Thursday, January 10, 2013

ATM Scams: Bank to pay 9L for ATM card misuse

Mumbai: Upholding a district forum order, the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission ordered Citibank to pay Rs 9.44 lakh to a man, after Rs 6 lakh was fraudulently withdrawn from his account using an ATM card that he did not possess.

In December 2006, when Ratilal Israni received his monthly bank statement, he noticed that Rs 6 lakh had been withdrawn using an ATM card between November 22, 2006 and December 5, 2006. The Marine Drive resident, Israni, contended that he never been issued an ATM card for his saving bank account.

According to Israni, in 2004, the bank had sent him two ‘Diners Club’ cards—a MasterCard of Indian Oil and a Citi Card—both of which were returned after he “cut them up into pieces”. Israni alleged that it was a fraudulent act on the part of bank officials to debit his account for the amount claimed to be withdrawn using an ATM card.

Israni lodged a police complaint and in 2007 filed the consumer complaint in a district forum. However, the bank maintained that the money was withdrawn using an ATM card and it was neither guilty of negligence nor deficiency in service. The forum allowed the complaint. In March 2012, it directed the bank to pay compensation of Rs six lakh along with interest of 9% per annum from December 2006, which amounted to Rs 3.24 lakh. The forum also awarded him compensation of Rs10,000towards mental torture and Rs 5,000 as costs.

The bank filed the appeal. In the commission, the bank could not prove that it had given Israni an ATM card and PIN number. Referring to the bank’s failure to show any records to prove its contention, the commission said, “Absence of such record only corroborates the complainant’s case that he never possessed any ATM card relating to his saving bank account or used it at any time.” The commission dismissed it and directed the bank to pay an additional Rs 5,000 to Israni ascosts.
Rebecca Samervel TNN

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