New Delhi: In a recent ruling, the New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed SBI Cards & Payments Services Pvt. Ltd. to pay ₹2 lakh in compensation to a customer for their deficient services.
The forum, headed by President Monika A Srivastava and members Kiran Kausal and Umesh Kumar Tyagi, found the company at fault for continuing to send bills to the customer even after the expiration of his card and subsequently blacklisting him for non-payment.
The customer, M J Anthony, a former journalist, had requested the cancellation of his card well in advance of its expiry date in April 2016. He had not used the card for any transactions after April 9, 2016, and had followed the proper procedure to destroy the card. Despite this, he received bills from the company totalling ₹2,946, which included late payment charges and penalties, until May 18, 2017. Anthony claims that his protest emails were ignored by the company.
Furthermore, SBI Cards & Payments Services Pvt. Ltd. not only threatened adverse effects on Anthony’s credit history but also blacklisted him in the CIBIL system of wilful defaulters maintained by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). As a result, he faced difficulties in obtaining loans or credit cards from other financial institutions where he had maintained a regular account for almost two decades.
The consumer forum, acknowledging the damage caused to Anthony’s credit rating and inability to measure it in monetary terms, ordered SBI Cards & Payments Services Pvt. Ltd. to pay him ₹2 lakh as compensation within two months of the ruling. In case of non-compliance, the sum payable would increase to ₹3 lakh.
SBI Cards & Payments Services Pvt. Ltd. denied the allegations during the proceedings. However, the forum concluded that the company had indeed provided deficient services and warranted punitive damages. The ruling serves as a reminder to financial institutions to ensure proper customer service and rectify billing errors promptly to avoid legal repercussions.