Posted: August 11, 2017 Filed under: Banking, Credit Cards
Woman duped of Rs 29,000, vishing fraudsters had basic card info
Three people, with basic information about a 38-year-old woman’s credit card, cheated her of Rs 29,000 recently employing a new form of vishing. The woman, an architectural consultant, registered an FIR with Vile Parle police.
Around 11.30am on August 5, the consultant received a call from one Neha, claiming she worked with ICICI’s credit cards division and was aware the consultant’s credit card was to expire later this month.She also knew the new card had been couriered. “I believed Neha to be a genuine employee. She told me reward points worth Rs 9,000 had accumulated on my existing card and would expire unless transferred to my account as an excess credit balance. When I consented, the call was transferred to one Roshan Sharma, who posed as an employee of Payback, a customer loyalty rewards programme,” the consultant said.
Payback has tie-ups with a few banks, its reward points can be used for shopping. Under the pretext of verification, the accused got the consultant to part with all her card details.The line was transferred between Neha, Roshan and a third associate. “Neha told me money would be credited in two or three instalments,” the consultant said. When Rs 14,365 was debited, she asked Neha what was wrong.
“Neha said there was a problem with completing the point transfer. She said Rs 14,365 would be reversed to my account only if I gave details of another Payback-linked card. I gave details from my Bank of India debit card. Another Rs 14,415 was debited. I shouted at them, but they assured me the sum would be reversed into my account,” she said. Roshan gave her the genuine address of Payback’s Mumbai office.
“When they asked for details of a third card, I decided I had enough. I warned them I was going to the police. But they said cops couldn’t touch them,” she said, adding she was on phone with them for 90 minutes. “The money went to an IDEA digital wallet and must have been spent by the accused. Had it gone to a bank account, we could have easily traced them,” a cop said.
Posted: July 1, 2017 Filed under: Banking
Join the #TweetMorcha on Twitter on 4th July at 3 PM – if you care.
Tweet to PM Modi as under
@narendramodi Please direct RBI to instruct Banks to stop fleecing Bank Customers in the guise of BankCharges – #TweetMorcha
Posted: June 26, 2017 Filed under: Banking
Banks won’t compensate you for burglary or theft of your valuables in lockers, reveals RTI query
This bitter truth was disclosed in an RTI response by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and 19 PSU banks.
Stung by the revelation, the lawyer who had sought information under the transparency law has now moved the Competition Commission of India (CCI) alleging “cartelisation” and “anti-competitive practices” by the banks in respect of the locker service.
He has informed the CCI that the RTI response from the RBI has said it has not issued any specific direction in this regard or prescribed any parameters to assess the loss suffered by a customer.
Even under the RTI response all public sectors banks have washed their hands of any responsibility.
According to the information availed by the lawyer, the unanimous reason given by the 19 banks, including Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Punjab National Bank, UCO and Canara, among others, is that “the relationship they have with customers with regard to lockers is that of lessee (landlord) and lessor (tenant)”.
The banks have contended that in such a relationship, the lessor is responsible for his or her valuables kept in the locker which is owned by the bank.
The common feature of all locker hiring agreements states, “As per safe deposit memorandum of hiring locker, the bank will not be responsible for any loss or damage of the contents kept in the safe deposit vault as a result of any act of war or civil disorder or theft or burglary and the contents will be kept by the hirer at his or her sole risk and responsibility.Some banks, in their locker hiring agreements, have made it clear that any item stored in the locker is at the customer’s own risk and he or she may, in their own interest, insure the valuables.
“While the bank will exercise all such normal precautions, it does not accept any liability or responsibility for any loss or damage whatsoever sustained to items deposited with it. Accordingly, hirers are advised in their own interest to insure any item of value deposited in a safe deposit locker in the bank,” they have said.
Aggrieved by the responses, the lawyer — Kush Kalra — raised questions before the CCI — why not just keep the valuables at home after insuring them, instead of paying rent to the bank for a locker when it is not going to take any responsibility for the contents.
