Consumer forum orders SBI to pay Rs.2 lakh in compensation for freezing bank account without prior notice

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The Cuddalore District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ruled that the State Bank of India (SBI) must compensate a senior citizen with ₹2 lakh for its failure to provide adequate service.

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According to the petitioner’s claim, she held a joint savings account with her husband at the SBI branch in Neyveli. On February 17, 2022, while attempting to use her debit card at an ATM, she encountered an error message. Immediately, she contacted bank officials who informed her that her savings account had been frozen.

The complainant was told by the bank officials that her husband had guaranteed a loan for two individuals who subsequently defaulted on their payments. As a result, her account was frozen. Dissatisfied with this explanation, she approached the Commission in Cuddalore.

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The Commission, presided over by President and Judge D. Gopinath, concluded that had the bank issued a notice to the complainant prior to freezing her account, she would have been able to plan her next steps accordingly. However, the bank’s unilateral action prevented her from accessing her portion of the funds in the savings account, despite her being at no fault.

The Commission stated that the senior citizen complainant had endured a distressing experience and was unable to cover her urgent medical expenses due to the bank’s “overbearing” conduct. Additionally, the Commission awarded her ₹10,000 to cover legal expenses.

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