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a guest Mar 11th, 2017 125 Never
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  1. HDFC Bank, with whom I have a salary a/c had sent me an email in January 2017 which stated that I will be charged Rs.100 per quarter (+ taxes) for something called 'virtual relationship manager'.
  2.  
  3. The email states that VRM is a 'by-invite-only' program, but HDFC has not informed me before this email on why I was invited, and worse, why I will be charged a sum every quarter, for something I have no idea about or have not consented to be part of.
  4.  
  5. Please see the attached file to see the complete email.
  6.  
  7. The email also states, in fine print, that I can opt out of this program if I so wish, and that, once I do, I will not be charged Rs.100 from then on.
  8.  
  9. My query is as follows:
  10.  
  11. a. Is the bank allowed to start charging customers without their explicit consent to be in a program?
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  13. b. Can the bank use opt-out method to assume that silence from a customer means acceptance to pay the charges? To be clear, the bank depends on customers to,
  14. 1. open the mail,
  15. 2. read through the contents,
  16. 3. notice a way to opt-out,
  17. 4. click the opt-out link,
  18. 5. choose ‘No’ as confirmation and
  19. 6. submit the form
  20. … to not charge him/her.
  21.  
  22. Please see this in the background of the bank sending customers as many as 10 emails every week, and most of them are about other products from the bank being cross-sold or up-sold. Like intrusive, marketing text messages, most of these emails are deleted without being read. In that case, can the bank use an opt-out method, unethically, knowing fully well that customers may not even open the email amidst so many other marketing emails, to start charging customers?
  23.  
  24. Also, please note the subject of this email: "Dear <name>, Welcome to HDFC Bank Preferred Banking Programme!"
  25.  
  26. If there was a crucial consent needed from customer, shouldn't the subject be, "Please see: your consent needed for new program you have been enlisted in"
  27.  
  28. ...so that customer can judge whether they want to be in a new paid program or not?
  29.  
  30. Could I please request for a response from the bank on this highly unethical, unfair business practice?
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