The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) came down hard on HDFC bank in a six-year-old case, rebuking it for not activating a debit card of its customer “trapped in a foreign country”.
NCDRC asked the bank to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the Indian couple, who were stuck in Thailand and Singapore as the bank did not activate their debit card for 10 days in 2008. The apex consumer forum went to say that the bank has no love and respect for India, as it put the country’s reputation at stake because of their callous behaviour.
According to the complaint filed, Chandigarh residents, senior advocate Mohinderjit Singh Sethi and his wife Rajmohini Sethi had opened a joint account in 2008 in HDFC after depositing Rs 1.5 lakh and the bank issued a debit card with an assurance that they would face no difficulty in foreign countries.
However, after reaching Bangkok, and later in Singapore, there card was not operational. When they contacted the bank manager, they were told that due to some minor discrepancy in the date of birth of the woman, the card will not be functional.
“The bank has got no love and respect for India. The reputation of India was at stake. Knowing fully well that Indians were trapped in a foreign country, it was the bounden duty of the manager to swing into action immediately.”
“He committed an egregious mistake for taking no action for 10 days. It exposes the sloth and callousness on the part of the manager. This shows negligence, inaction and passivity on the part of the bank.”
“Foreigners always complain that due to procedural delays, they do not want to have business relations with this country. The lackadaisical approach by the bank is surprising. The bank manager did not make any effort to straighten out the problem,” the bench headed by Justice J M Malik said, slamming both the bank and the manager.
NCDRC also asked the bank to deduct at least Rs 50,000 from the manager’s his salary, out of the said compensation.
The bank and the branch manager, however, have denied the allegations and claimed the papers submitted by the couple were not complete.