Sunday, April 26, 2009

CIMB housing loan owner - Beware

I received a letter from CIMB about 2 weeks ago, offering an insurance policy to protect our house from landslides. Another junk mail I thought, so I chucked the letter into the recycle bin without a second thought. Then my wife picked it up and noticed that there is an "Opt Out Instruction Form" at the bottom.

On closer inspection, the letter actually states that if I do not sign and return the "Opt Out Instruction Form", the additional protection will be automatically included into my insurance policy.

Something is clearly not right here. Why should I have suffer the inconvenience of having to go to a post office to cancel something that I did not asked for. If somehow I missed it - as I almost did, I will be charged additional fees for something that I do not need. Most of us will not even notice the increase in premiums when the insurance fee is charged to the account.

So I called up the help line:

Operator: Which branch did you open you account? You will have to call your branch and they will help you to sort it out.

Me: No, I don't want to make another call. You mean it is not originated from HQ, and HQ has no control over your branches? If that is the case I want to lodge a report against the branch for unethical practices ...

So I got the operator to take down my details, and got her to promise to sort it out for me. A few minutes later, the operator called back.

Operator: This is their number, XXXXXXXXX. Please give them a call tomorrow ...

Me: Who are 'them'?

Operator: Allianz General Insurance Company ...

Me: No I don't want to call Allianz. As far as I am concerned, my housing loan is with CIMB, with the insurance and insurer pre-arranged, I don't even have a say on that. The letter is issued by CIMB. I hold CIMB responsible for this...


I got the operator to promise to sort it out for me. But to be sure, I will still post the 'Opt Out' form. It's a 10 minutes walk to the post office for me, but such is life in Malaysia.

This is definitely an unethical business practice. I can bet you that many people will simply chuck the letter away - and ended up paying a premium for something that they do not need. Most will not even notice the premium increase!

I am contemplating lodging a report to the consumer association.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chicken ala Carte

This is the winner of 56th Berlin Film Festival for best short story, it is also the most viewed entry at Culture Unplugged.

The backdrop of the story is poverty and imbalance in wealth distribution, but the essential message is the simple love and caring in the humblest circumstance.

This is a simply story, an everyday happening right at our backyard. But one cannot help but be touched, because the unnamed impulse to love and to share is inherent in all being, always yearning to break free. And loving and caring for one another does not require a lot of material resources.

This is the type of heart awakening that is require to turn around the profound crisis that humanity is facing now. I think this film will make an excellent theme for the people power movement.