Tuesday, February 21, 2012

DBS's 'slow and disorderly' way in handling Thazin's HDB loan application

It is their first time applying for a housing loan but from the way Thazin describes it, it must have been a thoroughly frustrating experience dealing with some of the DBS loan officers at its Toa Payoh branch.

Her regret was that she had not checked the Web before making the application. She told me in her email: "A quick search on the web has made me realised that I am just one of the many who are disappointed by DBS's service standards."

It all started when she and her husband went to the branch last month to get a loan for a HDB apartment.

"To our disappointment, the process has been slow and disorderly," she said.

"First of all, our case was handled by several different people due to understandable reasons (they were on leave because of the Chinese New Year).

"However, the way the case was handed over from one DBS person to another has resulted in much trouble for my husband and I.

"For instance, we were only informed through email about our next contact at DBS but the email addresses were wrong.

"We were given contact numbers but no one answered our calls. We were given vague reasons on why our loan cannot be processed and were asked for answers/documents without stating exactly what kind of answers/documents were needed.

"Soon, we were tired of been pushed around from one officer to another, having to explain our case from scratch again and again.

"At one point, we went down to the branch and requested to take our documents back and change to another bank.

"But the officer we met that day told us specifically that his manager will take over our case entirely and that we would not have to deal with the original officer.

"However, to our disgust, it was just a one-off show. Soon after our loan was approved, paperwork settled and when we thought the worst was over, the original officer contacted us again and told us of more outstanding issues, more papers to sign and request to us to go down to the branch repeatedly.

"These requests were done through one-liner emails and phone calls where the person over the phone speaks hastily without bothering to give proper explanation or even introduction.

"Since it is our first home and first time applying for a HDB loan with DBS, we would have enjoyed the process if the persons in charge were friendlier and more meticulous when handling the case.

"I regret that I did not do a thorough research about DBS service standard before going ahead with accepting their loan.

"I hope that my post would help other couples think twice about the bank they choose to get their HDB loan from. A pleasent experience with the bank goes a long way for a young couple embarking on their life journey together."

As I am writing this, Thazin sent me another email, saying: "Another incident with DBS today has made me very angry again.

"As I have explained earlier, DBS says that there are still documents left to sign.

"Hence, they sent a courier to my office yesterday to pass the documents back to me. The courier was a stern-faced man who told me coldly to pass the documents back to him once I signed it. Of couse, I signed it on the spot.

"There were some check boxes to tick on the page, but I did not tick them because I could not understand what each of them means.

"There was also no one to explain to me as the stern-faced courier man did not know about the documents."

She decided to make arrangements for her husband to go down to the bank today to find out and understand what the check boxes were about before ticking them on her behalf.

"But when my husband arrived at the bank as they had scheduled, the person in charge, called Annie, did not have the documents ready," Thazin said.

"Annie immediately accused me of holding on to the documents and my husband called me frantically to make sure that I had passed them back to the courier. "

Her last sentence was: "My husband is still at the bank waiting for the documents."

I could almost hear her sigh!

Monday, February 6, 2012

LTA waives penalty for my 'late' road tax renewal

Exactly a week after I complained about having to pay a $40 penalty for 'late' renewal of my car's road tax (see January 30 post below), I received good news yesterday from the Land Transport Authority.

The LTA said it had considered my appeal and would waive the late renewal fee.

I am glad the LTA had considered my email to Reach, the government's feedback unit, as an appeal when my purpose was really to point out the injustice of having to pay a penalty.

I had forgotten to renew the road tax because of a family emergency. An alert was sent to me by MyeCitizen, a service provided by the government, a day after its expiry.

When I made my renewal minutes after receiving the alert, I was surprised to discover that I had to pay the $40 penalty. I disagreed with this because I had not even driven my car out of my porch.

In its email to me, the LTA says the rule is that it is an offence for anyone to KEEP, use or allow the use of a vehicle without a valid road tax.

If that is the case, I wonder whether all the car companies are paying road tax for those unregistered cars in their showrooms.

I hope the LTA would consider imposing the penalty two days after the expiry to give a chance for motorists who have been alerted by MyeCitizen to pay up without being penalised.

Otherwise, MyeCitizen should be sending out its alerts a day earlier -- on the expiry date itself.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

United Airlines faces the music for its poor customer service

I thought my blog is a novel and effective way to get companies, retailers, institutions and others who are lagging behind in service standards to buck up...until I saw this video by musician Dave Carroll on YouTube.

Apparently, in 2009, he had trouble with United Airlines whose baggage handlers damaged his $3500 custom guitar, and he spent more than nine months trying to get the airline to pay for damages but to no avail.

In his last exchange with its customer relations manager, Carroll said he was left with no choice but to create a music video for YouTube to expose the airline's lack of cooperation.

The manager response? "Good luck with that one, pal."

Carroll shot and put up his video, United Breaks Guitars, on YouTube.

After more than 11 million visitors had viewed the video, United contacted him to try and settle in exchange for pulling the video.

Carroll's response? "Good luck with that one, pal."

When Taylor Guitars saw the video, its management sent Carroll two new custom guitars in appreciation for the publicity of its product. It has led to a sharp increase in orders.

Moral of the story: There are many ways to get back at those people who think they can dish out poor customer service and get away with it.

Enjoy the video: