Bank held liable for demanding false dues from customer

Bank held liable for demanding false dues from customer

A consumer redress forum here has held ICICI Bank liable for deficiency in service, after the bank demanded payment of dues from a customer for a credit card that did not belong to him. 

The bank has also been held responsible for withholding the clearance of complainant Mohammed Tanveer’s housing loan for non-payment of the dues. 

After hearing the complaint by Tanveer, a resident of Marathahalli, the 2nd Additional District Consumer Disputes’ Redressal Forum directed the branch manager of ICICI Bank, Bommanahalli, not to demand Rs 95,240 towards the credit card bill and instead pay the complainant Rs 5,000 as litigation expenses. 

According to the complaint, Tanveer had taken a housing loan from the bank. He then started receiving messages and calls from the bank asking him to pay Rs 95,240 for his pending credit card bills, even though he had not availed himself of a credit card facility. 

When he approached the bank for a detailed statement, there was no response. Going a step further, the bank informed him that his housing loan account was attached to the credit card and the No Objection Certificate (NoC) would not be issued unless he cleared the outstanding amount, the complaint said. 

Tanveer then approached the forum on July 6, 2013, seeking an investigation into the matter. He said that the e-mail and the phone number attached with the credit card did not tally with his details. He alleged that he was being harassed by the bank as he frequently received SMSes and calls demanding the money. 

The bank, however, denied the allegations, calling them “false and baseless”. The bank said that it was the complainant’s duty to prove that the said card did not belong to him. 

The forum, after hearing both the sides, ruled on November 11, 2014, “The bank has failed to establish that the complainant has obtained a credit card. It ought to have produced the documents pertaining to the complainant obtaining the credit card and his bank loan account number.” 

On the housing loan, the forum observed, “It is different from the credit card transaction and without the instructions of the complainant, the bank cannot attach the housing loan account to the card account. When the complainant has cleared the housing loan, it is the bounden duty of the bank to issue a no due certificate. It cannot be attached to the credit card transactions.” It has directed the bank to clear Tanveer’s loan account. 

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