When it comes to ease of doing business, it is not merely the government and its bureaucracy that adds to hardship and inconvenience. Private banks, which are supposed to be tech savvy and smarter than their public sector counter-parts are no different.
Despite clear rules of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), innumerable customers faced with misuse of their credit cards are given royal run-around by banks before they agree to reverse these transactions. Dr Pradnya Saravade, an officer from the Indian Police Service (IPS) cadre, who is additional director general of Maharashtra Police, was recently the victim of an unauthorised transaction on her credit card. She immediately blocked the card and reported the matter to her bank, which as Axis Bank.
Dr Sarvade then discovered how convoluted the system to deal with what ought to be a smooth and tension free process. What she has done is to blog her experience, analyse the root cause of friction and suggested how to improve resolution without needlessly burdening the police. The point to note is that if a senior cop finds the need for filing an FIR (first information report) irksome, imagine how much of a hassle it is for ordinary people who do not even want to visit a police station unless it is absolutely necessary.
"I recently had an experience worth narrating regarding my Axis Bank credit card, which I feel gives some insights into 1. The hardships a common banking customer may face when dealing with behemoths like Banks and 2. How, the many customer protection measures a regulator like RBI may require of the Banks, do not get complied with.
On 25 may 2020, I was informed by the bank via email, of a transaction done on my credit card from abroad, and the mail further asked me to reply immediately to them if the said transaction was an unauthorised one. I quickly responded to the bank’s email, that the transaction was unauthorised and the amount should not be billed to me and that I have blocked the card (I had done that from the mobile app). The transaction amount was small. Thereafter, the bank’s relationship manager was in touch with me and assured me that the amount will not be billed to me. But I was in for a surprise when I got the credit card statement billing me for this unauthorised amount and an intimation on SMS from the bank after two weeks of the incident, that the above amount has been debited from my account!!
I called up the Bank’s senior official whom I knew personally and who was in the know of the earlier correspondence of the unauthorised transaction. Then I get a mail from another Dept of the bank asking me to fill up and send the 1. Axis bank’s Cardholder dispute form 2. Incident Letter addressed to the bank in Hindi or English, and 3. Police complaint/FIR
What is irksome, customer unfriendly and needs correction: 1. The bank did not have any standard line in their first transactions monitoring email intimation (of 25/05/2020), which could have informed the customer(me) to fill up their Cardholder Dispute Form if the transaction was an unauthorised one. The said form should have been hyperlinked in a mail of such criticality. Thus, the unsuspecting customer – who was not informed of the follow through process and has lost money for no fault of his/her – is hassled, 2. The bank already had my email intimation from 2 weeks earlier, regarding the unauthorised transaction in response to their then email. Yet they want another Incident Letter from me. Clearly one department of the bank does not know what another department has been doing with the customer. Thus, the customer is hassled, 3. They want me to file a complaint with the police. But what will police do with this complaint which is regarding an unauthorised use of the bank card for a small amount in another country? There will be no FIR – only a stamp of receipt of my complaint in the police station. Why burden the police with this unnecessary step when the amount is small and hassle the customer with this process which anyway has no meaning since the bank is itself already aware of the unauthorised use of the card and has blocked the card because of the same?"
Unfortunately, Dr Saravade is not the only customer that is at the receiving end by Axis Bank. A casual look on social media reveals several such cases and "we don’t care" attitude by Axis Bank.
For example, one customer Divya was levied some charges on her credit card now instead of 2019 and the bank is sending her irrelevant replies and links that are not resolving her problem.
One customer Sudhanshu says the replies sent by Axis Bank on Twitter are of no use and his issue remain unresolved.
Similar experience is shared by one Gaurav with an addition of receiving different statements from different customer care executives.
Simren Singh Taak, other customer, calls the ill-treatment from Axis Bank as "Dil se Harassment".
It is not just individual customers who are venting their feelings against Axis Bank on social media, even small entrepreneurs are sharing their experiences. One Rahul Mangal says, amidst the corona virus (COVID19) pandemic, Axis Bank has stopped liquidity support to his small unit and also terminated their online banking facility.
If you think only domestic customer are facing issues with Axis Bank then check the experience of Devyandu from the US. Axis Bank's NRI wire facility is active only during 10am to 2pm (IST), which is past midnight to 4am in the US, and thus may not be useful for overseas customers.
We have asked Axis Bank for their comments or views on the experience put forth by the bank's customers on social media. Till writing this story, we have not received any reply from them. We will incorporate Axis Bank's response as and when we receive it. We have also brought the blog to the attention of the RBI and hope they will finally make the process easier for credit card customers.