CERS exposes convenient interpretation of rules by leading private sector bank

Consumer forum orders HDFC Bank to refund hefty amount charged illegally from a credit card holder

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.

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