Hyderabad: Udaru Sarvotama Reddy, a 50-year-old farmer, has won Rs 1 lakh from the Hyderabad Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, which has ordered the State Bank of India (SBI) to pay him, a customer, for not correcting an error relating to a malfunctioning ATM.
Mr Sarvotama Reddy, who has a savings account with the SBI, tried to withdraw Rs 10,000 from an SBI ATM for two consecutive days in January 2017, but couldn’t withdraw any cash. The following month, however, the bank debited Rs 10,000 from his savings bank account.
According to the complaint, Mr Reddy then approached the bank with his grievance and was inform-ed that the money would be “kept on hold for some time” until they got confirmation that the ATM cash was disbursed but not retrieved.
As he was not satisfied with this vague reply, Mr Reddy appro-ached the banking ombudsman of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for redressing his grievance. The complainant alleged that the ombudsman closed the proceedings without a proper enquiry. Legal notices sent to the bank for an explanation proved equally futile.
The bank contended before the consumer forum that the ATM withdrawal had been successful and the complainant had received the amount and there was no deficiency in service on their part.
They contended that such a dispute cannot be adjudicated by the consumer forum as it involves complicated questions of facts and law, which requires adjudication by a competent civil court, and it was not a consumer dispute.
The bank held, that due to a technical problem, the money was not debited from his account immediately but was done after a month. The money was debited from a switch centre; and the amount was debited to the branch account later. Subsequently the bank debited the amount to the account of the complainant on February 15, 2017.
The consumer observed that the SBI officials were not able to produce CCTV footage to prove their version, though the complaint was filed within the maximum preservation period of 90 days from the date of the incident. The forum held that there was deficiency of service on the part of the SBI in providing service to the complainant. It ruled out the role of the RBI as it was not the service provider to the complainant.
The forum ruled that the ends of justice would be met if compensation of Rs 90,000 is paid to the complainant and costs of Rs 10,000 towards litigation expenses.