One participant in one of my classes asked me does ECS stand for Easy Convenient Stupid method of payment? I did not know what he meant. Here is his story.
Normally people think it is convenient to use the ECS method of payment. Like always this is normally the case. This reader had used ECS for making payment for gas, electricity, telephone bills. It was very convenient till his house went for reconstruction. He sent a letter to Mahanagar Gas, Reliance energy etc. saying I do not wish to make payments for these services now so please stop debiting the account. However he did not send a copy of this letter to the bank. Both Mahanagar Gas and Reliance Energy were happily debiting his account without giving him any service! This was inspite of the fact that the society had written a letter to both the service providers.
However when he went to the bank, the bank said “ECS is something which we cannot stop, you will have to go to the service providers”. Funny you thought you could decide whether anybody could debit your bank account, did you? Welcome to banking 101!
So off he went to Mahanagar Gas who agreed to stop the ECS on the basis of an email, but Reliance Energy said “procedure for stopping the ECS is the same you need to give your identity proof (Oh My God, not again) one cancelled cheque, one letter, your birth certificate, caste certificate….
The simple thing is to pay in advance if you are travelling, but otherwise make a net / cheque drop box payment for your expenses. Our utility companies are not the most polite of companies nor are they well organised to act immediately. Or be so well organised that if you pay in advance for 4 months know surely that you will live in that address for atleast 4 months. So what if you die? Tell Yama (the Indian God of death)- please wait I have paid for these services in advance….so please take me with you after the deposit is exhausted….LOL.
There is actually a RBI circular which says that the bank branches cannot or SHOULD not insist on a letter from the institution…read it here
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