Bank transfers ₹48k to wrong account, held guilty for ‘careless’ transaction

Holding Canara Bank guilty of carrying out a careless real-time gross settlement (RTGS) transfer through which Rs. 48,000 was sent to the wrong account, the state consumer commission recently said it cannot solely depend on the account number and transfer amounts without cross-checking names of the beneficiary, branch and city where the branch is.

Pradeep Tripathi, from Parel, found that the money he wanted transferred to the account of a business supplier in Chandigarh was sent to the account of an unknown person in Hyderabad. The bank was recently ordered to refund the amount along with a compensation of around Rs32,000.

A district forum had ruled in Tripathi’s favour in June 2018. But the bank moved an appeal before Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

The commission upheld the district forum order. “The forum rightly held that the correct account number was written by the complainant (Tripathi) on the RTGS transfer slip but opponent (Canara Bank) did not verify before making the transfer and had done it carelessly, and transferred the amount to a different account. The forum correctly held that the complainant was not responsible for the mistake by the bank and it was guilty and responsible for the deficiency in service,” the state commission said.

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Tripathi told the commission that after he realised his money was wrongly transferred, he informed the bank, and told it to credit the amount back in his account, but it was not done. Tripathi said he moved the district forum in 2015 after his efforts for a favourable solution from the banking ombudsman failed.

The bank claimed Tripathi provided the wrong account number, which was clear from the RTGS slip. But the state commission said it had gone through the main copy of the slip and found that the number ‘6’ in the account number seemed to have been corrected as ‘8’ by overwriting. It observed that there was no initial or authentication for the correction.


“In normal case, the bank never accepts such overwriting without any initial or authentication. Therefore, the overwriting or correction is done subsequently, and not by the complainant,” the commission said.

It said this was obvious from the acknowledgement slip given to Tripathi with the bank stamp and seal, which showed the wrong account number without any correction or overwriting.

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Patient can seek refund if clinic is shifted

Chain clinics usually open branches throughout the city on premises taken on lease. If a clinic is shifted, can the patient be compelled to continue treatment at another branch or would the patient have the right to demand a refund? This unique case was recently decided by the Maharashtra State Commission.
 
Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, having its main office at Worli, had set up a chain of clinics. In 2011, Aziz Ahmed Jadwet took his children Maryam and Kauser to the Mantralaya centre for orthodontic treatment.
 
After consulting Dr. Neesu, Jadwet was advised to deposit Rs 41,000 for Maryam and Rs 36,000 for Kauser, which he did.
 
Meanwhile, the Mantralaya centre shut down. On making inquiries, Aziz was told Dr Neesu would treat the children at the Goregaon centre. Since this was inconvenient, Aziz sought a refund, but his request was rejected.
 
Aziz filed a complaint before the Central Mumbai District Forum, which held Metropolis guilty of deficiency in service and ordered it to refund the deposit along with 9% interest from November 24, 2015 onward along with Rs 10,000 compensation and Rs 10,000 litigation costs.
 
Metropolis appealed against this order. Jadwet, who appeared in person, argued the distance between the two centres was about 35 km, and it would be inconvenient for his school going children to travel to Goregaon. The Maharashtra State Commission concurred with Jadwet. It agreed with the District Forum’s view that the failure to refund money constituted a deficiency in service.
 
By its order (March 5), delivered by justice A P Bhangale along with Dr. S K Kakade, the State Commission upheld the Forum’s order and dismissed the appeal with further Rs 5,000 cost payable by Metropolis to Jadwet Impact:A patient cannot be compelled to travel long distances to a clinic. If the change in location is inconvenient, a demand for refund is justified.
 
Jehangir B Gai
ePaper, The Times of India, Bombay, Monday, April 8, 2019, Page 8:
(The author is a consumer activist and has won the Govt. of India’s National Youth Award for Consumer Protection. His email is jehangir.gai.columnist  @outlook.in )

Beware of “Internet Handling Charges”; RTI reveals Book My Show is NOT authorised to charge any such fee

khabarbar.com
Book My Show – PVR

Booking movie tickets online through an application on your mobile phone or a website on your computer has only come as a boon to many frequent cinema goers. However, ever wondered if the “Internet Handling Charges” that we pay are legally chargeable?

