Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Banking Ombudsman Rejected my Complaint of Failed (Cash Not Received) ATM Transaction - What should I do?

This post continues from Part 1 - What to do if Banking Ombudsman rejects a complaint of a failed ATM transaction (Part - 1). Please read that post before reading this one. As suggested in the part-1 of this article, one needs to obtain and examine the documents related to the failed ATM transaction to find any clues that can help proving the transaction as unsuccessful. If there are no clues, most probably, the Banking Ombudsman would have rejected the complaint due to lack of evidence. But there is another possibility. Reserve Bank of India's internal norms require each Banking Ombudsman to ensure that no complaint remains outstanding with them for a period of more than three months. Since no Banking Ombudsman would like to report a complaint older than three months to his superiors, some complaints get hurridely closed towards the end of each quarter, i.e. June 30, September 30, December 31, and March 31. Unfortunately, a complaint of a failed ATM transaction closed hurriedly because of the quarter-end approaching would most likely get rejected under clause 13 (a) or 13(c).

If you know your complaint is genuine and unreasonably closed by the Banking Ombudsman, just look at the date of closure letter issued to you. If the closure letter is issued towards the end of a quarter or in the beginning of a quarter, you have reason to be suspicious. Even if you are not suspicious, it wouldn't hurt to know how your complaint was dealt with in the office of Banking Ombudsman. Here's what you should do in such a scenario:

1. Call For Documents

Use Right to Information Act, 2005. Send an application under Right to Information Act, 2005 to your Banking Ombudsman calling for the following information:

1. Date on which complaint received in Banking Ombudsman's office
2. Date on which the matter taken up with the concerned banks - Issuing Bank and Acquiring Bank
3. List of information / documents / video recordings called for by office of Banking Ombudsman from Issuing Bank and Acquiring Bank
4. Copies of all To and Fro correspondence between office of Banking Ombudsman and Issuing Bank & Acquiring Bank
5. Copies of all documents / video recordings received by office of Banking Ombudsman from Issuing Bank / Acquiring Bank
6. Copy of the note / notes recorded by office of Banking Ombudsman relating to your complaint
7. Copy of the decision recorded by the Banking Ombudsman
8. Copy of the letter / letters written by office of Banking Ombudsman to the Issuing Bank / Acquring Bank after the decision of the Banking Ombudsman

This application under Right to Information is to be sent on a plain paper to your Banking Ombudsman along with a postal order for Rs. 10 in favour of "Reserve Bank of India". Banking Ombudsman may later ask you some amount of fee to supply copies of documents asked for by you which you will again need to send in the same manner as initial fee.

Call for even old case papers: Papers related to complaints handled by Banking Ombudsman are preserved for at least three years. So, even if your complaint is now old, it may not be too old for asking for documents under RTI Act.

2. Study the Documents

Carefully study the documents / information to see if your complaint was properly processed and the decision of the Banking Ombudsman was arrived at logically and not because of a quarter-end approaching. You must know that there is no possibility of an appeal to the appellate authority under Banking Ombudsman Scheme if the complaint is rejected under clause 13(a) or 13(c). The only course of action left to you is to go to a Consumer Forum.

3. Go to a Consumer Forum?

If you decide to approach a Consumer Forum after your complaint is already rejecred by a Banking Ombudsman, you are at a disadvantage. Your bank will shout at the top of their voice in front of the Consumer Forum that Banking Ombudsman did not find any merit in the complaint. Your only hope there will be to prove that the complaint was not properly handled by the Banking Ombudsman and needs to be re-examined by the Consumer Forum. And if you are certain that Banking Ombudsman did not do justice to you, you must make Banking Ombudsman one of the respondents in your complaint to the Consumer Forum. I must warn you that if you include Banking Ombudsman in your list of respondents, the move will be contested by the Banking Ombudsman. So be prepared.

Also see: Arbitration and Appeals for Bank ATM Complaints

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All information given in this blog is obtained from sources in the public domain, RTI applications, discussions with bankers, bank customers in India and also with some employees of Reserve Bank of India having knowledge of the working of various Offices of Banking Ombudsman in India. All information in this blog is presented on a best effort basis and is not claimed to be complete information on any of the subjects covered in this blog. Use of any information given in this blog is purely voluntary on the part of the readers. Author of this blog does not assume any responsibility for any action of the readers related to any matter discussed in this blog or any consequences thereof. Readers of this blog are advised to consult a legal practitioner before taking any action related to any matter discussed in this blog.