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Hope they realise that they survive on trust of customers: Madras HC pulls up Axis Bank staff for harassing customer over credit card loss

"It is unfortunate that the petitioner, who lost his wallet in Paris, has also lost his mind handling the indifferent personnel of the 1st and 2nd respondents", the Court observed.

Meera Emmanuel

The Madras High Court recently pulled up personnel of the Axis Bank, Chennai for the “indifference” and “retrograde bureaucracy” shown in harassing a client following the loss of his credit card.

Ruling in favour of the petitioner, who had approached the High Court over repeated harassment on the part of the private bank through email and voice calls, Justice CV Karthikeyan observed,

It is unfortunate that the petitioner, who lost his wallet in Paris, has also lost his mind handling the indifferent personnel of the 1st and 2nd respondents. They indulged in retrograde bureaucracy … It is hoped that at least now they would realise that they survive only on confidence and trust placed by the customers and no on the regrettable attitude of their staff/officers
Madras High Court

In October 2018, the petitioner lost his wallet while on a business trip in Paris, owing to which he also lost all his credit cards from various banks, including from Axis Bank. On approaching other Banks over the issue, the issue was settled amicably.

However, when it came to Axis Bank, the petitioner alleged that the issue was handled with gross negligence by the personnel of the Bank's Chennai offices.

The Court was told that the petitioner was unable to upload a credit card dispute form online due to want of technical specifications, owing to which he personally visited the Axis Bank.

However, the credit card officer of the Bank concluded that the entire issue was a fraud. The issue spilled over to counter-harassment by the Axis Bank personnel and their recovery agents, the petitioner submitted. In May 2019, a sum of over Rs 1.8 lakhs was claimed from the petitioner.

Inter alia, the petitioner pointed out that there is an RBI policy which protects customers and offers zero liability against unauthorised transactions in cases of credit card theft, where the same is informed within 3 working days.

Such benefit was not extended to the petitioner, and his name was eventually included as a defaulter by the Credit Information and Bureau of India Limited (CIBIL), prompting him to approach the Court for relief.

During the course of the hearings, the Regional Director of the RBI, through counsel C Mohan (for M/S King & Partridge), also submitted that there was no explanation given as to why this benefit had not been given to the petitioner.

The RBI director’s submissions also led the Court to record that it was clear that the Axis Bank representatives were deliberately harassing the petitioner. In view of the counsel’s efforts, a memo was also filed advising Axis Bank to reverse disputed transactions concerning the petitioner so that his name can be removed from the defaulter’s list.

The Court proceeded to allow the writ plea with costs of Rs 10,000 to be paid by the Axis Bank personnel involved to the Stanley Medical College and Hospital, Chennai for the treatment of poor patients.

Advocate K Subhashini (Chennai Law Associates) appeared for the petitioner, Advocate N Mukthukumaran appeared for Axis Bank and Advocate S Parthasarathy appeared fro CIBIL.

[Read the order]

Santhosh Kumar N v The Branch Manager, Axis Bank and ors.pdf
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