How Banks Harass Customers to Resolve Unauthorised Transaction Issues
Moneylife Digital Team 09 July 2020
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. 
2 years ago
I had received email from axis Bank that I have to pay RS 2,63,746.00 or monthly 13196.00 . I was shocked. Because that transaction was not done by me or my concern. When I contacted the customer service they replied that I have to that amount. I requested them to investigate the transaction, they gave me a complaint number and later i contacted to nodal officer with written form. Their reply was to wait for 60_ 90 days,if their was no solution I have to pay that amount or they send me a legal notice. The transaction was done from 26 th April to May 5 and I received the mail on 16 may. A single transaction we receive an mail and message but I don't get any.
2 years ago
In case of a lost Debit Card, 2 transaction of Rs 2000 each are done through Contact less transaction without OTP. HDFC Bank is asking for a Indemnity Bond with Rs 200 Franking. But unable to provide the policy on the website or in writing. Is it a common practice with all banks?
3 years ago
Same happened with me and that too with Axis bank credit card.It happened in 2019.Two unauthorized transactions from a foreign country and the hardships after that to report the same to bank and police is truely a frustating experience.I do not had to pay for the unauthorized transactions since the bank took care of it but the crux of the matter is why the lengthy , tiresome and illogical processes to follow?
Firstly,one has to report to the bank within 72 hours and the bank demands a police complaint copy if the unauthorized transactions are upto a certain limit and a FIR if the these transactions are above a certain limit .The FIR copy has to be submitted to bank within a month otherwise as per the bank's rules the complaint can be rejected.We as a common people do have any control when the police files the FIR?
3 years ago
I fully agree with Dr Saravade about the hardships faced by common Banking Customer and how Banks do not follow protection measures RBI may want them to adopt. I may also add that even Regulator RBI’s departments like Banking Ombudsman and CEPD do not follow their own procedures as laid out by RBI itself, adding to your misery. I am furnishing below my experience with HDFC Bank and RBI Departments to illustrate my point.
In Dec 2018 I used HDFC International Debit Card to pay Microsoft in Rupees, for licensing the MS Office Package, while I was in US. In its wisdom, Bank while allowing the spend, charged me additional Rs 71 for the reasons known only to itself. (Even today, I am not told by Bank why they had to impose that debit on my Account, though, this debit has since been reversed) I wrote to the Bank saying this is an unauthorized Debit. Because I called it an unauthorized debit, Bank promptly hot listed my card, without even thinking that they themselves have pocketed this money – denying me my Banking facilities for no fault of mine - leaving me high and dry in foreign land!
Upon return to India I visited the Branch and they suggested they can arrange for a new Card instead of trying to restore the old one as that could take longer. I also discussed other issues with Branch that I faced while using the card in US. They suggested I write to them letter asking very pertinent questions. I did exactly that and sent this letter by way of an email. That was acknowledged by Branch and they confirmed reply within a week. Three months passed and still no response even after my follow up! Obviously the Branch must have taken the flak from Head Office for entertaining my complaint!!!
That prompted me to go to Banking Ombudsman(BO).
I lodged complaint under BOS 2006 Scheme, which among other Complaint Heads, also mentions the DENIAL OF BANKING FACILITY as one of the points for the complaint. Among various documents, I also attached copy of my letter to the Bank in support of my complaint and requested this letter be replied to, in detail.
After another three months, and after follow up on phone, I received reply from BO office that my complaint had been rejected as it was not falling under BOS 2006!!! I may mention here that when a complaint is rejected under this provision, you have no option to appeal against BO with RBI Appellate authority - you have only one option - go to CIVIL COURT!!!
How very clever of HDFC Bank and BO to stonewall me completely……..In short what BO was telling me is that DENIAL OF BANKING RIGHT IS NOT COVERED UNDER BOS 2006.!! I can understand HDFC BANK twisting the facts but I can not understand why BO – who should be aware of its own rules and regulations - would do that.
Looking up RBI website I discovered I have an option of lodging a complaint against working of any RBI department with CEPC and then with CEPD. I did just that and it was in November 2019. CEPD comes under a Chief General Manager and it is his Office that is supposed to investigate a complaint and come to a conclusion. Instead, in response to my complaint LODGED WITH CEPD against BO, I got a letter from BO – titled final confirmation of my complaint rejection – justifying the rejection of my complaint.
A Classic example of a Kangaroo Court………..
I wrote back to CEPD pointing out the above facts and asking for a response from his office-that remains unattended as of now-over four months have elapsed. I understand RBI Officers are working from home during current Lockdown, but still no action on my complaint lodged with a Chief General Manager of RBI.
That is the working of the Regulator - RBI standing shoulder to shoulder with the Bank to deny me the JUSTICE.

