Claiming humiliation and loss of reputation on foreign soil
Internationally acclaimed squash player Dipika Pallikal is suing Axis Bank Ltd for the humiliation she felt and the loss of reputation after her debit card transaction was declined while she was in Rotterdam in 2011, even though she had enough money in her account.
In an intriguing reply, the bank, while denying the charge of negligence by citing technical reasons, questioned her suitability to be a world champion and accused her of being unprofessional.
Dipika, a world ranking squash player, said she faced embarrassment while in Rotterdam in the Netherlands in November 2011.
While checking out from the Brainpark Hotel there, she had presented her Axis Bank debit card to settle a bill for 490 euros (Rs. 30,000 approximately), but the transaction failed repeatedly.
In her consumer complaint, Dipika said some players from other countries even made snide remarks on her credit-worthiness as well as about the country. She had contacted her mother in India who in turn sent an urgent text message to the bank’s executive, but the official was unhelpful. She managed to settle the bill after she realised she was carrying another debit card. She was traumatised due to the incident and was unable to perform in subsequent tournaments.
In another instance, in December 2011, Dipika said she received Rs.1 lakh as award from the Union Sports Minister. When she deposited the cheque drawn in her favour, the bank returned it, saying “not drawn on us”. After yet another exasperating round of communication, the bank finally admitted that the cheque was returned due to a technical error. Hence, she filed the consumer complaint before the District Consumer Redressal Forum, South (Chennai) in 2012 seeking Rs. 10 lakh compensation.
In its written version, the bank denied causing mental agony to Dipika. “The very fact that the complainant is not able to take the slightest disturbance would prove that she lacks the requisite mental toughness of a world champion… she is only making excuses for her non-performance and it is unfortunate and unethical to allege criminal acts on the bank for technical failure that took place in a foreign soil on which the bank has no control.”
The matter came up for final hearing only last week before the District Consumer Redressal Forum, Chennai( South) comprising, its president V. Gopal and its member L. Deenadayalan. After counsel for both sides, the matter was adjourned for further hearing to October 4.