Have you been mis-sold a financial product by your bank? Do you have issues related to loans or deposits? Have you been charged wrongly by the bank? Have you experienced problems while using Internet banking or mobile banking? Tired of waiting for your bank’s response? Not getting a satisfactory response from your bank to your complaint? Read on for how you can seek redress for your grievances from the banking ombudsman (BO). The BO is appointed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to resolve customers’ complaints regarding banking services.
The Banking Ombudsman Scheme, introduced in 2006, enables people to file complaints and resolve banking issues. The Scheme’s objective is to enable resolution of complaints relating to certain services rendered by banks and to facilitate the redress or settlement of such complaints. In 2017, RBI widened the scope of its Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2006, to include deficiencies arising out of selling insurance, mutual fund and other third-party products by banks.
As per the annual report of the ‘ombudsman schemes of RBI’ for FY2018-19, which was released in December 2019, the number of complaints pertaining to ‘mis-selling’ went up from 579 in 2017-18 to 1,115 in 2018-19, a whopping increase of 92.57%.
In FY2018-19, the BO received a total of 195,901 complaints; but, out of these, only 0.56% pertained to mis-selling. However, mis-selling appears to be rampant and you see so many complaints on social media about mis-selling by banks that it makes you wonder why such few complaints are submitted to the BO. While there could be many reasons for this, one of them is lack of awareness. Here, we explain how you can file your complaint with the BO.
The BO can receive and consider any complaint relating to the following deficiencies in banking services (including Internet banking):
- Non-payment or inordinate delay in the payment or collection of cheques, drafts, bills, etc.
- Non-acceptance, without sufficient cause, of small denomination notes tendered for any purpose, and for charging of commission in respect thereof.
- Non-acceptance, without sufficient cause, of coins tendered and for charging of commission in respect thereof.
- Non-payment or delay in payment of inward remittances.
- Failure to issue or delay in issue of drafts, pay orders or bankers’ cheques.
- Non-adherence to prescribed working hours.
- Failure to provide or delay in providing a banking facility (other than loans and advances) promised in writing by a bank or its direct selling agents.
- Delays, non-credit of proceeds to parties’ accounts, non-payment of deposit or non-observance of RBI directives, if any, applicable to rate of interest on deposits in any savings, current or other account maintained with a bank.
- Complaints from non-resident Indians (NRIs) having accounts in India in relation to their remittances from abroad, deposits and other bank-related matters.
- Refusal to open deposit accounts without any valid reason for refusal.
- Levying of charges without adequate prior notice to the customer.
- Non-adherence by the bank or its subsidiaries to the instructions of RBI on ATM/debit card operations or credit card operations.
- Non-disbursement or delay in disbursement of pension (to the extent the grievance can be attributed to the action on the part of the bank concerned, but not with regard to its employees).
- Refusal to accept or delay in accepting payment towards taxes, as required by RBI/government.
- Refusal to issue or delay in issuing, or failure to service or delay in servicing or redemption of government securities.
- Forced closure of deposit accounts without due notice or without sufficient reason.
- Refusal to close or delay in closing the accounts.
- Non-adherence to the fair practices code as adopted by the bank or non-adherence to the provisions of the Code of Banks Commitments to Customers issued by Banking Codes and Standards Board of India and as adopted by the bank.
- Non-observance of RBI guidelines on engagement of recovery agents by banks. And
- Any other matter relating to the violation of the directives issued by RBI in relation to banking or other services.
A customer can also lodge a complaint on the following grounds of deficiency in service with respect to loans and advances:
- Non-observance of RBI directives on interest rates.
- Delays in sanction, disbursement or non-observance of prescribed time schedule for disposal of loan applications.
- Non-acceptance of application for loans without furnishing valid reasons to the applicant.
- Non-adherence to the provisions of the fair practices code for lenders as adopted by the bank or Code of Bank’s Commitment to Customers, as the case may be.
- Non-observance of any other direction or instruction of the as may be specified by RBI for this purpose from time to time.
- The BO may also deal with such other matters as may be specified by RBI from time to time.
Step 1: First, you need to contact your bank, register a complaint and wait for 30 days. In case you have any complaint regarding unauthorised electronic transactions, mis-selling of financial products, issues related to loans and deposits and Internet /mobile banking transactions, you can submit the complaints at your bank. Even after submitting your complaint, if you remain dissatisfied with the bank’s response, you can move the BO with your complaint. One can also approach the BO if one’s bank does not respond to the complaint within a month or if the bank has rejected your complaint. But the BO will not consider your complaint if you have not approached the bank first, or if you approach the ombudsman after over a year from the date on which the bank responded to you.
There's no fee involved in filing the complaint with the BO. You can represent the case yourself or choose to do it through an authorised representative. However, the BO can reject a complaint if it is time-barred or if it has already been heard in some other court. There are 22 banking ombudsman centres
You can file a complaint on a plain paper to the BO under whose jurisdiction the bank branch (against which you are submitting a complaint) is located. In case of complaints of services with centralised operations, such as credit cards, the complaints can be filed before the BO within whose territorial jurisdiction your billing address is located.
However, one needs to understand that it is not a strictly online redress system. Sometimes, for complex cases, the BO’s office contacts the complainant over the phone and even requires the complainant to present his/her case in person. But, in more simple cases, the BO can make the award, based on the written/ online complaint submissions from the complaint itself.
Here is the process to file your complaint online:
Click on select language dropdown list. In the dropdown list, select applicable language. For example, choose English.
Click on type of entity dropdown button to select specific type of entity against which you wish to file a complaint. For example, select bank.
Fill in other details on that page: mobile number of complainant, area code of operation of BO, state, district, bank name and choose yes or no option, if the complaint pertains to credit card.
Select the appropriate bank category, bank branch. Type your name and email address in the fields provided and click on the next button.
Fill in the relevant options for whether the complaint is sub judice/ under arbitration. Also choose relevant option for whether you have made a written or online complaint to your bank.
Choose the date of your complaint to the bank.
Please see below for an example of how the remaining fields on the page can be filled in. Click on next button.
The next page asks for complainant details: name, gender, age, email and mobile number, address. In the category field, choose whether individual, senior citizen, trust, limited company, association or business. Then click on the next tab.
You will see a page like this. Click on the calendar icon in ‘date of disputed transaction’ field.
Choose appropriate radio buttons for whether complaint is regarding wallet - yes or no. Similarly, choose yes or no for whether complaint is regarding business correspondent. Then click on the next tab.
The next page asks for bank account details as shown under:
After you click on next, you get a page as shown under:
In compensation sought, enter the applicable amount.
You need to read the declaration and click on next button.
Click on yes button, if you want to declare a nomination; click on no, if you do not want to declare nomination.
If you clicked on yes option on the previous page, fill in the nomination details accordingly.
You get a capcha code verification page and you need to type in the applicable code.
Click on select files button to upload attachments to your complaint.
After uploading the relevant attachments, click on the submit button.
You will get a successful submission confirmation along with a complaint number. You can download the .pdf file for it.