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Oh RBI! Put loan genies back into the bottle

?GOOD MORNING, Sir! I am calling from XYZ Bank. We offer personal loans with impressive repayment schemes ?!? ?Not again!? You will groan and bang your mobile on the tea table. It rings again and the female caller says, ?Sir, don?t be angry! Just spare some time and listen to me? We have a brilliant insurance product just launched which can save you more income tax. Are you be interested?? ?GOD SAVE ME!? you will cry and won?t pick up the phone when it rings again.
By SANTOSH Chowdhury | None
PUBLISHED ON JAN 31, 2006 12:56 AM IST

“GOOD MORNING, Sir! I am calling from XYZ Bank. We offer personal loans with impressive repayment schemes …!”

“Not again!” You will groan and bang your mobile on the tea table. It rings again and the female caller says, “Sir, don’t be angry! Just spare some time and listen to me? We have a brilliant insurance product just launched which can save you more income tax. Are you be interested?”

“GOD SAVE ME!” you will cry and won’t pick up the phone when it rings again.

Switch off  your mobile or you will get the same call 15 times a day!

Despite a Supreme Court order asking all banks and other financial institutions not to harass customers with phone calls or sending SMSs to avail personal loans or buy a credit card, Lucknowites have no respite from a volley of calls.

Mohan Balani, a senior corporate executive, had been the victim of unsolicited calls for past three years. “In New Delhi, a call from an agent or a bank employee could be expected every half-an-hour till you throw all courtesies out of the window and hurl the choicest abuses at the caller,” he said.

“I thought Lucknow would provide me some respite. But, it’s no different. Only the frequency of calls is lower here.”

He commented: “Many of my friends tell me that one can lodge a complaint with the RBI about these banks hiring tele-caller who harass unsuspecting customers despite maintaining “no-call” list of customers. But how does one get to know which officer handles public complaints at the RBI’s Lucknow Office? 

Do you have the name of the person or the phone number of a public relations officer at RBI in Lucknow? The RBI has never advertised where to complain about these tele-callers selling personal loans and credit cards”, Balani asked.

While people still wonder from where the telecallers are able to procure so many mobile phone numbers, the fact remains that all these numbers are suspected to be getting stolen from call centre databases by executives regularly for sale to marketers of credit cards, personal loans and insurance products in the city.

While cellular companies deny that  mobile phone numbers of subscribers could ever get stolen from call centres, certain executives of a private insurance company told HT Live that they are regularly pressurized by their bosses to procure list of new mobile numbers from their contacts in call centres in the city every month to call a new set of unsuspecting customers. The other way of collecting hundreds of mobile phone numbers devised by many banks is from the application forms customers fill up for opening a savings account or applying for loans in private banks. These phone numbers are then offered to executives for making calls to sell other products of the bank.

“Private banks happen to be too aggressive.You won’t see customers being harassed by the staff of public sector banks,” P  Bhashyam, President, Indian Banks Association (IBA), Lucknow, told HT Live.

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