ICICI Prudential Scam – My Experience

I don’t want to convert this blog into a rant blog (I don’t like this, I hate that) but I feels this is important and I should write about it. I am also hoping that this blog post will rank for ICICI Prudential scam and get some visibility through search engines as well as in social media as more people need to get aware about the modus operandi of the insurance agencies affiliates to banks and how they are sucking innocent people for their commission.

Background – Back in 2009, I was looking to invest some money in mutual funds, I have savings account in ICICI so I went to the branch and talked to them as I have limited knowledge about investing. After some discussion, the ICICI representative sold me ICICI prudential policy saying this is like mutual fund with tax saving. I was very clear to the bank agent that I am not looking for ULIPs and do not want any locking period and hence want to go for mutual funds. Since I needed the tax saving too so I went ahead and purchased it. Just after this, I had to leave the city and I came back after 1.5 month and saw the papers sent to me by ICICI.

What ICICI prudential didn’t disclosed at the time of purchase was the 3 year locking period, the policy NOT being anything remotely close to mutual funds and after 3 year, you still have to keep on continue the policy for next 22 years! if I terminate the policy after 3 years, I will get 92% of the total amount. When I checked the value of my investment in november 2012, the “fund” has performed very badly and it is giving negative return (in 3 years, the value has become less than the original value). I am least concerned about the negative return, what angers me is the way ICICI prudential sold the ULIP policy by conveniently hiding some of the most important terms and selling it in the name of Mutual funds.

What Actions I took so Jan 2010, when I saw the exact terms, I immediately talked to ICICI, after so many emails and phone calls of explaining, I was told that they allow you to cancel the policy in first 30 days (I wasn’t there and didn’t got the papers). I told them that my concern is how ICICI prudential hide the facts and sold me the policy and not what is mentioned in the policy “booklet”. I was told that they won’t do anything.

Since ICICI prudential had pretty much told me to shove if off, I wrote my complaint to RBI through their site about how ICICI prudential agents are selling life insurance policies by hiding the major terms and conditions and sucking people in. Again, this started barrage of emails and phone calls, though this did started a formal inquiry. I got a call from ICICI regional manager, they apologized and said the agent will lose his job if I don’t take my complaint back. I do all my banking through ICICI and is satisfied with the bank and certainly don’t want anyone to lose their job so I took my complaint back in the hope that I will be done with this in 2012.

November 2012 so here comes November 2012, I thought finally I am done with this after 3 years and when I tried to cancel my policy, it turns out that I will be getting 92% of the total fund (which is already less then the original value because of poor performance of the “market”). This is something which was never told to me so I again called ICICI prudential support and send them emails, again had to spend hours explaining the matter to clueless agents and eventually nothing happened. I think they just closed the matter without even informing me. I am still getting calls from ICICI prudential to pay the premium and the moment I tell them that what is going on, they hangs the phone!

I think it is a dead issue, I have already spent lot of time on this and I feels my time is way too valuable to keep on sending mails to ICICI and to talk to them, I have learnt my lesson to never trust Indian banks as far as investment decisions are concerned. I am just wondering, if an educated guy like me got sucked into this, what is happening with the 40 something uncle/aunties who have very limited knowledge about how ULIP policies and mutual funds work.

I hope more people in India understand that, you can not trust your banks (nationalized or private once like ICICI, HDFC, Axis) as far as investing money in mutual funds, ULIP or any such policies are concerned as there is serious conflict of interest here. The bank agents get commission on every sale they make and have sales target which also push them to sell the policies at any cost. DO NOT get sucked into this, ask your friends or people who know a thing or two about investment and follow their advice.

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  • Ankurs345

    Hi Pushkar, I have had the same kind of experience with ICICI. I had done exactly the same. Later I was informed that the sales rep who sold me the policy had already been terminated. When I asked about my money, they started running around the bushes. My policy 3 years have been completed in Feb’13 and they are giving me 85% of the total fund value and the total fund value is already less than what I have paid to them.

