NCDRC slams HDFC Bank and fines it for apathy towards Indian couple stuck abroad
Asking HDFC Bank to pay a compensation of Rs5 lakh, the apex consumer forum said the Bank has no love and respect for India
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), while asking to pay a compensation of Rs5 lakh has criticised HDFC Bank for the lender's failure to activate debit card of an Indian couple stuck in Thailand for 10 days used strong and emotional words to enhance the compensation sought by the couple. The bank’s callousness had deprived the couple of funds, while in a foreign destination, even though they had plenty of money in the bank.
In a judgement, a bench headed by Justice JM Malik of the apex consumer forum said, "The (HDFC) Bank has got no love and respect for India. The reputation of India was at stake. Knowing fully well that Indians were trapped in a foreign country, it was the bounden duty of the manager to swing into action immediately. He (the branch manager) 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.”
Chandigarh-based senior advocate Mohinderjit Singh Sethi and his wife Rajmohini Sethi had filed the complaint against the lender after the State Commission rejected their plea. According to the complaint, Rajmohini Sethi had opened a joint account in HDFC Bank by depositing Rs1.5 lakh. The Bank issued her a debit card assuring that she would not face any difficulty while using the card in foreign countries. However, while in Bangkok, the Sethis found that the card could not be used. They contacted HDFC Bank's branch manager Rajinder Patheja, who told them that there was some discrepancy in the date of birth of Rajmohini Sethi, which was to be rectified.
The Sethis were again stuck in Singapore as the debit card was not functional leading to several difficulties, including not being able to use the money till their return from abroad.
They then filed a complaint before the Chandigarh District Consumer Forum seeking Rs30 lakh compensation. The Forum, however, granted a compensation of Rs50,000. The Sethis then approached the State Commission, which rejected their demand to enhance the compensation. They then challenged the order before the NCDRC.
While enhancing the compensation, the NCDRC said, “keeping in view the harassment and mental agony caused to complainant number one (Mohinderjit) and his wife, we are of considered view that the amount of Rs50,000 awarded by the district forum, is just peanuts. A wearer knows where the shoe pinches.”