Friday, September 10, 2010

Coimbatore Consumer forum slaps fine on bank

Consumer forum slaps fine on bank

Special Correspondent

Coimbatore: The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Coimbatore, has held the credit card division of the Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC) guilty of causing mental agony to its customer through wrong debits in the credit card amount.

The complaint by B. Srihari of Sri Kannapiran Mills Limited came up for hearing before president R. Dhandapani and members K. Rathinam and S. Saraswathi. HSBC Risk Manager, Collections in-charge in Mumbai and the bank's representative in Coimbatore were cited as the first three respondents.

The complainant stated that he was issued an International Gold credit card by the HSBC Bank in March 2005 with a credit limit of Rs 1.74 lakh.

The complainant never had any occasion to utilise the entire credit limit. However, he received a statement for the period May 22 to June 21 for the said card wherein the bank had claimed a sum of Rs. 1.36 lakh as the outstanding amount. The statement reflected that the debits were due to transactions that had taken place in Brazil between May 21 and 30.

The complainant faxed his objections to the bank on May 29, 2005. He sought the bank to block the card immediately and issue him a fresh credit card.

The bank in turn asked him to send a photostat copy of his passport. In July, the complainant received a statement asking him to remit Rs. 1.46 lakh. In April 26, 2006, the bank had asked him to remit an outstanding of Rs.1.93 lakh.

After seeking time to investigate into the case, the bank again on September 12, 2008, sent a legal notice asking the complainant to remit a sum of Rs. 4.81 lakh. On October 16, 2008, the bank came forward for a settlement of Rs. 99,605 and agreed to give a credit entry for Rs.1.32 lakh towards refund of legal fee. The complainant sought a compensation of Rs.5 lakh from the bank for the mental agony and damages caused.

The bank in its counter averred that the complainant was not willing to be patient and time was required to verify the claims since the transactions had taken place abroad. The forum finally held the bank guilty of deficiency in service and directed the opposite parties to pay Rs. 1 lakh to the complainant for the mental agony caused and Rs. 3,000 towards the cost of the proceedings within two months from the date of the forum's order.


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