SRINAGAR: The Srinagar consumer court has ordered the J&K Bank to pay Rs 50,000 to a customer as compensation for losses and mental pain and harassment.
Three years ago, in 2015, the customer, Sakib Altaf of Srinagar, tried to book two air tickets through his credit card with the Bank but failed do so. The complainant in the court of District Consumer Protection Forum said the Bank reasoned out “insufficient fund” as the reason for the failed transaction, causing him “mental stress”.
In reality, he had sufficient funds in his credit card account, making him apprehensive that hackers might have broken into his account. Later, in response to his email, the customer care section of the bank informed him “there was an issue which has been sorted out”. But, the Bank did not respond to him about the reason for the failed transaction and the resultant mental pain.
Though the Bank pleaded for dismissal of the complaint on the grounds that the transactions failed because of “technical snag”, but the District and Sessions Judge Mohammad Ashraf Malik, who presided over the consumer court, held the Bank guilty. It said the Bank is liable for a “snag or issue depriving the complainant from utilizing credit card”. “The OP (Bank) was under obligation to keep the system in gear to ensure that sufficient service is rendered to complainant,” the court said and added that the action is tantamount to being “deficient in service”.
Subsequently, the court granted the complainant compensation worth Rs 40,000 for mental agony and harassment caused to him and another Rs 10,000 as cost of litigation.
The court noted that the order should be completed by the Bank within a month after receipt of the order copy, failing which it has to pay 12 percent interest per annum from the date of default till actual realisation.
Sakib said that the amount is more symbolic than “substantive penalty”. But, he said, it will act as a ‘deterrent’ for the Bank. “It will encourage hapless consumers to fight against any deficiency in service and thus help the Bank improve its performance,” he added.