Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Everyone wants to know everything

In India these days it appears that companies want to know every bit of information about customers . Even if that information is irrelevant and intrusive . All justified in the name of procedure . Not surprising perhaps in a country where absolute strangers can strike up a conversation discussing fairly personal details before knowing each other's names . Even for a country with such a culture the demands for information from companies and organizations are excessive .

Consulates of various countries have documentation requirements in India that defy comprehension - 2 years Income Tax returns , 6 month bank statements etc . In addition to being excessive demands for a temporary visa they pose a risk for the applicants . Personal financial information is being loosely handled by so many individuals / agencies . None of whom will take any responsibility in the face of a problem faced by the applicants in case of data theft or misuse.

Recently a bank requested for a bank statement with another bank as address proof . A mobile bill of a private sector company was apparently not a part of the acceptable documents . Seems only a phone bill from a government backed phone company would qualify as residence proof . I appreciated them for their zeal and requested them to give phone bills of their branch and head office since a customer has equal concern on the bona fides of the organization with whom one banks with . Interestingly the topic never resurfaced in any subsequent discussion .

As consumers we need to voice our legitimate concerns and draw clear lines on information that can and needs to be given .

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