Complaints range from failure to meet commitment to non-observance of fair practices code
GN Bureau | February 13, 2015
Even as banking sectors extends its reach in India, especially with the launch of PM’s jan dhan yojana (PMJDY) , number of complaints received by banking ombudsmen against the commercial banks ihas witnessed an increase of 8.55 per cent.
The Reserve Bank of India which released the “Annual Report of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme for the year 2013-2014” on Thursday reveals that during the year 2013-2014 the number of complaints received by banking ombudsmen increased by 8.55 per cent to 76,573, from 70,541 complaints received during the previous year.
The report further states that metro and urban areas accounted for about 71 per cent of the total complaints received during the year 2013-14, followed by semi-urban (16 per cent) and rural areas (13 per cent).
The report claimed that the BOS redressed 96 per cent of the complaints received during the year. Of the total complaints received 32 per cent were against SBI and associates and nationalized banks each, 22 per cent against private sector banks and 6.5 per cent against foreign banks.
Complaints pertaining to failure to meet commitment, non-observance of fair practices code, Banking Codes and Standard Board of India (BCSBI) Codes taken together constituted largest category of complaints (26.6 per cent of complaints received), followed by card related complaints (24.1 per cent).
Others areas where banking customers have expressed their dissatisfaction and registered their grievances includes non-adherence to prescribed working hours, refusal to accept, or delay in accepting, payments towards taxes, refusal to issue /delay in issuing or failure to service, or delay in servicing, or redemption of Government securities, refusal to close or delay in closing of accounts were other categories of complaints.
The banking ombudsman scheme was established by the Reserve Bank in 1995 to provide speedy solutions to the grievances faced by the bank customers. There are 15 offices of banking ombudsmen (BOS) across the country
The feedback obtained in the course of administering the BOS has been used by the Reserve Bank to modify the Scheme in 2002, 2006, 2007 and 2009, to include, among other things, customer complaints on new areas such as credit card complaints, internet banking, deficiencies in providing promised services by both bank and its sales agents, levying service charges without prior notice to customers, non- adherence to Fair Practices Code adopted by individual banks, etc.
From a total of 11 grounds of complaints, when the BO Scheme was introduced in 1995, today, BO Scheme provides for 27 grounds of complaints / deficiencies in bank services. The Reserve Bank operates the BOS, free of cost, so as to make it accessible to all. In order to increase its effectiveness and utility, BOS is today fully funded and staffed by the Reserve Bank.
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Procedure for filing complaint
(1) Any person who has a grievance against a bank on any one or more of the grounds mentioned in Clause 8 of the Scheme may, himself or through his authorized representative (other than an advocate), make a complaint to the Banking Ombudsman within whose jurisdiction the b ranch or office of the bank complained against is located. Provided that a complaint arising out of the operations of credit cards and other types of services with centralized operations, shall be filed before the Banking Ombudsman within whose territorial jurisdiction the billing address of the customer is located.
(2) The complaint in writing shall be duly signed by the complainant or his authorized representative and shall be, as far as possible, in the form specified in the Scheme or as near as there to as circumstances admit, stating clearly:
(i) The name and the address of the complainant
(ii) The name and address of the branch or office of the bank against which the complaint is made
(iii) The facts giving rise to the complaint
(iv)The nature and extent of the loss caused to the complainant, and
(v) The relief sought for
(3) No complaint to the Banking Ombudsman shall lie unless:
(a) The complainant had, before making a complaint to the Banking Ombudsman, made a written representation to the bank and the bank had rejected the complaint or the complainant had not received any reply within a period of one month after the bank received his representation or the complainant is not satisfied with the reply given to him by the bank;
(b) The complaint is made not later than one year after the complainant has received the reply of the bank to his representation or, where no reply is received, not later than one year and one month after the date of the representation to the bank;
(c) The complaint is not in respect of the same cause of action which was settled or dealt with on merits by the Banking Ombudsman in any previous proceedings whether or not received from the same complainant or along with one or more complainants or one or more of the parties concerned with the cause of action ;
(d) the complaint does not pertain to the same cause of action, for which any proceedings before any court, tribunal or arbitrator or any other forum is pending or a decree or Award or order has been passed by any such court, tribunal, arbitrator or forum;
(e) The complaint is not frivolous or vexatious in nature; and
(f) The complaint is made before the expiry of the period of limitation prescribed under the Indian Limitation A ct, 1963 for such claims
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