He further alleged that all these banks, also including State Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Syndicate Bank, Allahabad Bank and others, have formed a “cartel” to indulge in such “anti-competitive” practices.
He further alleged that the bank by forming an association or cartel are “trying to limit the improvement of services which is directly affecting the competition in the market and interests of the consumer”.
The lawyer has sought a probe under the Competition Act into the allegation of cartelisation by the banks in respect of the locker service.
Posted: May 17, 2017 Filed under: Banking
Banks sometimes disregard the RBI circulars and even the pro vision of law, and overcharge consumers or harass them. An aggrieved consumer can fight for his rights and get justice under the Consumer Protection Act.
Case Study: Neelam Pansari had given premises to State Bank of India on lease for a period of five years. Against this, he had also obtained a loan of Rs15 lakh from the bank, which carried interest at 15
% pa.The loan was to be repaid by depositing 87% of the rental earned each month. When the lease expired, it was renewed for another five years, but the bank hiked the interest rate on the loan to 16% pa, compounded quarterly .
Pansari wrote to the bank against this increase. The bank replied that the issue had been referred to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and a decision would be taken soon. Meanwhile, Pansari kept paying interest at the increased rate. He later came across a circular issued by the RBI which stated that there would be no change in the interest rate of loans sanctioned prior to November 16, 1990. He informed State Bank about this circular, pointing out that that the change in interest rate was not applicable to him as his loan had been sanctioned on November 5, 1990. Since the State Bank did not respond, Pansari sought a clarification from the Reserve Bank, which confirmed that the revision in interest rate was not permissible.
Pansari pointed out that he had been overcharged Rs 3,01,599.50 due to the increase in the interest rate. Pansari approached the Banking Ombudsman who partly upheld his contention. As Pansari was not happy with the Ombudsman’s decision, he approached the Bihar State Consumer Commission. The bank contested the complaint. It upheld the bank’s contention that while renewing the lease it was entitled to revise the interest rate and also calculate the interest on compound basis with quarterly rests.
Pansari appealed to the National Commission, which observed that RBI had communicated in November 1995 that banks would not be entitled to charge interest at quarterly rests in respect of loans availed for payment of rents of premises taken on lease. The reason for this is that the interest on the loan should not exceed the lease rent. If compound interest is permitted, the expense by way of interest would be more than the income from rent, leaving a landlord in perpetual debt. To prevent such a situation, the RBI has not permitted charging of compound interest for loans against leased premises.
Accordingly, by its order of May 12 delivered by M Shreesha for the bench presided over by Justice D K Jain, the National Commission held State Bank liable for deficiency in service, and ordered it to refund the excess amount of Rs 3,01,599.50 along with simple interest at 9% pa. Additionally Rs10,000 was awarded as litigation costs. Four week’s time was given for compliance of the order, else it would carry 12% interest for the period of delay .
Conclusion: Banks must be service oriented and not harass consumers.
ePaper, The Times of India (B’bay) May 15 2017, Page 5 :
(The author is a consumer activist and has won the Govt.of India’s National Youth Award for Consumer Protection. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org)
Posted: April 15, 2017 Filed under: Banking
National Payments Corp of India (NPCI), which is set up as a Section 25 company under the Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of Companies Act 2013), and is seen promoting its Unified Payments Interface (UPI)- based Bharat Interface for Money application (BHIM) app, says it should not held responsible for any loss, claim or damage suffered by the user. What is more shocking are the terms and conditions (T&C)
for the UPI BHIM app from NPCI, which are one sided and affords no protection whatsoever to the end user or consumer.
