February 14, 2009 2:48:12 am
The UT District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the HDFC Bank to pay up Rs 14,000 to a customer for failing to block his ATM debit card that was reported stolen. The amount includes Rs 9,000 that was withdrawn from the account by the thief,Rs 500 as telephone expenses,Rs 2,000 as compensation for harassment,mental agony and inconvenience and Rs 2,500 as costs of litigation.
The complainant,Kanhaya Lal Kaul,lost his wallet containing the ATM card on March 22,2008,at Naina Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh. He immediately made an STD call to the bank and placed a request to block the card. In the evening,however,Kaul realised that Rs 9,000 had been withdrawn from his account.
Alleging deficiency in service on part of the bank,he moved the consumer forum.
In its reply,the bank denied receiving any request from the complainant to block his debit card on that day. It said the STD bill submitted by Kaul proved that the call to the said telephone number was in fact made on March 19,2008.
The forum said it had been argued by the complainant that the bill showed a wrong date and time of the call because the owner of the PCO had not updated them in the STD machine.
The forum said the bank should have monitored the calls and produced the recording of the conversation to suggest on which date the said call was received,but they failed to do so. This is sufficient to hold the bank deficient in rendering proper service, said forum president Jagrup Singh Mahal.
The bank had also argued that any withdrawal from the ATM was not possible without the PIN and in this case the transaction took place smoothly,which reflected the fact that the user was aware of the four-digit secret number.
On this,the forum said the complainants wallet had a piece of paper with the PIN written on it,as claimed by Kaul. The contention of the complainant appears to be correct because it is not always possible to remember a PIN. Since the complainant was out of Chandigarh where he could be in need of money,it was necessary for him to have written down the PIN as he is an old man, the forum observed.
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