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Harassed bank customer threatens legal action

Rajesh Ahuja

CHANDIGARH: Withdrawing cash from the ATM of a different bank can be a harrowing experience as a customer here recently discovered to his utter shock.

An account holder of ICICI Bank needed to withdraw Rs.4,500 from the ATM urgently on April 28 around 9-45 p.m. to purchase medicines. Since he was passing through the Sector 8 market, he went to Bank of Baroda’s ATM in the market and inserted his ICICI Bank debit card into the machine.

After keying in the details of withdrawal, there was the usual processing transaction message on the screen which suddenly vanished and was replaced by a “temporarily out of service” message. Neither cash nor any transaction receipt came out. After a few seconds, the normal Bank of Baroda screen returned and the customer once again inserted his debit card at 9-54 p.m. to make a balance enquiry. This time a transaction receipt showing Rs.0 as available balance came out of the machine.

The harried customer waited for the security guard who came there much after 10 p.m. He had no reply as to why no notice had been put up outside the ATM that it was not functioning normally.

The customer went to a nearby cyber café where he logged into his ICICI online account and was shocked to find that Rs.4,520 had been debited to his savings account.

He immediately sent an online message to ICICI Bank narrating the entire incident and seeking credit of the amount of Rs.4,500 wrongly debited from his account.

He got a reply from ICICI Bank’s account manager that his complaint had been registered and it would be resolved in “eight working days” and he should wait till May 9 to know the status of his complaint.

Bank’s reply

The customer was in for another rude shock on May 7 when he got an SMS from ICICI Bank: “The chargeback on the acquiring bank for transaction of Rs.4,500 initiated on May 7. Request you to wait for 45 days.”

The woebegone customer has decided to initiate legal proceedings against the bank for harassment and delay in crediting his money which was never actually withdrawn from Bank of Baroda’s ATM. He has also decided to cut up his debit card and rather stand in the queue at the bank from now on to withdraw cash.

Curiously, several people in the Sector 8 market here said that the Bank of Baroda ATM was “nreliable” as similar incidents had happened to other customers also.

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