An interesting encounter with Citibank Telemarketer

It was an interesting encounter with a Citibank Telemarketer.  As I was returning home from Corporation Bank on 8th January 2007, since I had bruises following a light accident at Tambaram, as I walking towards the Poondi Bazaar bus stop to catch a bus to Camp Road doctor and then to home, I got a telephone call from the number (+91 44 42172228). Over to the conversation.

The conversation, in partial Tamil and English, has been given in English for readers’ comprehension. The Colloqial language has been as far as possible given expression, subject to the thought and content restriction stipulations of  Views and Reviews.


8th January 2007 1130 hours:(Tring Tring Tring Tring)Deepak: Hello

TM (Telemarketer): This is Devi calling on behalf of Citibank.

Deepak: Yes. Tell me.

TM: I was given your telephone number as a reference from your friend (Redhy Issac), who is working with you.

Deepak: Fine. Tell me. How can I help you?

TM: I am calling you regarding Personal Loan at a very attractive interest rate.

Deepak: Sorry. I am not interested. And Citibank Online has added me to thier Do Not Call list long time back, as part of one of the then TM disturbances report, which I would like to remind you for your kind consideration.

TM: Ok. No problem. I am building a reference. Can I just have your address alone?

Deepak: Why? I am not interested na?

TM: No need to take a personal loan This is purely for reference only. Can I have your address?

Deepak: This sounds silly. When I don’t need a personal loan and I am not interested in loan offers from a banking institution, having a reference added to that financial institution does not sound logical. Isn’t it?

TM: No sir. I need to build some references. I just need your addresses.

[Conversational Commentary: This is what in Tamil we call as 'Parrot Talk'. Whatever we say, a trained parrot does not understand. It keeps saying what it has beent trained by its master. In Tamil, we call it as கிளி பேச்சு]

Deepak: I don’t find any logical reasoning why should this reference process come into the picture when there is no interest and when the customer has specifically opted for Do Not Call.

TM: [Banged the Phone Down with a deafening voice]


8th January 2007 1630 hours:I sent an email to indiaservice (at) citicorp.com and reported this Do Not Call Registry Violation. An abstract (partial quote) of the mail is:I would like to bring to your attention a call from your sales team. She introduced herself as recommended by my friend but inspite of refusing the offer of personal loan, she wanted my residentail address. On persistent refusal she is banging the phone.


8th January 2007 1722 hours:Dear Customer,This is an automated acknowledgement.

We have received your Query. Your Query Reference # is 4424134

Warm Regards  

Manager Customer Care


13 January 2007 1543 hours:An abstract (Partial Quote) of the email saysWe are concerned to note the dissatisfaction expressed in your mail, with regard to the call received from one of our executives.

We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to you in this regard.

We confirm having shared your feedback to the concerned department and assure that such instances does not recur.

Further, we are unable to investigate your query as we are unable to find your account number.   

We suggest our customers not to disclose their account number via mail due to security purposes.  Please provide us the following details:

1) Name as mentioned in the application form

2) Date of Birth

3) Postal Mailing address as mentioned in the application form

4) Location of your account


14th January 2007 0820 hours: (Reply from Deepak)(Partial Quote of the Email)You don’t need an account number to investigate into this. It is a general professional etiquette of a telemarketer to introduce a diplomatic way, verify the comfortability beforing striking a deal. If the customer refuses offer, the TM should regret calling.


19th January 2007:There were about six calls to my friend (Redhy Issac) from the same above number.  Redhy was telling me that the telemarketer almost was narrating about the report and above conversation to him. She was asking her friend also to talk to him. When he got frustrated with her and asked her to call me directly, she was refusing the same but insistent on him requesting me to write again to Citibank purportedly for withdrawing the complaint.Over the calls he could feel that there traces of her supervisor and some called RM asking her to call him. My guess is that RM should be something like Regional Manager but when he asked her about what is RM, she has’nt responded properly to that query.

Now comes the unanswered questions:

  1. Why does Citibank executives call a different customer to talk to a different customer?
    1. What is the motive or rationale behind the ploy of having a messenger service?
    2. How does Citibank India ensures Privacy of Customers with type of executives in thier realm?
    3. Why hasn’t the telemarketing executive or RM contacted the reporter directly and chosen an intermediate messenger?
  2. Why has been a delay of more than one week for a simple DNC registry violation from the time of incidence reporting to the reply, with all sorts of automation procedures in place?
  3. With the type of mean and base attitude the executives are nurturing, how effective are the following with Citbank India against the following scams?
    1. Executives forcing one customer from whom a reference to another has been obtained to resort to forgery or phishing request on behalf of another for monetary and other shady gains?
    2. With the type of conversations on 19th the Telemarketing had with Redhy, we inferred that there might have  been pressures from her higher ups on her to withdraw the complaint. How does Citibank trying to accomodate such persons in view of addressing issue 3.1 above.

I have again written to indiaservice (at) citicorp.com. Let me keep posted over the responses recieved.

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