It is a bank’s duty to probe a complaint on any unauthorised withdrawal from a customer’s account, the apex consumer commission has held as it asked the State Bank of India to refund a man over Rs 30,000 which he who lost through debit card fraud.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) bench dismissed a revision petition of the SBI filed against the Assam state commission’s order upholding the district forum’s decision asking the bank to repay.
The NCDRC also asked the bank to pay a compensation of Rs 23,000 to Assam resident J C S Kataky and said it was clear from the facts on record that “the bank flatly refused to even look into the matter, what to speak of making any investigation into the same”.
“A plain reading of the provision (terms and conditions of SBI) is sufficient to establish that once the complaint was made citing specific incidents of unauthorised withdrawal, it was the duty of the bank to have carried out the necessary verification in the matter, rather than washing their hands off from the whole episode.
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“Evidently, there has been deficiency in service on the part of the bank, vis-a-vis, the consumer. It is held, therefore, that the consumer fora below have made a correct appreciation of the facts and circumstances on record which deciding the complaint in favour of the complainant (Kataky),” the bench, headed by presiding member B C Gupta, said.
According to the complaint, an unknown person claiming to be calling from the Mumbai office of the SBI, telephoned Kataky at 8 PM on August 8, 2012, and told him that his ATM card had been upgraded and gave a new card number.
After some time on the same day, Kataky received a message on his mobile phone that his ATM card had been used for purchase worth Rs 976. A similar message of purchase worth Rs 769 on another Point of Sale was also received thereafter.
The complaint claimed that upon the online verification, his account was found to be debited with an amount of Rs 28,949 but no message was received on the said amount.
The bank stated that there was no record or evidence of any call made or SMS sent to the complainant by them. It also stated that the bank will never call the customer at 8 PM as the banking hours end at 5 PM on working days.
The bank had claimed that it had been stated clearly in the manual given to the customers, that the bank had no liability for the unauthorised use of the card and the responsibility was fully upon the card holder.
The district forum had asked the bank to refund the amount and to pay the compensation while holding it deficient in service.
The state commission had also upheld the verdict against which the bank approached the NCDRC.