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Bank slapped with damages for debit error- Dues kept rising despite not using credit card
May, 28th 2008

ICICI bank has just got into more trouble. After the ruling of the Supreme Court against the bank to dissuade it from sending goons, the bank has now been asked to compensate a customer for wrongly debiting his credit card account and sending him monthly statements even after he had surrendered the card.

In a recent order, the state consumer disputes redressal commission, asked ICICI bank to pay Rs 30,000 in compensation to Kalyan Kumar Sur, a resident of Dum Dums RN Guha Road.

It also ruled that a copy of the order be sent to the Reserve Bank of India governor, so the RBI is aware how the business of a reputed private bank is conducted and how the credit card-holders are taken for a ride.

Sur was holding a Gold Credit Card and his wife Sarbani an add-on card of ICICI Bank. On December 30, 2004, Sarbani had bought goods worth Rs 183.95 using her card and repaid the amount on February 1, 2005.

Sur alleged that even though the dues were cleared within the deadline of interest-free repayment, the bank in the statement issued on February 2, 2005, levied a late payment charge of Rs 250 and service tax of Rs 25. This, along with other purchases, took the closing balance to Rs 655.

On contacting the bank, Sur was assured that the mistake would be rectified. But it was not. On the other hand, the bank continued the subsequent statements and kept charging the couple interest and service tax.

The statement of September 9, 2005, showed an entry of Rs 29,827, which the bank claimed was a debit transaction in the earlier month. The closing balance in October 2005 was around Rs 42,000 and the bank asked Sur to pay up immediately.

Even though the couple had stopped making purchases using the cards, the debit balance kept increasing in the subsequent months, prompting Sur to ask for proof of his taking any loan from the bank. He also returned the credit card to the bank in January 2006 after tearing it apart.

The bank then sent him a lawyers notice, demanding immediate payment of the dues. This prompted Sur to take the help of the Calcutta District Consumer Forum II. He approached the court alleging that the bank could not produce any evidence of providing him a loan and yet was threatening him to repay the dues.

The forum slapped compensation of Rs 1 lakh on ICICI Bank. The bank then moved the state commission against the order, denying the allegations of Sur.

The allegations of the complainant were without any basis, since he had failed to adduce satisfactory evidence in support of his contention, the bank told the commission.

But the state panel dismissed the banks plea and asked it to pay a compensation of Rs 30,000 to Sur.

We are yet to get the certified copy of the order. Once we receive it, the course of action will be planned, said a bank official.

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