Mumbai: A district consumer commission has directed Standard Chartered Bank and another party to compensate a Kandivali resident with Rs35,000 within sixty days of receiving the order. The compensation was given owing to the loss and litigation cost the complainant had to suffer after the bank made him run around by asking him to clear credit card dues it raised after six years of the complainant settling them. The commission termed the demand by the bank as “out of limitation” before deciding in the favour of the complainant.
order dated Dec 28 was passed by Shradha Jalnapurkar and Priti Chamikutty, members of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (suburban) on a complaint by Chandrakant Modi against Standard Chartered Bank and Shaha Finlease Pvt Ltd.
Mr Modi had two credit cards of the bank for which he had completed all formalities. He was using credit cards but not paying dues on time so financial charges were levied. Those were not paid fully by the complainant. In 2004, he decided to surrender the cards and close the account by paying around Rs12,000 as a full and final settlement.
However, in 2009, the bank called and told him to pay the dues or as per law, he would have to face consequences. The bank also told him that a complaint was made in a Jodhpur court. Mr Modi travelled to Jodhpur and spent money on hotel stay. After meeting the person he was asked to, he realised that no there was no complaint there. Since the calls and follow-ups to him and his family persisted even after that, in Jan 2010 he filed a complaint and sent a notice to the bank. Besides compensation, he asked for the harassment through calls and messages to stop.
The bank argued that there was nothing on record to say that it was a full and final settlement that was paid and that the full amount that was due was Rs32,051, which the bank sought with a penalty. It said that the delay was because the bank had entered into a deed of agreement with Shaha and that they too be made a party.
During the hearing, the commission observed that had there been a compromise, some documents would have been put on record but that is not the case. It also observed that why the bank did not ask for dues to be cleared is also not stated during the hearing and there is nothing on record to state that the bank tried to contact Mr Modi between 2004 and 2010 including sending notice. It further said that the Reserve Bank of India has set up a procedure for getting dues but the bank and the other party kept all that aside and did what they felt like. Calling the demand out of limitation, it directed that compensation be paid for the losses and litigation costs to the complainant.
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