How to torture clients to leave your services— learning from Kotak

We decided to use Kotak for our current account at NavGurukul. A seemingly mundane task would result us unending loss of time, accompanied with loss of precious donors’ money due to Kotak’s absence of service, and absolute denial of their failures.

Horror Story 1: Relationship Manager with no understanding of current accounts

Our account was opened four months ago, by a Kotak representative (Dheeraj Choudhary) along with our to-be relationship manager (Amit). They took almost triple the time to get our account opened than what they promised us, which itself should have been a red alarm. Once the account was opened, our horror story actually started.

We came to know that we had no net-banking, or a debit card (which we explicitly requested for both of the Directors). Instead of an account which can be operated by either of the directors our account needed to be jointly operated. We reached out to our relationship manager, Ravi Gupta. He told us and I quote - "You can't have a debit card with your current account". He repeated the same chorus for singly authorised operations. For net-banking, he clearly couldn't say that and told us that he is looking into it.

I had ran companies in the past. First one had an account with ICICI, and second with Kotak. We as the directors had debit cards in both the companies. So, naturally I confronted Ravi that he was wrongly equipped with the information. He didn't know, and wasn't willing to admit that he was wrong. Clearly, the same story for singly authorised operations. Nothing worked with his rigid mind not willing to accept his mistake - neither the reasons, nor the experience. I was amazed how can a person with his knowledge and temper can be a relationship manager. We talked to Customer Service - no replies on email. On Phone - they will guide us by telling us to visit to the branch for anything that we ask for with a plethora of documentation that they themselves weren't clear about. We requested Kotak several times to change our relationship manager, as he would just simply shout on phone when confronted with the issues, no replies again.

Horror Story 2: Illogical rules and freezing of our current account at whim

Two days back, our account was frozen. Because the initial cheque that we gave for opening the account bounced. Our account always had more money the minimum average balance, so the problem is not about having a lack of funds. Problem is getting the first cheque bounced, which would have costed Dheeraj (who opened our bank account) his commission.

When our account has proper balance, proper documentation, how can they freeze our account on the pretext of our first cheque from the director bouncing. It doesn't matter in a company limited by guarantee, that the director invests their money. Why is Kotak forcing us to deposit money from our personal accounts? Worse, they have frozen our accounts for not adding more money to an account working well under all the rules and regulations. Or just simply tell us where is this rule written or what’s the logic of the same.

Horror Story 3: Branch Manager came up with rules on the fly causing serious loss of time and money

It doesn't end here. We raised about 4000$ from Indian Citizens living in United States for NavGurukul. The transfer was initiated to Kotak, which returned the same costing us a 115$ fine. On inquiry with the branch manager (Vineet Chauhan), we were told that they needed the passport numbers as per the law to ascertain whether the donors were truly Indian. We went through the painful procedure of getting passport numbers of each and every donor of ours, which took us about 21 days. We initiated the transfer again in hope of getting things fixed.

Now, Vineet suggested that he needs the passport copies instead. We were skeptic of being able to do it in 5-6 days, yet we really bothered our donors to get their passport copies, and mailed them to Vineet.

Now, Vineet wants MHA approval for the transfer. Out of the blue, he needs the MHA approval. Naturally, it can't be arranged. Secondly, it isn't even needed as per the law. Our request was simple - Can you point us to any documentation either on Government's website or that on Kotak's website which suggests what you are saying is the right thing to do? We have already suffered many times on account of misinformation. Yet like a telecaller, he kept on repeating the same information without any corresponding trustworthy link.

Not hard to guess, the amount was returned without any consultation. We again suffered a loss of 230$ and a huge loss of time due to him being mis-informed. To put things in perspective, we have already lost 6% of the transaction value due to Mr. Vineet's confidence to make rules on the fly, and not even feeling it necessary to give us a reason on why that's happening. Worse, we do not know how the money can be brought back to NavGurukul.

Conclusion

Kotak has no regard to its client satisfaction, and is riding on its arrogance. The arrogance isn’t just the trademark of Kotak, but seems that Kotak has truly pioneered the art. I can code more empathetic and better informed systems, than real mis-informed humans employed by Kotak. Kotak’s technology use is a big nightmare. Half of their emails to their teams bounce as their inboxes are full. We are not only going to discontinue NavGurukul’s account at Kotak, but I will also close my personal and securities account. Please share this with as many friends as you can, and probably then Kotak can at least see what they are upto, and issue an apology to NavGurukul and its donors.

Lead a for-purpose startup — NavGurukul.org! Mail me at a@navgurukul.org :-)