    Feeling like nothing can be done and I have to wait for 2 more years to get 100% of fund value and again fund value would be less than my investment. 

    If you are able to get any resolution, do email me at ankurs345@gmail:twitter.com

    Regards,
    Ankur Seth

  • Rama

    Exact thing happened with me with ICICI. This bank sucks big time. Nothing short of cheating. I closed my accounts with ICICI.

  • http://gaikwad.in Pushkar Gaikwad

    It is over a year now, the policy is 4 years old, I have stopped paying premium and the return is 0 if I surrender now because they will only return 94% of original value + will put 12.5% service tax (really?)

    I checked mouthshut and apparently it is the same story for everyone, people really need to understand that insurance is the worst investment and banks can not be trusted! I wonders how many of ICICI’s own employees have invested in ICICI Prudential policies.

  • http://www.webinarreviews.org Webinar Reviews

    Same problem with me. I am a senior citizen and their privileged customer. They came and sold me a policy and now after nearly four years I am going to get less them than what I invested. I am going to close my account with ICICI.

  • Anupam

    Exact is the case for me also. Did you get the refund? How many days later? Thx.

  • http://gaikwad.in Pushkar Gaikwad

    Yes I closed the account and got the money back. They put fine of 6% + service tax but I thought lets just close it and done with it.

  • Pradipta Sengupta

    so true Pushkar. The conned my mom and dad both senior citizen into selling a policy which requires an influx of Rs. 25000/- yearly. They are also letting them surrender the policy as it’s more then 30 days.

  • Jayraj Shanku

    Exactly my experience is the same ICICI BANK is cheating the public

  • Tenzin

    This is so effing true. My grandparents got scammed by an agent of icici prudential life insurance. He influenced them to deposit 30k yearly for a period of 5 years which later turned out to be 15 years. But that isn’t the matter.
    The matter is that, it was basically a scam.
    He was simply using the institution’s name to gain commission from the old and innocent senior citizens. (I wasn’t aware of it at that time, nor did they mention about any insurance)
    So they deposit the 1st installment of 30k as told by the so called agent i.e. in 2013. And the next installment in 2014. And that’s when things started to get weird. He told them that the deposit was not made. And also fined a late fee of 1k. Alright. That’s fine. My grandparents accepted the penalty. The next year i.e. 2016 when my grandparents went to deposit the 30k, he told them that there was a problem in transferring the money from their savings account to the yearly plan. So after a few discussions both of them decided to cancel the insurance. And he promised to return the previous deposits made i.e. 61k
    But, he did not. In fact he kept delaying and postponing the date of returning my grandparents’ money.
    Soon, he came by to their place and brought up two cheques. Whereby, in one it was a cheque of 31k and the other 30k. My grandparents were finally calm and happy that their hard earned money had not disappeared.
    So my grandparents went to the bank to withdraw the money. Oh, but wait. There were no money in that rotten man’s account. He had tricked them again.
    Later on they contacted him and told him to give them back their money. And again he gave them a sweet talk and delayed the payment. Somehow he finally managed to return 31k that too not in whole. At first it was 20k, and then after few months 11k.
    Now 30k is still remaining. He keeps saying he will return the cash. But those were just empty promises. It has been over a year now. And he is now transfered to Kolkata (previously he was in Darjeeling).
    When I went to meet my grandparents for the vacation, they told me about this matter. I was really angry.
    I got his no. and told him to make the payment by the end of this month or else we will go and complain in the NJP Headquarter. He apologized and said he will make the payment.
    But, here we are again in the same story all over again. He did not make the payment in my grandparents’ account which is today i.e. 31st of May 2017. He gave some excuses despite his promise made earlier this month.
    He has told us to give him time till the 10th of next month.

    Now let’s see what happens.
    For those of you who have senior citizens living alone or far please make sure you keep track of their banking transactions or any such insurance scam which they may likely fall into.
    These effing sweet talkers are full of shit. I thought my grandparents were the only ones scammed into this mess. But hearing your story urged me to comment my grandparents’ experience.

    Thank you for taking your time to read this. Be alert!