KASARGOD: The Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered SBI to pay Rs 13,000 to a customer for taking out Rs 3,480 from his account without consent or knowledge. The bank justified the debit as charges for ATM withdrawal, but the forum found it violated its guidelines on service fees and dismissed it.
According to complainant Abdul Rahiman Aloor, on June 30, 2015, he went to Mangaluru to admit his son Ahammed Rishad in an engineering college. He had Rs 15,000 in his account. After admission, when he tried to withdraw to pay the fee of Rs 12,000, he found his money missing.
He called up the manager of the branch in Kasaragod but the official took no step to return the money. So, Rahiman filed a complaint with the forum on July 4, 2015. On July 6, 2015, when he went to the bank, Rahiman said he was verbally abused in front of other customers, a charge denied by the bank. Later, SBI credited the amount back in Rahiman’s account. Before the forum, the bank justified the “unauthorised debit” saying only 30 withdrawals in six months from ATMs were free of charge, and withdrawals above that were charged at Rs 6 per ATM transaction. If the account lacked adequate funds, the money will be debited in lumpsum.
However, a look at the Know Your Customer guidelines submitted by the bank to the forum said SBI had misread the guidelines, said Rahiman. “The cap of 30 withdrawals was for transactions using cheques or other instruments. It did not apply to ATM withdrawals as the bank charge us Rs 23 every time we withdraw money from other bank ATMs or exceed the limit set for a month,” he said.
The forum rejected the bank’s justification saying it was a system generated debit and there was no manual intervention. “Whether it is a computer-generated system entry or manual is irrelevant... The data system has to be entered according to the guidelines,” the order said. The Forum ordered the bank to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation for the mental agony caused, and Rs 3,000 for the litigation cost.