K.T. Sangameswaran

CHENNAI: The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (DCDRF), Chennai (North), has directed a private bank to pay Rs.50,000 as compensation to a customer for deficiency in service.

E.Vijay Anand of Kallakurichi in Villupuram district said he maintained Rs.10,000 as minimum balance in his savings bank account in Standard Chartered Bank.

When he wanted to withdraw Rs.5000 in January 2005 using his ATM card at Royapettah, the machine displayed a message that the account was frozen and asked him to contact the bank. When he contacted the bank, he was informed that since the account was not operated for a few months, it was frozen. He was asked to deposit some amount to reactivate the account, which he did. Later, his self-drawn cheque was returned for the reason “restricted account”. His legal notice to the bank evoked no response. The bank’s Branch Manager, and Manager, Customer Service, Rajaji Salai, were cited as opposite parties.

The bank submitted that the complainant had not used the debit card for two years. Therefore, his SB account was declared as dormant. The cheque issued by him was returned for signature mismatch and restricted account. His account was reactivated later and the complainant made the withdrawal. Hence there was no deficiency in service.

The forum Bench comprising president P. Roasiah and members T. Kamalakannan and M. Sheela said the bank’s act was against its own rules. In fact, the bank had not informed the customer that his savings bank account would be treated as dormant if the debit card was not used for two years. The Bench felt there was deficiency in service by the bank. It directed the opposite parties to jointly and severally pay the compensation and Rs.5000 as cost to the complainant.