BANGALORE: The District Consumer Forum has held a private bank guilty of not closing the loan account of a customer even after he had repaid the entire loan.
The forum was hearing a complaint filed by Ashok Patil, a resident of Vijayanagar, who had obtained a loan from the bank to buy a vehicle. Patil, in his complaint, said he had paid all the equated monthly instalments (EMIs) and then approached the bank for the final settlement. He said he was shocked when the bank authorities informed him that he still had to pay Rs 35,922 and gave him a statement of his account.
Upon verification, it was found that the bank had imposed a penalty for cheque bouncing, and charges for late payment in spite of receiving every instalment in cash on the due dates. In all, a total sum of Rs 35,922 was shown as arrears. The complainant alleged that the bank refused to give the no-dues certificate and close the loan account. Hence, he moved the forum against the bank.
The bank, in reply to the complaint, contended that the complainant had failed to adhere to the discipline of repayment of monthly instalments, and that some standing instructions were dishonoured for paucity of funds. Even the payments made were not on the agreed dates, the bank said.
The forum, after considering the arguments of both the sides, observed that the contention of the bank was very vague and that it did not clearly state which payments were made late, which cheques had bounced, and how it was entitled to claim the cheque bounce and delayed payment charges.
Hence, the forum held that the complainant had repaid the entire loan through 60 monthly instalments as agreed. As he has repaid the entire amount, it was the duty of the bank to issue the no-dues certificate and return the original documents. Failure to do so clearly amounted to deficiency in service, it said.
The forum has now asked the bank to return the original documents and issue the no-dues certificate. It has also imposed a cost of Rs 5,000 on the bank.