HDFC Bank put country’s rep­u­ta­tion at stake: Na­tional Consumer Com­mis­sion

Consumer Voice - - In The News -

Se­verely crit­i­cis­ing HDFC Bank for re­fus­ing to as­sist an In­dian cou­ple who were “trapped in Thai­land and Sin­ga­pore”, Na­tional Consumer Dis­putes Re­dres­sal Com­mis­sion (NCDRC) made this ob­ser­va­tion: “The bank has got no love and re­spect for In­dia. The rep­u­ta­tion of In­dia was at stake. Know­ing full well that In­di­ans were trapped in a for­eign country, it was the bounden duty of the man­ager to swing into ac­tion im­me­di­ately. "He com­mit­ted an egre­gious mis­take for tak­ing no ac­tion for 10 days. It ex­poses the sloth and cal­lous­ness on the part of the man­ager. This shows neg­li­gence, in­ac­tion and pas­siv­ity on the part of the bank.

"For­eign­ers al­ways com­plain that due to pro­ce­dural de­lays, they do not want to have busi­ness re­la­tions with this country. The lack­adaisi­cal ap­proach by the bank is sur­pris­ing. The bank man­ager did not make any ef­fort to straighten out the prob­lem.”

The bench headed by Jus­tice JM Ma­lik made the ob­ser­va­tions while ask­ing the bank to pay a com­pen­sa­tion of Rs 5 lakh to the In­dian cou­ple who were stuck in Thai­land and Sin­ga­pore as the bank did not ac­ti­vate their debit card for 10 days in 2008. The apex com­mis­sion en­hanced the com­pen­sa­tion from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh.

In 20018, Chandi­garh res­i­dents se­nior ad­vo­cate Mo­hin­der­jit Singh Sethi and his wife Ra­j­mo­hini Sethi de­cided to travel to Sin­ga­pore and Thai­land for 10 days. Be­fore their de­par­ture, they had de­posited Rs 1.5 lakh with HDFC Bank, and had taken as­sur­ance and prom­ise by the bank of­fi­cials that their card would be op­er­a­tional over­seas. How­ever, when they reached Sin­ga­pore, they were not able to use the card. When the cou­ple con­tacted HDFC Bank man­ager Ra­jin­der Patheja, he told the cou­ple that due to a mi­nor is­sue with some de­tails given in the forms, the bank was un­able to de-block their ATM card.

Af­ter much dif­fi­culty and strug­gle, the cou­ple reached In­dia and filed a case against the bank at the district consumer fo­rum, which awarded a fine of Rs 50,000. Un­sat­is­fied with the ver­dict, the cou­ple ap­proached the state consumer fo­rum, which re­fused to en­hance the com­pen­sa­tion amount. Fi­nally, the cou­ple ap­proached NCDRC, which over­ruled the pre­vi­ous ver­dicts and or­dered HDFC Bank to pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh for the in­con­ve­nience caused to the cou­ple. In its or­der, the apex consumer com­mis­sion said the bank was at lib­erty to take ac­tion against branch man­ager Ra­jin­der Patheja and at least Rs 50,000 may be de­ducted from his salary, out of the said com­pen­sa­tion.

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