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HDFC Bank to pay Rs 1 lakh damages to credit card holder

PTI 17 Aug 2012, 14:15:44 PM IST
PTI
New Delhi, Aug 17:  The HDFC Bank has been asked by a district consumer forum here to pay “exemplary damages” of Rs one lakh to one of its credit card holders for harassing him by raising an “illegal” demand of Rs 46,490 for a purchase that was never made.



The demand was raised by the bank after a person went to a computer store to buy a laptop with complainant Khem Chand Mishra's credit card number, but doubting the credential of the person, the shop owner did not sell him the laptop and informed the bank about the incident.

The New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum in its order held that the disputed transaction of Rs 46,490 never took place because the store owner neither sold the laptop nor raised any demand from the bank.  Yet the bank raised an illegal demand from Mishra and forced him into litigation, said the consumer forum.  “The opposite party 2 (computer store) has not raised any demand from the bank nor has the bank paid any transaction amount for the laptop to the store. In these circumstances, there was no question of liability coming on complainant's (Mishra) use of credit card.

“Counsel for opposite party 1 (HDFC Bank) is unable to defend the action of the bank. Accordingly, we hold the demand as illegal and hold it guilty of not only defending the demand negligently made (by it) since 2008, but also forcing a litigation on the complainant,” said the bench, presided by C K Chaturvedi.

“We award an exemplary damage of Rs 1 lakh for harassment of the complainant by its (bank's) careless attitude without application of mind,” the forum added.  Mishra, in his complaint had said he got a call from the bank on December 24, 2008 regarding a transaction of Rs 46,490 incurred on his credit card for purchase of a laptop.  He had then and there informed the bank that he had not done any such transaction and had also requested that the card be blocked, he had said.

Mishra had also submitted that the laptop store owner had not sold the machine to the person who had gone to the shop with his credit card number and had instead checked with the bank, so the transaction had never occurred.  In its reply, the bank defended its action and questioned as to how did Mishra's credit card number come in possession of another person.

The forum, however, rejected the bank's contention saying the query has “no relevance” in connection with raising of the demand “till the transaction of sale and purchase was completed”.