Friday, May 15, 2009

HDFC Bank fined for 'extra charges'

Normally, dealing with banks is a hot and cold affair. When you have dealings with ATM's and with over the counter in branches, things are fine normally fine. But when there is something that is out of the ordinary, that is when people have more complaints. This could be when there are some delays in credit card payments, or a person is on the edge when qualifying for a loan, or when there is some problem in making the loan repayments. In such cases, it is hard for bank customers to understand all the charges that a bank levies as penalties or extra charges, and this could lead to banks sometimes levying charges that are more than normal.
Consider the following example when a person had bought a motorcycle on loan from HDFC Bank, and was unable to pay some of the installments on time; he was unable to understand some of the charges levied by the bank and filed a case in the consumer forum against these charges (link to article):

Sending a clear message against unfair trade practices, UT consumer forum directed HDFC Bank to pay Rs 25,000 as compensation and Rs 5,000 as litigation cost to Panchkula-resident Sohan Lal. The bank was also asked to issue a no-dues certificate (NDC) and overhaul its client’s account. Consumer forum’s decision came in the wake of allegations laid by Lal stating that the bank had asked him to pay exorbitant bouncing charges.
Holding that the bank adopted an unfair trade practice of charging exorbitant bouncing fees, the forum held, “The bank did not place any document to suggest if it was entitled to charge Rs 400 as bouncing charges.” The forum stated it was not clear that under what provision of law or agreement the bank was fleecing the complainant. “It is very unfortunate that banks are fleecing those who take petty loans for their basic needs,” it stated.

The problem described in this article is something that a number of people have faced when dealing with banks; some fight it out with complaints and a determined quest to ensure that they are not cheated, others don't fight it out and accept whatever the bank ordains for them - in either case, it is still incumbent on consumers to not take any extra charges lying down.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 10:56 PM