Consumer forum orders HDFC Bank to refund hefty amount charged illegally from a credit card holder
Ahmedabad, 28th November, 2012
In a case that exposes unfair trade practice adopted by a leading private sector bank, which charged a hefty amount from its credit card holder by wrongly interpreting rules despite timely payment of the due, The Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Ahmedabad (Additional) has ordered the bank to return the amount with interest from the day it was collected. The case was filed by Consumer Education and Research Society (CERS) on behalf of a city resident Dipak Sheth on 8 September 2009. The Forum issued its ruling on 22 October 2012.
Dipak got issued a credit card from the Bodakdev branch of HDFC Bank in 2005. Later on, he shopped worth Rs. 3,786 in December 2005 using his credit card. The payment for the credit card bill was due on 27 January 2006 and he deposited a cheque of UCO bank, Ahmedabad branch, on 24 January 2006. The check was realised on 31 January 2006 due to which HDFC Bank charged a late fee of Rs. 275. This fee was refunded afterwards. However, the bank also charged Rs. 110 towards outstation collection fee and Rs. 89 as finance charge, which was not refunded despite repeated requests by the client. The bank also collected Rs. 8,043 from the savings bank account of the card holder against his due of Rs. 199. No attention was paid to Sheth’s plea for refund of this amount charged illegally.
Dipak approached CERS about this kind of unfair practice by HDFC Bank. CERS moved to the consumer forum seeking refund of the amount along with interest. The forum ordered the private sector bank to refund Rs. 8,050 along with interest at the rate 9 percent from the day it was collected i.e. on 3 June 2008 and also to pay Rs. 1,500 to the complainant as compensation for the mental agony he has faced and Rs. 1,500 towards the litigation cost.
For further information please contact Ms. Pritee Shah (O) 079-27489945/46
There are many covenants and indemnity bonds the developer has to agree to, with the members in order to have a smooth redevelopment process. The following are some of them :
- The developer should agree to carry out the redevelopment work in accordance with the DC regulations, BMC, MHADA Act and all the other concerned authorities. The society will not be responsible for any breach, if any, committed by the developer.
- The developer must give a Bank Guarantee before commencing redevelopment
- There must be a tri-partite agreement between the developer, the Society and the Member, which should protect the Society and Member interests totally.
- The developer should also indemnify the society/the members against objection, if any, raised by any of the concerned authorities.
- The developer should carry out demolition of the existing structure and construction work at his own cost. If there is no demolition, and the construction is to be carried out in a space adjoining or between the existing buildings, the developer must indemnify the Society and its members in case of any damage to the existing structures.
- Even if the demolition is to be carried out, the developer must keep the Society indemnified in case of any damage to the adjoining or nearby buildings, even if they do not belong to the Society.
- The developer should bear all the expenses for submission of the plans, amended building plans, getting the approval, architects and consultants fees and other costs, charges and expenses related thereto
- The developer should obtain insurance of the labour, workers and all others and indemnify and keep indemnifying the society from or against loss, damages due to inaction or otherwise, on part of the developer, from starting the demolition of the existing building and till the members re-occupy their new flats in the newly constructed building.
- The complete installation which the developer is to undertake for his on-site power supply, shall conform to the Indian Electricity Rules 1966 and Indian Electricity Act 1910, with latest amendments and specifications. The developer shall provide, at his own cost, portable generators to maintain regular power supply for his operations, in case of disruption of power supply. The developer should indemnify the society from any liability, either legal or financial, for damages or delay caused to the developer on account of failure of power supply.
- The developer should provide indemnity bonds for the project. The developer should, throughout the period of development, keep indemnifying the society against all actions, suits, costs, charges, expenses, damages, etc., resulting on account of any act of omission or any breach, delay or default on his part in developing the said property or any rules and regulations, terms and conditions or otherwise.
- Lastly, the developer should not make any claims on the basis of the present Development Agreement after the expiry of the 24 months, till the separate agreement is signed with the society.
ARE GOVT. GUIDELINES REALLY PERSUASIVE AND CONVINCING?
With a view to ensure transparency in Societies seeking to undertake redevelopment projects, the Government of Maharashtra had issued a Circular bearing No. CHS 2007/CR554/14-C, Co-operation, Marketing and Textiles Department Date: 3rd January 2009 this contains a Directive under Section 79 (A) of Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act 1960 for all the Co-operative Housing Societies in the State of Maharashtra regarding the Redevelopment of Buildings of Co-operative Housing Societies. These guidelines are applicable wherever the buildings of Co-operative Housing Societies in the State of Maharashtra are being redeveloped on a large scale. Continue reading Redevelopment – Are Govt. Guidelines really persuasive and convincing ?