An RTI query with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reveals that the platforms providing movie ticket booking services do not have any authority to levy handling fees on customers and that they are in violation of the RBI’s Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) regulations. Online film ticketing majors are fleecing movie buffs by charging them a whopping Rs. 35.20 on each ticket booked online through their websites and apps.

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According to an activist Mr. Devaranjan,

“AS PER NORMS, THESE COMPANIES DO NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO LEVY INTERNET HANDLING FEES ON CUSTOMERS. THIS IS A CLEAR VIOLATION OF RBI’S MERCHANT DISCOUNT RATE(MDR) REGULATIONS.”

“THEY ARE COLLECTING THIS AMOUNT IN THE NAME OF AN ‘INTERNET HANDLING FEE’, VIOLATING THE NORMS OF THE RESERVE BANK OF INDIA,” SAID SOME OTHER ACTIVISTS.

The MDR is a payment gateway fee paid by merchants to the bank for accepting payments via debit or credit cards. As per the RBI, this fee has to be paid to banks by merchants for internet-based online transactions.

Image result for bookmyshow transaction fees rti

“HOWEVER, THIS FEE IS BEING COLLECTED FROM CONSUMERS BY ONLINE TICKET BOOKING PORTALS. MANY ONLINE TICKETING COMPANIES LIKE BOOKMYSHOW COLLECT ILLEGAL FEES FROM THE CUSTOMERS,” DEVARANJAN ADDED.

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Flat buyer can claim refund if he doesn’t get possession in time

Subsequently, a Letter of Intent (LoI) was issued on May 22, 2012, promising possession within 36 months. Sharma paid Rs 58,65,000 more as demanded.

The Authority failed to deliver possession within the promised period. So Sharma sent a letter on July 1, 2016 seeking a refund of the entire amount paid by him, but his request was ignored.

Instead, a letter backdated June 30, 2016, was sent on July 4, 2016, offering possession of the apartment, but Sharma did not take possession. After a few months, the Authority sent a letter agreeing to refund the money without interest, subject to a deduction of

10% of the total price paid.

Sharma then filed a complaint before the Punjab State Commission, which was contested by the Authority.

The Commission overruled the objection raised by the Authority that the dispute should be referred to arbitration or a civil court, and held the consumer fora were competent to adjudicate the dispute. It concluded a consumer who is not given possession in time has a right to seek a refund. Accordingly, it directed the Authority to refund the entire amount along with 8% compound interest. In addition, Rs 50,000 was awarded as compensation and Rs 21,000 as litigation costs.

The Authority appealed against this order. The National Commission scrutinized the postal receipts and the envelopes and found the letter sent by the Authority had been despatched on July 4, 2016, but had been backdated to June 30, 2016, to make it appear it was sent a day prior to Sharma’s letter dated July 1, 2016.

Accordingly, by its order of January 2, 2019, delivered by the bench of Justice R K Agrawal and Justice M Shreesha, the National Commission dismissed the Authority’s appeal.

Conclusion: A flat purchaser can seek a refund along with interest and compensation if possession is delayed. Such a demand could be made at any time prior to the issuance of letter offering possession.

(The author is a consumer activist and has won the Govt.of India’s National Youth Award for Consumer Protection. His email is jehangir.gai.columnist@outlook.in )

Jehangir B Gai

ePaper, The Times of India, Bombay, Monday, January 07, 2019, Page 4:

Can a Bank be held deficient in services if its ATM does not dispense Cash for the reason “Cash not available”?

A consumer Court in Raipur has recently imposed a penalty of Rs.2500/- on SBI for exactly the same reason overruling 🎯the arguments of SBI that
1) the complainant was not its customer and
2) failure of internet connectivity is not within its ambit, rather it is upon the internet service provider against whom, any complaint if any, should lie.

The Forum countered SBI by saying that when Banks are charging for usage of ATMs for a whole year in advance and a client is Free to use any ATM he automatically becomes a customer.

The second point was countered with the reasoning that when the ATM itself was showing “No Cash Available” on 3 different dates and times how it can be a case of internet failure? Moreover, when customers are penalised for no balance or less than minimum balance in their accounts, how can a Bank get away with no cash in the ATM?

It being the first such judgement for ATM failure, it is expected to generate a lot of interest in the matter.

The incident happened in May 2017, complaint filed in June 2017 and the verdict was passed recently.
It’s a reminder to our banker friends here to be more careful in loading Cash in ATMs especially before consecutive holidays to escape such penalty as well as customer dissatisfaction.
As received.