In its terms and conditions for use of the BHIM UPI app, the company, promoted by 10 banks, says, “NPCI does not hold out any warranty and makes no representation about the quality of the UPI services or BHIM application. The user agrees and acknowledges that NPCI shall not be liable and shall in no way be held responsible for any damages whatsoever whether such damages are direct, indirect, incidental or consequential and irrespective of whether any claim is based on loss of revenue, interruption of business, transaction carried out by the user, information provided or disclosed by issuer bank regarding user’s account(s) or any loss of any character or nature whatsoever and whether sustained by the User or by any other person. While NPCI shall endeavour to promptly execute and process the transactions as instructed to be made by the user, NPCI shall not be responsible for any interruptions, non-response or delay in responding due to any reason whatsoever, including due to failure of operational systems or any requirement of law.”
The T&C of NPCI are not easily available and one needs to search for it. But whatever is stated in the T&C documents, appears completely one-sided. Take for example point 6.2 in the T&C documents, which emphasises that only the user is responsible for any failed transaction or any loss and neither NPCI nor the bank can be held responsible. It says, “NPCI shall not be liable for any loss, claim or damage suffered by the User and/or any other third party arising out of or resulting from failure of any transaction initiated via BHIM App on account of time out transaction i.e. where no response is received from NPCI or the beneficiary bank to the transaction request. NPCI or the beneficiary Bank shall also not be liable for any loss, damage and/or claim arising out of or resulting from wrong beneficiary details, mobile number and/or account details being provided by the User.”
This means, even if NPCI or the bank fails to send the necessary response, it is the user who is liable for the loss. Therefore, NPCI, the developer and promoter of this UPI BHIM app, and banks on its platform, are under no obligation to send responses to these transactions within time. “NPCI shall not be responsible for any electronic or mechanical defect, data failure or corruption, viruses and bugs or related problems that may be attributable to User telecommunication equipment and/ or the Services provided by any Service Provider,” NPCI says.
Remember the Bank of Maharashtra case, where fraudsters siphoned off Rs25 crore from the lender, using a bug in its UPI app? For such kind of misuse, too, NPCI says the payer is responsible. It states, “The Payer is solely responsible for the accuracy and authenticity of the payment instructions issued via BHIM App. Once a payment instruction is issued, the same cannot be subsequently revoked by the Payer. NPCI accepts no liability for any consequences arising from erroneous information provided by Payer in payment instructions.”
Now, let us see what happened in the Bank of Maharashtra case (Read: UPI bug costs Bank of Maharashtra about Rs25 crore
). P Hota, Managing Director and Chief Executive of NPCI, told the Economic Times that the Pune-based bank had procured an UPI solution from a vendor (reported to be city-based InfrasoftTech), which had a bug that resulted in the fund moving out of the accounts without the sender’s account having the necessary funds.
As per the procedure, when the UPI app receives such a request, it sends a query to the other party (customer) and, after obtaining acceptance, it checks fund availability in the UPI-linked bank account. However, the UPI app used by Bank of Maharashtra sent two messages to NPCI, one as ‘success’ and other as ‘error:insufficient funds’. In these fraudulent transactions, NPCI only read the first message and cleared the payment.
This is an interesting situation because the money was taken from accounts which did not have necessary funds. So, who will bear the loss? As per NPCI’s T&C, it cannot be the company or the bank, but the user. However, in this case, the user was not even aware about this fund transfer. In addition, NPCI is not under any obligation to keep a record of instructions, making the job of the investigation agencies difficult.
In its T&C documents, NPCI states that it has no liability or obligation to keep a record of the instructions to provide information to the user or for verifying the instructions. “All instructions, requests, directives, orders, directions, carried out by the User via BHIM App, are based upon the User’s decisions and are the sole responsibility of the User,” it says.
After making claims that over one crore users have downloaded the BHIM app from Google Play Store, the government is now trying to boost its actual use. The government has come out with a customer referral scheme
, which promises to pay Rs10 per reference to the referrer and Rs25 for the new user for downloading and transacting from BHIM app. But this will happen only on completion of three unique transactions of Rs50 in total to any three unique customers or merchants.
