A Thane Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has held a bank liable to pay Rs. 25,000 to a customer for showing “utter ignorance and unprofessionalism” in their services.
Presiding Member SZ Pawar and member Poonam V. Maharshi in their judgment made scathing remarks on Standard Chartered bank, stating that it rendered service to the complainant – a veterinarian with “fault, imperfection” and did not maintain the manner of performance required by law.
Shahapur-based Dr. Nitesh Kadam had complained to the commission in 2013 that he had been a customer of the bank for more than ten years and had availed its credit card services by paying a lifetime subscription. He said the bank had delayed delivery of the credit card on three different occasions from Dec 2011 and June 2013. It sent the card through private courier services though he had made repeated requests to send it by courier as the former do not provide services in his area. As a result, the cards reached him with a delay of two to three months. He said he suffered problems during his travels abroad and in India due to this. He also complained about a transaction of Rs. 5,026 of which he had received an SMS from the bank, which was never done by him. While he had disputed the transaction with the bank, the bank still sent him a credit card statement with late payment charges added.
The bank in its defence before the commission said that it had made several attempts to deliver the card through a private courier service, but since it could not be delivered, they had sent it through speed post. Regarding the disputed transaction, the bank said that the dispute investigation process required a minimum 45 days as it involved the merchant and its bankers. Further it said that the complaint had been made to harass it and tarnish its image.
The judgment while declaring the bank deficient in service said that the complainant was in constant touch with the bank through emails and requested it to send the card through speed-post, but the bank had ignored his requests and continued to send them by courier and waited for long periods of three to four months for the response from the courier companies, thereby depriving him from availing services for a long period.
Regarding the disputed transaction the commission said that the bank took months together to resolve the dispute and acted in an “arbitrary manner” as per its whims. It observed that the bank tried to shift the blame on third parties and tried to allege that the complaint was filed to harass it. “In our view, being a multi-national bank, the opponent bank should have acted upon the grievances of the complainant promptly to maintain their reputation…but compelled him to adopt legal recourse for redressal of his grievance.”