Limit fixed for transfer fee,
Donation or any other charges not allowed
The law is very clear as to how much transfer fee can be charged in co-operative housing societies on a transfer of flat. The Commissioner for Co-operation and Registrar Co-operative Society, Maharashtra, has issued two circulars, clarifying the matter. The circular contains the table of maximum allowable transfer fee and clearly states that no further amount can be taken as donation. For the clarity and information the circulars are reproduced here in below.
Office of the Commissioner for Co-operation and Registrar, C.S. Maharashtra State, Pune.
Circular No. Grihnirman /Gala Tabdil/FFC/89 dated 27th Nov. 1989.
Sub : To increase the amount of premium to be paid on transfer flats.
There is a provisions in bye-law No. 40 (d) (7) of the new model bye-laws published premium maximum upto Rs. 1000/- to be paid to the society is less as compared to the person, he will have to pay the fee as transfer premium as mentioned below. Necessary amendment to bye-law No. 40 (d) (7) may be made accordingly and then executed by the societies.
2. It is therefore requested to bring to the notice of all co-operative housing societies falling under your jurisdiction, theinstructions contained in the above said circular and accordingly, to give instructions to the societies to make amendments to their bye-laws at appropriate places.
Area under Maximum premium
To be paid
1) Municipal Corporation & Development Authorities Rs. 25,000/-
2) ‘A’ Class Municipalities Rs. 20,000/-
3) ‘B’ Class Municipalities Rs. 15,000/-
4) ‘C’ Class Municipalities Rs. 10,000/-
5) Rural Sector Rs. 5,000/-
For Commissioner for Corporation & Registration C.S., M.S., Pune.
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The consumer forum directed the bank to issue a no-dues certificate to Delhi-resident Vinay Chola and to reconsider a fresh card for him. The forum also awarded him compensation of Rs25,000 towards litigation charges and harassment caused to him
The New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) to pay Rs25,000 as compensation to one of its former credit card holders for not getting his name removed from a defaulters list even after he cleared all his dues.
The consumer forum observed that once the card holder paid all the dues, the bank should have closed the accounts and informed the Credit Information Bureau (India) (CIBIL) that nothing was outstanding.
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CERS helps buyer get refund of amount charged illegally as Service Tax by Builder.
Ahmedabad, January 23rd 2013: Exposing fraudulent practice adopted by builder community to fetch extra amount from the buyers, Consumer Education & Research Society (CERS) has won a case against an Ahmedabad based builder, who had illegally charged an amount of Rs. 28,800 on the pretext of service tax in the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Ahmedabad (City). The Forum ordered the builder to pay the complainant the amount charged as service tax with 9% interest along with a compensation of Rs. 5,000 for the mental agony caused and Rs. 2,000 towards litigation costs involved. The amount involved had been collected as service tax from a gullible buyer of a flat on the pretext of providing services in the premises despite the fact that the buyer was not liable to pay it as he was not the owner of the flat when the said service was provided and more importantly, the builder never deposited the amount of service tax to the concerned government department.
As per the case details, Rahul M. Talwaria, resident of Chandkheda area of the city, purchased a flat from Deluxe Purohit Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. Representatives from Deluxe Purohit Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd collected an amount of Rs. 28,800 on October 2, 2006, from Rahul towards service tax for the flat in question. About two years after paying this as service tax, Rahul came to know that he was not liable to pay the amount of service tax, as the flat was not transferred on his name when the services were provided. Citing this reason, when Rahul asked for the refund of the money, the builder refused bluntly saying the amount had already been deposited to the service tax department.
But when Rahul sought information in this regard from the concerned office under the provision of the RTI act, he realized the builder had never deposited the amount and also the fact that there was no account of the builder in the service tax department.
As a result of this repeated refusal from the builder, Rahul approached CERS and after verifying the facts, they filed a case against the builder in the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Ahmedabad (City).
No representative of the builder attended the hearing of the case and finally the consumer forum gave a ruling in favor of CERS.
For further information please contact Ms Pritee Shah (O) 079-27489945/46
You would have heard and read about how the young average age of the Indian population is advantageous for the Indian economy. While there is no doubt about this being true, it is expected that this average will increase in the future leading to a larger population in the 60+ age group making retirement planning more important than it is currently considered in India. According to the latest UNFPA report, the number of Indians above 60 years is expected to rise to 55% by 2050. The longevity of life is also expected to increase with a more active post-retirement life owing to betterment in medical facilities.
This means that tomorrow’s retirees will have a longer retirement life and must therefore accumulate a bigger corpus for their sunset years. The way to ensure this is, good retirement planning.
