Complaints against banks shot up 25% in 2017-18 over the previous year, the RBI’s Report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India says. This despite the central bank advising banks in 2015 to appoint internal ombudspersons to review complaints. Often, it’s the lax internal grievance redressal mechanism that compels customers to seek external intervention. Read on to understand the typical complaints received by the ombudsman and how you can go about seeking redressal.
Non-observance of codes
Not adhering to the fair practices code was the top most grievance received by the banking ombudsman offices. Violation of commitments to customers was also high on the list. The fair practices code and Banking Codes and Standards Board of India (BCSBI) code of commitment to customers cover a range of issues including dealing ethically, providing transparent information on charges, maintaining confidentiality of your information, protecting your data and privacy, selling suitable products, ensuring quick resolution of complaints, offering compensation in case of electronic fraud and so on.
BCSBI CEO Anand Aras lists mis-selling of products to customers as one of the key areas of concern. “The Right of Suitability clearly states ‘offer products as per customer needs’. Similarly, the customer’s account not being re-credited in time after a failed ATM/debit card transaction constitutes a code violation,” he adds.
The detailed codes are available on the Indian Bank Association and BCSBI websites. Code violations should be brought to the notice of the bank and then the ombudsman, if the grievance is not resolved to your satisfaction. “However, the customer cannot make a complaint if the subject matter of the complaint is pending for disposal or has been already dealt with at any other forum like court of law or consumer court,” says Aras.
This is the category that has seen the highest jump of over 50% in complaints compared to 2016-17, which is not surprising given that usage of non-cash payment modes has seen a sharp spike. “Most complaints pertain to credit cards. Customers are often issued cards they never asked for.
They are not informed about the charges and credit periods as well,” says consumer activist Jehangir Gai. Such actions violate the provisions of the IBA’s fair practice code. Don’t fall for the freebies and rewards promised by the banks’ selling agents over phone or at payment counters of malls. Do not sign forms without reading them.