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.

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