Courtesy N Sankarapandian Natarajan in SBI Pensioners group💐🙏

Doctor Fails AIIMS Entrance, Sues Coaching Centre, Gets Rs 32K: What Students Need to Know!

In what could be possibly construed as a warning to such institutes, a medical coaching centre was sued by a former student who claimed that it did not prep him well enough to crack the entrance test for AIIMS.

Various coaching centres continue to mushroom in different parts of the country. While many provide their students with exposure to good material and teaching staff, several others make lofty claims but fail to deliver.

In what could be possibly construed as a warning to such institutes, a medical coaching centre was sued by a former student who claimed that it did not prep him well enough to crack the entrance test for AIIMS.

In 2014, R Sankara Rao completed his Bachelor’s in Medicine and enrolled for medical coaching at the Bhatia Medical Institute in Chikkadpally, Hyderabad.
Photo Source

Before joining the course, Sankara was given an entire list of topics that would be covered. Additionally, he had enrolled at the centre on the assurance that renowned pathologist Dr Devesh Mishra would conduct classes.

However, for the entire duration that Sankara was at the centre, Dr Mishra never conducted any class. Furthermore, he alleged that the institute didn’t cover all the topics that were mentioned in the syllabus.

Sankara mentioned the above incidents in his petition to the District Consumer Forum. Additionally, he added that due to the centre’s negligent behaviour not only was he unable to clear the AIIMS entrance examination but also wasted his time and money. The coaching fees that Sankara had paid was approximately Rs 45,000.

The coaching center on their part refuted all the allegations and also said that more topics were covered than mentioned to Sankara.
Delhi- govt-scheme-coaching
Representational Image only.

On November 15, 2018, the District Consumer Forum ruled in favour of Sankara and held the institute responsible for keeping Rao ‘disgruntled and dissatisfied,’ and ordered it to return the fees of the student along with a compensation of Rs 32,000.

The order by the consumer forum read, “The opposite parties are only coaching institutes, and when they promise a certain standard, it should be observed carefully. That the complainant should obtain a seat in AIIMS is certainly not their responsibility, but the path towards the flat goal should not be hindered by not delivering.”

In 2013, Abhivyakti Verma, a student who was preparing for her HSC exams, took on the Oxford Tutors Academy, an Andheri-based tutoring centre, for failing to provide promised services. The consumer court ruled in her favour, and the centre was slapped with a fine of Rs 3.64 lakh.

If you are enrolled in a coaching center and feel that the center is not fulfilling its promises, do consider taking legal action against them.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

https://www.thebetterindia.com/166440/medical-entrance-exam-aiims-compensation-news-india/

