that the company gets to hold on to the cash. Further, there is no garauntee about the outcome. If the customer wins, the Ins would end up paying what they owed anyways plus a bit more in penalties. However, if the customer loses, the Ins save a bundle again.
Result: Its a 50/50 gamble for the Ins company. Either way they hold onto the liquid for a longer period of time.

Luckily, in my case, they rolled over without having me having to take that last step. But in this day and age when you would think a consumer has some rights, it is a terrible jolt back to reality.

As someone somewhere once said: "Trust Nobody"

To conclude, I would like to emphasise that the decision from ICICI to reconsider my claim was the result of many things:-
- Firstly, this thread has reached places deep within ICICI. This is thanks to a lot of BHPians working in various companies and forwarding the link to their peers. Thanks guys, for the support and the help. It was this that pushed ICICI to put an end to my case.

- The WIAA, which was an immense help in this matter. It makes a difference when you have the backing of a large, respected body like the WIAA supporting your case.

Last edited by Rtech : 20th January 2006 at 14:20.
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Old 30th December 2005, 13:34   #2
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I thought the best after an accident was to run away from the scene and stop at the next police station only (to escape from the LOCALs).

but guess it wud be best to run away completely, as long as police officers like these are there in the country.

ICICI, i am speechless. i mean, what were they thinking?
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Old 30th December 2005, 13:34   #3
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Hey Robin,

Welcome back. I must say that this is a very well worded description of your experience and as you rightfully say and feel take them to court and sue their pants off. As offfered earlier let me know if you want to avail of the services of my advocate friend. Advice will be free. And if there is anything I can do do not hesitate to call

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Old 30th December 2005, 13:37   #4
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The Indian law leaves much to be desired, the judicial system even more.

ICICI are one of the worst banks we have ever dealt with too, sure they all have their issues, but ICICI is a class act on their own. Whether it's unexplained "premiums" popping up on your credit card statement, or leaving you guessing your status on any issue you have them to deal with. You will never speak to the same person again, even in a 15 minute interval. They have grown too big, enough to not care about their customers. On the other hand our experience with HDFC and ABN Amro has been much better.

Rtech, hit them where it hurts the most. We will try to make this as public as possible. It's ridiculous how they think they can deal with customers at their own whims and fancies.

And, I hate their advertisements too!

Last edited by ported_head : 30th December 2005 at 13:47.
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Old 30th December 2005, 13:49   #5
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Stay away from ICICI when it comes to insurance. The amount a senior citizen like me had to run around for a claim and the time taken to get the payment were just unbelievable. If you're looking at car insurance, always try getting it from the insurance ageny that is tied-up with your car service centre.

"Hum hai na?"... To trouble us or to help us, what are is that "Hum hai na" about?

Last edited by MotorMom : 30th December 2005 at 13:50.
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Old 30th December 2005, 13:53   #6
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First of all, I'm very sorry to hear about what happened to you.

Secondly, I feel you should have reported the incident and lodged an FIR with the writer at the police station. But its easy to talk after everything has happened...

Finally - I will NEvER EVER step into ICICI Bank nor allow their insurance agents near me.
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Old 30th December 2005, 14:03   #7
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Default make this public

Hey Rtech,

Its really unfortunate to know what happenend to you and your car. However, besides figthing your case in the courts, i would recommend making this whole experience public by writing to popular carmags like autocar, overdrive, newspapers, other sites like mouthshut.com, etc....i am sure you will get a lot more helping hands and suggestions to build your case stronger and strip the facade off ICICI.

BTW your surely hit the nail on the head when u said



ps: i am sure some of the bhpians have some contacts with carmags to give your case a greater visibility

Last edited by adityapd : 30th December 2005 at 14:07.
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Old 30th December 2005, 14:15   #8
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Reporting an incident and getting an FIR lodged in police station is not a simple task. I have been in that situation once. Once they put down a FIR, its now the responsibility of the police to solve that case. Hence they will never ever do that... they keep dragging things, till they feel that the solution is in sight. They just dont want to bend their back and do things... simple. Also they are not paid enough to have even that level of motivation.

Sorry to hear what you have gone thru.
You know what, if you had connection in right place, things would have been bloddy simple. One of my friend knocked down drunken fellow crossing a highway in middle of night. It was an accident, that guy was dead and its of not my friends fault. Huge village crowd gathered. The Subinspector was cocky... and then all my friend did was to call up some one in the DGP office. Thats it, he walked out of the station next min. And thats the state of our country... currently.
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Old 30th December 2005, 14:18   #9
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This link goes to my company newsgroup!
Man this is outrageous! I had heard about companies like Tata AIG giving junta a tough time when claiming big amounts but voiding the insurance itself is taking things to a totally different level. I never liked ICICI and now will make sure that none of my friends and acquaintances ever go for ICICI products. SHAME ON YOU ICICI!
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Old 30th December 2005, 14:19   #10
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I am really sorry to hear about your experiences, at the accident site, at the police station and finally with ICICI. What ICICI is doing is nothing but cheating. I will run away for dear life from ICICI and shall discourage anyone else who wants to do any form of business with them. I am sure you are now proceeding in the right direction. Kudos to you for taking up this issue and I hope you will win against ICICI.
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Old 30th December 2005, 14:21   #11
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Originally Posted by Rtech
My Final note DO NOT DEAL WITH ICICI, whether its their banking, insurance or loans. They will gladly take your money with a smile, but when it comes to actual customer service, they are the WORST I have ever had the displeasure of dealing with.
This is very sad Rtech and disgusting the way, so called most professional banks in India behaves.
Your above statement about ICIC is very true and your bad experience just proved my decision of NOT to go with ICICI for home loan is very correct .
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Old 30th December 2005, 14:27   #12
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This comes as a major shock to me. I have my savings with ICICI, a housing loan and I have applied for their bank shares. It sure is giving me the jithers.
Plan to slowly move out of ICICI. I am not saying this just due to this one incident.
They are becoming too aggressive against their customers and growingly untrustworthy day by day. Citibank was far better.

And Rtech, our judicial system is suited more towards the politicians, bureaucrats and their goons, plus the people ready to shell out bribes. I know because I have dealt with it too. Judges accept bribes to give a favorable judgment even though the case is bulletproof. So expect anything.

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Old 30th December 2005, 14:30   #13
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Thats a horrific experience you are passing through, Rtech. And yes, ICICI sucks.
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Old 30th December 2005, 14:30   #14
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Hi RT, sorry to hear about what happened. I just forwarded this link to a few of my friends who work with ICICI (loans and personal insurance). Thought these guys should know what the world thinks about them.

And please do not stop fighting until you put them in a place they rightly deserve.

PS: Mods, please delete the above post. Sorry

Last edited by Joz : 30th December 2005 at 14:35.
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Old 30th December 2005, 14:32   #15
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I think we have an ICICI Bank manager on the forum, too. He's one of those Rahuls (we have SO MANY of them!)
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