SBI customer suffers, consumer forum provides balm

The forum observed that it was wrong to deduct Rs 15,000 from the complainant’s account without verifying facts.

By: Express News Service | Pune | Published:June 30, 2014 4:10 am
The bank deducted Rs 15,000 from his account. The bank deducted Rs 15,000 from his account.

A 55-year-old man who showed sincerity in informing his bank about recording a Rs 15,000 debit transaction in his account ended up paying Rs 27,000 interest. The Pune District Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum gave him partial relief by asking the bank — the State Bank of India (SBI) —  to pay him interest on Rs 15,000 and Rs 4,000 as compensation.

Complainant Mohan Gunjal, a resident of Gajlaxmi Housing Society, Senapati Bapat Road had moved the Forum with a plea that he be compensated for his economic loss due to deficiency in service by the bank.  According to his complaint, he has a savings account with the University Road branch of SBI. On January 1, 2008, he had withdrawn Rs 30,000 from a kiosk in two installments. When he got his bank statement a few days later, he noticed only one transaction of Rs 15,000 recorded. He wrote to the branch asking the officials to correct the issue by deducting Rs 15,000 more.

The bank deducted Rs 15,000 from his account.

Later he realised that the Rs 15,000 he withdrew was not from the SBI ATM, but the transaction was made using an ICICI credit card. He again submitted an application saying the mistake be corrected and Rs 15,000 be deposited back in his account quickly as he had to pay a high interest on cash withdrawn using credit card. The bank, however, did not respond quickly and despite complainants’ repeated requests took 6 months to deposit the money back.

During this period, the compound interest on the withdrawn amount had gone up to Rs 27,000 which Gunjal had to pay. He moved the forum through his lawyer advocate Kiran Ghone asking for compensation and relief.

The bank replied through its lawyer that it had followed the due process after getting Gunjal’s application for reimbursement of Rs 15,000. It was a time-consuming process that took six months and hence there was no deficiency of service on part of the branch, the bank said.
The forum observed that it was wrong to deduct Rs 15,000 from the complainant’s account based on his application without confirming if such a withdrawal had indeed taken place.

“The bank deducted the amount based on the letter sent by the complainant without confirming or checking anything. Is this standard operating procedure of the bank?… Also the bank used the amount for six months without paying any interest to the customer,” said the forum, asking the bank to pay Gunjal  interest on Rs 15,000 from the date of erroneous deduction to the day it was credited back as per savings account rules.

The forum asked the bank to pay Rs 4,000 separately as compensation for mental and physical agony and legal charges.

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