Unit – 14 : Banking Ombudsman Scheme and Consumer Protection Act
1. The Banking Ombudsman Scheme is introduced under Section 35 A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 by RBI with effect from 1995.
2. The Banking Ombudsman Scheme enables an expeditious and inexpensive forum to bank customers for resolution of complaints relating to certain services rendered by banks.
3. The Banking Ombudsman is a senior official appointed by the Reserve Bank of India to redress customer complaints against deficiency in certain banking services.
4. All Scheduled Commercial Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Scheduled Primary Co-operative Banks are covered under the Scheme.
5. The Banking Ombudsman can receive and consider any complaint relating to the following deficiency in banking services (including internet banking):
- non-payment or inordinate delay in the payment or collection of cheques, drafts, bills etc.;
- non-acceptance, without sufficient cause, of small denomination notes tendered for any purpose, and for charging of commission in respect thereof;
- non-acceptance, without sufficient cause, of coins tendered and for charging of commission in respect thereof;
- non-payment or delay in payment of inward remittances ;
- failure to issue or delay in issue of drafts, pay orders or bankers’ cheques;
- non-adherence to prescribed working hours ;
- failure to provide or delay in providing a banking facility (other than loans and advances) promised in writing by a bank or its direct selling agents;
- delays, non-credit of proceeds to parties accounts, non-payment of deposit or non-observance of the Reserve Bank directives, if any, applicable to rate of interest on deposits in any savings,current or other account maintained with a bank ;
- complaints from Non-Resident Indians having accounts in India in relation to their remittances from abroad, deposits and other bank-related matters;
- refusal to open deposit accounts without any valid reason for refusal;
- levying of charges without adequate prior notice to the customer;
- non-adherence by the bank or its subsidiaries to the instructions of Reserve Bank on ATM/Debit card operations or credit card operations;
- non-disbursement or delay in disbursement of pension (to the extent the grievance can be attributed to the action on the part of the bank concerned, but not with regard to its employees);
- refusal to accept or delay in accepting payment towards taxes, as required by Reserve Bank/Government;
- refusal to issue or delay in issuing, or failure to service or delay in servicing or redemption of Government securities;
- forced closure of deposit accounts without due notice or without sufficient reason;
- refusal to close or delay in closing the accounts;
- non-adherence to the fair practices code as adopted by the bank or non-adherence to the provisions of the Code of Bank s Commitments to Customers issued by Banking Codes and Standards Board of India and as adopted by the bank ;
- non-observance of Reserve Bank guidelines on engagement of recovery agents by banks; and
- any other matter relating to the violation of the directives issued by the Reserve Bank in relation to banking or other services.
6. A customer can also lodge a complaint on the following grounds of deficiency in service with respect to loans and advances non-observance of Reserve Bank Directives on interest rates;
- delays in sanction, disbursement or non-observance of prescribed time schedule for disposal of loan applications;
- non-acceptance of application for loans without furnishing valid reasons to the applicant; and
- non-adherence to the provisions of the fair practices code for lenders as adopted by the bank or Code of Bank’s Commitment to Customers, as the case may be;
- non-observance of any other direction or instruction of the Reserve Bank as may be specified by the Reserve Bank for this purpose from time to time.
The Banking Ombudsman may also deal with such other matter as may be specified by the Reserve Bank from time to time.
7. One can file a complaint before the Banking Ombudsman if the reply is not received from the bank within a period of one month after the bank concerned has received one s representation, or the bank rejects the complaint, or if the complainant is not satisfied with the reply given by the bank.
8. One can file a complaint with the Banking Ombudsman simply by writing on a plain paper. One can also file it online (at “click here to go to Banking Ombudsman scheme” or by sending an email to the Banking Ombudsman.
9. The Banking Ombudsman may reject a complaint at any stage if it appears to him that a complaint made to him is:
- not on the grounds of complaint referred to above
- compensation sought from the Banking Ombudsman is beyond Rs 10 lakh .
- requires consideration of elaborate documentary and oral evidence and the proceedings before the Banking Ombudsman are not appropriate for adjudication of such complaint without any sufficient cause
- that it is not pursued by the complainant with reasonable diligence
- in the opinion of the Banking Ombudsman there is no loss or damage or inconvenience caused to the complainant.
10. If one is aggrieved by the decision, one may, within 30 days of the date of receipt of the award, appeal against the award before the appellate authority. The appellate authority may, if he/ she is satisfied that the applicant had sufficient cause for not making an application for appeal within time, also allow a further period not exceeding 30 days.
11. Consumer Protection Act, 1986
a. It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
b. It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification, appoint and different dates may be appointed for different States and for different provisions of this Act.
c. Save as otherwise expressly provided by the Central Government by notification, this Act shall apply to all goods and services.
12. "complaint" means any allegation in writing made by a complainant that—
a. an unfair trade practice or a restrictive trade practice has been adopted by any trader or service provider.
b. the goods bought by him or agreed to be bought by him; suffer from one or more defects.
c. the services hired or availed of or agreed to be hired or availed of by him suffer from deficiency in any respect.
d. a trader or service provider, as the case may be, has charged for the goods or for the service mentioned in the complaint a price in excess of the official/valid price.
e. goods which will be hazardous to life and safety when used or being offered for sale to the public.
f. services which are hazardous or likely to be hazardous to life and safety of the public when used, are being offered by the service provider which such person could have known with due diligence to be injurious to life and safety.