The New Pension Scheme (NPS) launched by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) in 2009 is an answer to the 401 (K) retirement scheme in USA. NPS is essentially a Government approved pension scheme for Indian citizens in the 18-60 age group. It is mandatory for central and state government employees to subscribe to this scheme, while it is optional for others. Since being launched in 2009, the scheme has gone through a lot of changes in process of making it more popular. The current features of this scheme are as follows: –
The scheme offers two kinds of accounts namely, Tier I and Tier II accounts. Tier I account is mandatory for a subscriber of the NPS, whereas Tier II account is optional in nature. One can open a Tier II account only if he has a Tier I account. Major difference between the two accounts is that in Tier I account, there are restrictions on withdrawal whereas, a subscriber is free to withdraw money from the Tier II account.
The minimum annual contribution for Tier I account is Rs. 6000, which can be paid at once or in installments of at least Rs. 500. The minimum contribution in Tier II is Rs. 250 per transaction and at the end of a year, the minimum balance in this account should be Rs. 2000 or else the subscriber is liable to pay a fine.
Click Here for the full detailed article, along with Tax Benefits, Norms of Withdrawal, Charges, FAQs, etc.
LEGAL & TECHNICAL INTROSPECTION :
1. WHO OWNS THE CHS PARKING SPACE ?
2. CAN THE MC REFUSE TO ALLOT PARKING SPACES to its members ?
3. WHAT IS THE TYPICAL PARKING CHARGES LEVIED BY CHS ?
4. WHAT IS A “PENALTY” ?
5. RESPONSIBILITY OF PARKING SPACES ?
6. CAN PARKING DEPOSIT BE COLLECTED ?
7. HOW TO ALLOT PARKING SPACES ?
Click Here for all the answers …………
Keep Smiling …. Hemant Agarwal
CERS lodges protest against Electricity Companies transferring burden of inferior coal on consumers
Requests GERC to direct generation companies to claim losses Coal India and other suppliers
Ahmedabad, 1st February 2013: Consumer Education Research Society (CERS) has lodged a protest before Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) against power generating companies transferring the financial burden of receiving inferior quality coal on its consumers by charging them illegally. The power generating companies in Gujarat have been receiving inferior quality of coal from Coal India Ltd, which has led to an increase in the requirement of coal from 0.6 kg/kWh to 0.75 kg/kWh (increase of 25%); for which the incurred losses are being offset by charging the electricity consumers of Gujarat. Earlier these power generating companies collected a huge amount from consumers for 6-8% loss of coal in Railway transit (from Coal mines to power plants), which is now restricted to only 0.8% after the implementation of Electricity Act. CERS has requested Hon’ble Commission to direct generation companies to claim losses from Coal India Ltd and other coal suppliers, rather unjustifiably and illegally charging consumers. CERS has stated that power companies resort to this since they find it easier to burden consumers than to recover amount from the coal suppliers.
CERS has made following study to strengthen its case:
|Grade of Coal
||Gross Calorific Value of Coal in Kcal/kWh
||Pithead price of coal in Rs/MT
|| Above 6200
|| Up to 2400
Normally coal of D and E grade is required to generate electricity in power plants. It is shocking that Gujarat generation companies sign contract to purchase ‘D’ grade of coal and receive E grade coal. This increases the consumption of coal, Thereby increasing cost per unit generation and burdening consumers. The cost of coal increases by Rs. 2000-2500 per Metric Ton due to Railway freight charges, as coal is received in Gujarat from distance of more than 1000-1200 kms.
In recent tariff petition filed by two generating companies of Gujarat they have claimed recovery of huge amount due to receipt of poor & inferior quality of coal which has been opposed by CERS. The state owned power generation company, Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Ltd (GSECL) has claimed recovery of Rs. 160.69 crores from consumers due to its inefficiency and receiving inferior quality of coal compared to contracted grade of coal. Similarly Torrent Power Ltd has claimed a loss of Rs. 62.0 crores from its consumers for getting inferior quality of coal. This increase in fuel cost is recovered by electricity companies through GERC approved formula under Fuel Price & Power Purchase Adjustment Charges (FPPPA). Gujarat is the first to introduce FPPPA formula other States have implemented this formula from 1st April 2012 , after directives from Appellate Tribunal for Electricity.
CERS states that situation is not different in other state of India where consumers are being burdened due to receipt of short supply of coal and inferior quality of coal. The power generation companies in collaboration with Coal India Ltd exploit consumers with State Electricity Regulatory Commissions being silent spectators.
For more information, please contact Mr K.K.Bajaj on +91-9374103578