​Canara Bank to pay Rs 9 lakh as compensation to NRI for deficiency in services: NCDRC

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Canara Bank is liable to pay Rs 9.09 lakh as compensation to a 95-year-old non-resident Indian (NRI) customer. Canara Bank has to pay the compensation amount because it did not provide good services and indulged in unfair trade practices.

The payment of compensation has been directed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) to Swaran Singh Saggu, a 95-year-old NRI.

As per the NCDRC, “This is a clear-cut case of deficiency in service and unfair trade practice on the part of OPs, entitling the complainant to a reasonable amount of compensation in addition to reliefs for actual losses”.

According to the NCDRC order, the NRI deposited an amount in a Foreign Currency Non-Resident Account (FCNR) fixed deposit with the Canara Bank. This FCNR deposit was set to mature on specific dates. The NRI wanted to encash these FCNR deposits and transfer the amounts to his UK bank accounts. The necessary details for the same were provided to the bank as well.

However, the bank delayed the process of transferring money – despite repeated visits and requests – claiming inability to locate the original file. Further, the bank used pretences that were deemed unfair and disregarded their obligations towards the NRI, said the NCDRC order.

It is further revealed that FCNR deposits were encashed without the knowledge of the NRI. The bank did not provide the necessary information to the NRI. Canara Bank also failed to transfer the amount until a High Court order mandated the transfer of the amount to the NRI’s Kotak Mahindra Bank account in India.

The NRI sought court intervention due to his prolonged stay in India, incurring significant expenses for lodging, legal counsel, and health reasons. The High Court eventually ordered the transfer to the specified account, acknowledging the NRI’s legitimate claim over the deposited amounts.

It is important to note that NRI also filed a case under the Consumer Protection Act where the State Consumer Commission partially upheld the NRI’s claim against Canara Bank for deficient services related to the release of FCNR amounts. The State Commission directed the bank to pay the complainant Rs 5,09,288 for losses incurred due to income loss during encashment, legal fees, hotel expenses, and compensation.

However, NCDRC increased compensation payable to Rs 9.09 lakh from Rs 5.09 lakh.

The NCDRC held a view that the compensation of Rs 1 lakh (out of Rs 5,09,288) awarded by the State Commission is a meagre amount and the NRI deserves to get much higher compensation for the mental agony and hardship at this age.

Accordingly, NCDRC directed Canara Bank to pay a total sum of Rs 9,09,288 (Rs 4,09,288 awarded by State Commission on various items, except compensation and Rs 5 lakhs towards compensation) along with a litigation cost of Rs. 25,000 in connection with the present.

Dec 21,2023

Source: Economic Times

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