Posted: April 7, 2017 Filed under: Banking
Should citizens be expected to read the fine print every time the prime minister makes a public promise?
The Indian government’s top legal officer told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promises made in an address to the nation don’t matter if his government doesn’t stick to them in the legal notification that follows. The court was questioning the government’s decision to close the window allowing all people to swap older Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in the aftermath of Modi’s demonetisation announcement on November 8, 2016.
“If the PM has made the announcement in television that deposit can be done till March-end next year  but subsequent law says one can’t do so, the law will prevail but not PM’s statement,” said attorney general Mukul Rohatgi in court, according to LiveLaw.in.
Modi, in his November 8 announcement, said that everyone would be free to deposit their old notes in local banks until December 30, 2016. Following this, those who are not able to deposit their old notes for whatever reason “can go to specified offices of the Reserve Bank of India up to 31st March 2017”.
When the government issued an ordinance, however, it prohibited most Indians from being able to deposit their older notes after December 30. The only people permitted to still do so until March 31 are Non-Resident Indians and citizens who were abroad between November 8 and December 30, 2016.
This left a number of people in the lurch, prompting the filing of several Public Interest Litigation suits asking how the government could go back on its decision after the prime minister promised the window would remain open. The Supreme Court has now given the government until April 11 to submit a detailed explanation of why it decided to shut the note-swap window ahead of time.
Click Here for the full story from Scroll.in
Posted: March 26, 2017 Filed under: Banking
Karthik Srinivasan, a Digital Marketer from Bangalore was going through his email when he discovered that HDFC Bank had been charging him Rs 100 per quarter for a program he never signed up for.
On delving deeper, he discovered that the service was an opt-out program that had been activate for his account without his express consent. Worse still, the opting out requires a member to actually read their spam-like banking emails, from top to bottom, discover the fine print that states that the offer is an opt-out one and then click on a link to opt-out of the service.
But what’s Rs 400, right? That still doesn’t equate to hundreds of crores of rupees.
Rashmi R. Padhy took to Medium to break down why the money is real and why this is indeed a scam.
Pointing to VAS (Value-Added-Service) fraud that was prevalent some years ago, Padhy notes that telcos used to offer VAS as “free” trials. After the trial was over, these telcos would charge you for the service and keep doing so until you opted out.
The value of the transactions was small, but scaled up, the telcos likely earned in hundreds, if not thousands of crores. The rising number of complaints caught the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai) attention and the practice was halted.
HDFC Bank appears to be doing the same thing. The bank essentially upgrades you to a free Classic / Preferred Banking trial program without your consent and then charges you Rs 100 — plus service tax — per quarter till you opt out.
Since most people would not read the mailer that explains all this and since the price isn’t placed up front, most people will not opt-out because they simply don’t know.
Padhy breaks down the calculations as follows. Charging 1.2 Cr customers a fee of Rs 400 a year, HDFC is set to earn upwards of Rs 400 Cr a year. For free, without the explicit consent of its members.
The calculation may not be as cut and dried as Padhy puts it and the numbers might be much lower. This doesn’t, however, change the fact that the program is inherently fraudulent. And other banks might soon follow suit, if they haven’t already.
As heinous as the practice might seem, it is currently perfectly legal for it to do what it’s doing.
Most people may not even be aware of the service or the charge. A charge of Rs 400 a year can easily get lost in the tens of thousands of transactions that we perform every year. And how many of us actually peruse through our monthly bank statements in that much detail anyway? Many more of us probably delete bank mails the moment they arrive in the first place.
Srinivasan did not take this charge laying down. On discovering the charge, an average person might simply have opted out, vented a bit on social media and left it at that. Srinivasan is, however made of more Gandhian stuff. As Office Chai puts it, Srinivasan is now on an online ‘satyagraha’ to get HDFC Bank to apologise for trying to scam its customers in such a way.
Click Here for the detailed full story