The SBI Cards & Payments Services Pvt. Ltd. has been directed by a consumer forum in Delhi to compensate a resident with ₹2 lakh. The compensation is for the inconvenience caused by the company’s negligence in sending bills after the expiration of the customer’s card and subsequently blacklisting him for non-payment.
The New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, headed by Monika A Srivastava as president, along with Kiran Kausal and Umesh Kumar Tyagi as members, ruled in favor of M J Anthony, a former journalist, citing “deficiency in providing services” by the company.
The forum recognized that the company’s blacklisting of the customer in the wilful defaulters’ database maintained by the RBI’s CIBIL system resulted in the rejection of his credit card applications from another bank. He had been maintaining a regular account with that bank for nearly twenty years.
In its ruling on May 20, the forum stated, “The SBI Cards & Payments Services Pvt. Ltd. has been deficient in providing services to the complainant. While the monetary value of the damage/loss incurred by the complainant in terms of credit rating cannot be precisely measured, punitive damages should be awarded against the opposite party (OP). Therefore, the OP is directed to compensate the complainant with ₹2 lakh within two months from the date of this order. Failure to do so will result in a sum payable of ₹3 lakh.”
Anthony had filed a complaint seeking compensation, asserting that he had requested the company to cancel his card before its expiry in April 2016 and not to renew it. He claimed to have discontinued card usage after April 9, 2016, and had followed the necessary procedures to destroy the card as per the company’s rules. According to him, there were no pending payments at that time.
In September, the complainant received a letter from the company confirming the cancellation of his card. However, the company continued to send bills related to the card, disregarding his protest emails. These bills amounted to ₹2,946 by May 18, 2017, including late payment charges and penalties.
Furthermore, in the same letter, the company warned the customer about adverse effects on his credit history, as maintained by the credit bureau, and the potential impact on his future credit requirements if the bill remained unpaid. The company’s decision to blacklist him in the wilful defaulters’ database further exacerbated his difficulties in obtaining loans or credit cards.