Sudhir Mankodi
3 years ago
And despite all such negative new, not a single comment I see from Axis Bank! This is indicative of the \"customer care\" they have!
3 years ago
For the last decade, there are innumerable cases of this nature and the Banking Ombudsman is supposed to provide the resolution. Annual Report of Banking Ombudsman reveals large number of such cases from different public sector banks and private banks. When a system does not work, it is the responsibility of the regulator to provide resolution with specific timelines and penalties in good time and in public glare.
Bank Branches are supposed to hold Customer Meetings every fortnight as per RBI directive. It is years since I saw such meetings. There will be many issues that can be solved locally. Regional Managers are supposed to ensure holding these meetings. It is one thing to appoint committees and issue instructions and the other thing to ensure that instructions are adhered to.
Replied to yerramr comment 3 years ago
Why banks almost gave up customer meetings? In the few months after RBI' directives in this regard followed by individual banks instructions to branches, meetings were held as per time schedule. As days passed, such meetings were attended by a few customers (less than 5 members). So BMs discontinued the practice. Controlling authorities also kept quiet. That way RBI is known for issuing several directives to banks unmindful of practical implications. It's a big joke in banking industry that let RBI's senior officials man banks for two years and let's see the tamasha. For that matter, banks are managed with or without RBI. So is the case with their head offices!
3 years ago
Excellent work team moneylife. If not for your work they would have taken every thing for granted.
3 years ago
Cash is the king.

All digital channels can be misused with no problem resolution from banks or issuer company. Have credit cards only for emergency requirements. Almost all banks are same. One shit is saying to other that I am more perfumed.

RBI has clear guidelines on ZERO LIABILITY OF CUSTOMERS vide notification no DBR.No.Leg.BC./09.07.005/2016-17 dated August 11, 2016. One need to report and take up the matter with DBOD and DBS of RBI. Later one can go to Ombudsman also.
3 years ago
Excellent Article
3 years ago
I am also chasing OBC for a unauthorised transaction in my father's account since a year. He is not tech savvy and never used his ATM cum Debit card for any online purchase. Yet there was a transaction. Bank says you would have received SMS and that you shared, so transaction is proper. But in reality, he did not initiated any transaction, not received any sms and so no question of sharing it with anyone. Upon complaint, bank asked for a fir and a form to be filled. I checked the form and found that as per their own form, FIR is not mandatory. I pointed out this to bank and then bank said OK, no fir, just fill the dispute form, which was done. But still it has not reversed the transaction. Lot of followup, but no luck so far.

Just check the customer dispute form, if it actually mandates FIR.
3 years ago
It is not axis bank only but all banks are on the way.
3 years ago
Although all banks are same, one solution is to shift your accounts to some other bank till the other bank ignites its Idiotbanking.
Makarand Joshi
3 years ago
I used credit card for long time & can suggest few points:
1. Never, ever take credit card of bank where you have bank account.
2. Never auto debit any Cr card paymnt.
3 never, ever link any auto pay to Cr card for longer time. You can buy TV & pay Cr card in 3 EMI. BUT don\'t buy insurance policy wth 12 month EMI. Any dispute, means you lose out.
3 years ago
As general public, we understand that the take away here is do not have credit card with bank where you have home loan..And Bank where you have come credit card, be ready to pack all your savings and migrate before penalizing charges and harassment calls begin towards you.

One week back I have come in the crosswinds of Kotak bank credit card. Even PayTM like wallets do better job at safeguarding our assets vs banks and our credit card details. Banks should begin showing list of which all payment gateways and sites have been shared our credit card that we have an option to block them untill future use as needed by us. Subscription, international, national...all. Banks can do it with the mega infrastructure.
3 years ago
I too had a worst experience with Standard Chartered Bank. It happened two years ago. It was an internal unauthorized online transaction that originated in Mumbai when I was stationed in Bangalore. SCB washed its hands stating since it has been authorised by me over telephone through a two way confirmation process ( the Bank quoted a OTP). The correspondence went on seemlessly for more than 4 months. Even escalation of the issue was of no use. I even filed a FIR with local cyber crime. Finally I complained to RBI Ombudsman. Surprisingly, SCB reversed the entry cooly without even informing me. Please tell me who has the time and patience to follow up such issues. SCB didn't even regret for my horrific experience leave alone compensating for the mental agony.
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