How Government Agencies Harass Consumers through Endless Litigation

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It is not for nothing that Indian courts are clogged and government is the biggest litigant. What is worse, the actions of government agencies in shirking responsibility for deficient service actually ends up harassing the people, tantamount to using public money with no accountability.
Whenever a complaint is filed against a government department, the standard ploy to evade accountability is to claim that the complainant is not a ‘consumer’ within the definition of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (COPRA). If nothing else, it ensures a delay in legal proceedings while the court first decides this issue.
Until recently, every one of us had to engage with the post-office for multiple reasons. In the initial years after COPRA came into force, any complaint against the postal authorities used to be brushed aside on the claim that post-office was doing duty as a part of the government and no action can be taken against the government.
Over the years, it has been settled that when a government agency is not performing a sovereign duty, but providing services of commercial nature, it cannot hide behind the cloak of sovereignty and shirk its responsibility towards its consumers.
Let’s look at some examples of how government agencies harass consumers by dodging responsibility and delaying grievance resolution.
Late Rama Chandra Jain had purchased 692 Indira Vikas Patras (IVP) in the name of his sons, daughters, etc, from the head post-office at Bolangir (Odisha). He lost all the 692 IVPs and reported it to the local police station on 25 June 2001. This, in turn, was intimated to superintendent of post-office, Bolangir, requesting it to stay payment of the maturity value of the lost IVPs until the claim was properly verified.
The deceased Mr Jain had also purchased 88 IVPs in favour of his son, the complainant in this case. On maturity of these 88 IVPs, the complainant raised a demand of Rs8,80,000 towards maturity value. The claim was rejected by the post-office citing some rules.
A complaint was filed in the district forum which ruled in favour of the son, on the basis of a precedent in the case of Ram Nath Mathuria vs Union of India in RP No. 1725/2001 decided by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) in March 2002.
In that case, it had been held that “in the absence of any other claim on the basis of the original IVPs, maturity value should be released in favour of the claimants after taking an indemnity bond to secure interest of the department.”
Accordingly, the district forum directed the post-office to release payment of the maturity value of 88 IVPs amounting to Rs880,000 to the complainant on his furnishing an indemnity bond within 35 days of the order. For any delay in payment, a penalty of Rs20 per day would be imposed until realisation.
The post-office filed an appeal before the state commission; this was dismissed on 30 December 2016 because representatives of the post-office failed to turn up for hearings before the commission. Shockingly, the post-office then filed a writ petition before the Odisha High Court in 2017 against the order of the state commission. As was to be expected, the Court dismissed the writ petition as withdrawn, since it was misconceived. That didn’t end the matter. The post-office again filed a miscellaneous case before the state commission which, too, was dismissed on 13 April 2018.
Once again, notwithstanding the pain inflicted on the complainant, the post-office had the temerity to file a revision petition in NCDRC against the state commission’s order.
The counsel for the post-office contended that complainant was not a consumer and, hence, no deficiency in service had been committed by the post-office. As such, the complaint was not maintainable.
But, remember, the district forum had already given a detailed order covering this issue and had even referred to an NCDRC order of 2002 on the subject.
NCDRC noted that there was no other claimant for the said amount; but the post-office could verify and take due precautions like indemnity bond, etc, for securing its interests and directed it to pay at least the maturity value to the complainant, after having failed in the several rounds of litigation.
In 2002, NCDRC had elaborately discussed a similar matter and directed the postal department to release the money, as sufficient time had elapsed since the date of maturity. Therefore, NCDRC concluded that it was clear that there was no error in the order passed by the district forum.
The sad part is that a hapless consumer, who was a customer of the post-office, was dragged through various rounds of litigation by an obdurate government agency for no fault of his (Superintendent of Post Office, Bolongir vs Jambu Kumar Jain, Rourkela—NCDRC order dated 11/09/2018).
Another case involves the regional provident fund commissioner’s office, Haryana (RPFC) and a provident fund (PF) subscriber. The subscriber filed a complaint against the RPFC on the ground that his pension had been wrongly fixed as Rs551 per month instead of Rs835 per month as per the Employees Pension Scheme, 1995. The complainant claimed that he was a member of Employees Provident Fund Scheme, 1995, for more than 35 years; therefore, he was entitled to the maximum benefit under the Scheme.  After hearing both parties, the district forum, on 25 August 2003, observed that the minimum monthly pension will be Rs 335 plus Rs500 adding up to Rs835 and not Rs551.
The order also directed the RPFC to re-examine the complainant’s case on the basis of a notification by the labour ministry on 16 November 1995. The RPFC was ordered to comply with the consumer forum’s order within 30 days. When the RPFC failed to comply with the order, the district forum issued bailable warrants of Rs5,000 with one surety for the like amount on 1 May 2006. RPFC filed a revision petition before the state commission against both orders; but it was also dismissed.
RPFC then filed a revision petition before NCDRC which heard counsel for RPFC including a request to condone a 246-day delay in filing the petition. Although NCDRC condoned the delay through its order of December 2008, it imposed a cost of Rs10,000 on RPFC.
NCDRC noted that the primary issue involved was to re-fix the complainant’s pension as per directions of the district forum. However, it noted that application for condonation of delay made two things very clear. One, that the department had agreed to abide by the order of the state commission and fix the pension as per the order of the district forum. Secondly, that the revision petition was based on the notification dated 15.6.2007 which was perhaps not available before the district forum or the state commission. Since the notification was a new ground that had been taken up by RPFC in the revision petition, it could not be considered at that stage. Finding no merit in the revision petition, NCDRC dismissed it.
Once again, it is the hapless consumer who was made to run from one forum to another due to the dilatory tactics adopted by a government department with public money.
While we correctly raise a hue and cry for poor service rendered by private companies, the fact is that government departments, often, fail the consumer even more because of the ineptitude, lack of accountability and high-handedness of government babus.