Tamil Nadu

HC raps bank managers for harassing customer

Petitioner who lost credit card denied zero loss liability

The Madras High Court has come down heavily on two managers of Axis Bank Limited for their “retrograde bureaucracy” while dealing with a customer who lost his credit card during a business trip to Paris in October 2018 and imposed costs of ₹10,000 to make them realise the agony and damage they had caused the customer.

After ordering that the cost amount be paid to the Dean of Stanley Medical College Hospital here for treatment of the poor, Justice C.V. Karthikeyan wrote: “It is hoped that at least now they would realise that they survive only on confidence and trust placed by customers and not on the regrettable attitude of their staff/officers.”

The judge appreciated Chevanan Mohan, counsel for Reserve Bank of India (RBI), for having stepped in at the right moment to find out that it was the managers who were at fault by not according the benefit of zero loss liability, up to ₹3 lakh, to which the customer was entitled to as per conditions of the platinum Visa card issued to him. He pointed out that the writ petitioner N. Santhosh Kumar had lost his wallet containing four credit cards issued by Citi Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank, in Paris on October 1, 2018. The petitioner lodged a police complaint over there and informed all the four banks within three days as per the RBI regulations.

Thereafter, within 30 days, he provided documents such as a copy of the complaint, copies of his passport reflecting his travel to the foreign country and also the entire itinerary. Three out of the four banks promptly accepted the documents and Citibank reimbursed the entire money spent by unknown third parties using the lost card.

Petitioner blacklisted

The Kodambakkam branch manager of Axis Bank and the manager of its credit cards division alone refused to waive around ₹ 1.67 lakh and it led to the petitioner getting blacklisted by Credit Information Bureau India Limited (CIBIL) from being eligible to obtain any kind of loan from any bank or financial institution in the country.

The petitioner claimed to have been harassed by bank officials by sending numerous e-mails, text messages, voice calls and even recovery agents to his house demanding payment of money, but the bank managers denied the allegations in a counter affidavit filed on behalf of them before the court.

They claimed that the petitioner was solely responsible for the security of the card and that Axis Bank Limited was not liable for loss or damage arising out of the negligence of the customer.

However, the RBI on its part told the court that the customer was eligible to get the disputed transactions reversed and that it had instructed the bank to do so.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 4:45:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-raps-bank-managers-for-harassing-customer/article30907791.ece

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