I would like to know who I should complain to about the perennial shortages of coins of various denominations, especially in Vadodara (Gujarat). Most shops, including malls, offer you a sweet (generally ‘Eclair’) in lieu of change of Rs1/-, Rs2/- or Rs5/-. I am quite surprised that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is not doing anything regarding this. Some years back, in Vadodara, various shops and petrol pumps had started a system of coupons of various denominations that could be freely received and given at any shop/petrol pump in Vadodara.
I have complained to RBI but nothing seems to have changed. I do not know whether RBI has really taken any notice. I would appreciate your help in this regard.
Utpal Shah, Vadodara, by email
RBI’s website gives details of branches of commercial banks where one can collect coins. We have identified a few for you in Vadodara. They are: BOB Mandvi; SBI Gorwa and Mandvi; SBS Fatehgunj. — Editor
Investigative Article Required
Last week, Saradha Finance in West Bengal sucked around Rs20,000 crore from deposit-holders. The finance was used to run many Ponzi deposit schemes.
Recently, in Bengaluru, a well-known cooperative bank, belonging to the Muslim community, went down. It had more than 0.2million deposit–holders; they are running to the bank’s branches to withdraw money. I know Moneylife used to write about fraudulent finance companies. In spite of this, these companies are able to collect huge amounts from the public and cheat. What action has RBI taken on these companies and their promoters?
Last year, when I used to attend the Master of Business Law programme (a distance education course by National Law School), Prof Nandimath was asked the same question and he said “co-operative banks are a necessary evil.” How does one check the credibility of these banks? Moneylife should do an investigative article about ‘cooperative’ banks.
Ajeya Sadashivaiah, by email
At Moneylife Foundation, our not-for-profit sister entity, we warn investors to be careful about cooperative banks, because they are under dual regulation, are usually linked to powerful politicians and, hence, under-regulated. The failure rate is extremely high. Moneylife advises people to avoid any exposure to cooperative banks beyond what is covered by the Deposit Insurance Guarantee Fund, namely, Rs1 lakh. We have also written about how all banks have to contribute to the deposit insurance, but all payouts so far have been made only on account of cooperative banks. — Editor
I would like to bring to your attention a suspected fraud taking place with people, probably on a nationwide basis. During last month, I received two calls from people claiming to be from Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). They called on my landline number and asked for details regarding my father’s policy, like his birth date, etc. They claimed that if I did not give them the details, the bonus on my father's policy would lapse. Since I knew about these fraudsters, I did not reveal any information. Then, as a precaution, I called up the customer care numbers of LIC and told them about the call. The executive clearly told me not to give out any information. She also said that LIC has already advertised in Gujarati Midday warning people about such frauds. The number shown on my ‘caller ID’, when I received the call, was 1409305248. When I tried to call the number from my mobile, I got a message that it was not a valid number. When I tried to check the number on the Internet, I realised that a few other people had also got calls from this number (or similar numbers). I request you to warn your readers, about staying alert and undertake some investigation about this.
Anand Sanghvi, by email
You may have noticed that LIC has been putting out advertisements in leading newspapers to warn people about these calls. Please read warnings issued by regulators from time to time. There are many such scams being perpetrated in the name of RBI. The Securities & Exchange Board of India has also recently warned people about a mutual fund scam as well as collective investment schemes. We realise that it is difficult for people to follow these issues regularly, but one alternative is to make the time to attend the non-partisan financial literacy seminars conducted by organisations such as Moneylife Foundation. — Editor
Useful guidance from disha
I am a registered member of Moneylife Foundation. I would like to thank you and Moneylife Foundation for providing me guidance through Disha. I have a credit card of ICICI Bank. I was offered a free lifetime credit card. They changed the card and issued me new card in 2004. They raised a bill for annual fees of Rs2,000/- plus sales tax. When I drew their attention to the fact that it is a lifetime free card, they reversed the bill.
In 2007, I purchased the laptop computer bag, which was offered along with the credit card statement, from Kaviraj Housewares (Bengaluru), offering that I should repay in six EMIs (equated monthly instalments), when the value of the bag was Rs1,500/- only.
It was a small amount but they raised the full amount in the bill which was principally wrong. When I contacted customer care, they told me that I have to contact the vendor, Kaviraj Housewares. I made five to six STD calls and thereafter, ICICI Bank reversed the transactions. Meanwhile, I had already paid the EMI instalments from my side. After the reversal of the transaction, they were charging two EMIs in one bill. Thereafter, I was making the payment for the bill, for the actual purchases and not as per the bill raised by them. When the outstanding bill amount keeps increasing, I start receiving telephones from the call centre for recovery of the outstanding amount. I emailed customer care staff to solve the query. They were not inclined to help. Their IVRS telephone system is such that one has to wait for a long time. I kept all the details ready with me before calling them because if, while there is a mistake in entering the credit card number, the whole process is to be done again. On many occasions, the server is not working, or the system is inundated with too many customers. Once, my father had to file a police complaint for harassment by constant calls on his mobile at his residence. This was in spite of my answering calls for him on my mobile. Then, I contacted Disha for resolving my issue. I got the appointment and I contacted R Gopalakrishnan. He listened patiently and advised me to contact the nodal officer concerned and send the email to him. If the matter did not get resolved, I was asked to contact RBI. On emailing the complaint for resolving the query about the outstanding bill amount, I received a call from them. I was also in touch with Mr Gopalakrishnan to resolve the problem. After about a month, I received a call to say that my account balance would be zero and reflected in the April 2013 statement.
Guidance from Disha has helped me lot and it may help many people like me to solve their problems.
Sanjay Shah, by email
We are happy to hear that you found the Disha guidance useful. We would further urge you to keep tabs on your credit information report and work at building your credit profile and credit score. This is important for your long-term financial health. — Editor
This is with regard to “T+1 settlement system proposed by SEBI: How will it benefit you?” by Gurpur. This is a most welcome move by SEBI. This must be supported wholeheartedly by all. The day is not far when trade and payments may happen in real time!
This is with regard to “Shocking! Maharashtra admits it lost Aadhaar data of three lakh people”. What about accountability for such a serious lapse? It shows chalta hai attitude. Lage raho.
This is with regard to “Why RBI is still dragging its feet over polymer currency notes?” by AK Ramdas. Brown commented that agents had many expenses and were very well connected, with access to the highest levels of the central banks and, often, the government itself. “The actual word 'bribery' was carefully avoided,” he said, but he was told “Securency paid the agent in India $120,000 on the understanding that his money would then be forwarded to a political party in the lead-up to the Indian national election.”
Cocking A Snook
This is with regard to “Supreme Court raps Subrata Roy, Sahara for not responding to SEBI plea”. After all Mr Roy is handling the funds of almost all the politicians which is confirmed by the attendance of most of the netas at his family functions. He is hoodwinking the courts saying that most depositors have paid Rs5,000 to Rs10,000. This is just like the netas claiming that party workers paid donations of Rs5 and Rs10 to the leader. He has support of almost all political parties and the rich and the famous. No wonder, he is cocking a snook at the courts, including the Supreme Court.
Imitating The Government
This is with regard to “West Bengal’s ‘chit fund’ mess and inaction of MCA” by Vinod Kothari. Chit funds are imitating the government in the grandeur of their larceny. Did they, too, like LIC and UTI, invest in ONGC? But, chit funds must learn their limitations.
Suchindranath Aiyer S