Delhi's apex consumer forum has ordered multinational banking giant HSBC to pay Rs 30,000 as damages to a north Delhi resident for "harassing" him for clearance of a loan, which had already been settled.
Banks demanding money despite having received full and final amount of the loan from the borrowers is an "unfair trade practice" and are liable to be prosecuted for rendering deficient service, the Delhi State Consumer Commission ruled while ordering HSBC to pay damages to Arvind Jain.
"Whether despite having received full and final settled amount towards loan account from the appellant, sending ECS to his bankers and demanding money against the cleared loan through its executives and 'goonda' elements, amount to deficiency of services and unfair trade practice," the commission posed the query to itself.
"Our answer to this question is in the affirmative," the bench of Justice B A Zaidi and member M L Sahni said, answering its poser.
The commission passed the order on an appeal by Jain, who had challenged dismissal of his complaint by Tis Hazari-based north district consumer forum against the bank.
Jain had alleged that despite clearing all his dues, the bank kept on harassing him over the loan by sending electronic clearing system (ECS) to his bank, making phone calls and sending 'goondas' and recovery agents to his residence.
HSBC bank admitted the payment made by Jain but said the same was not uploaded on its computer system owing to a human error. This error resulted in inadvertent sending of the ECS clearance mandate to Jain's bank, it added.
The bank, however, contended that Tis Hazari district consumer forum had rightly dismissed Jain's complaint as it was devoid of merit.
Rejecting bank's contentions, the commission set aside the district fora order and said that the bank was liable to indemnify Jain for mental harassment.
"Sending ECS to the appellant's banker clearly establishes the negligence of the respondent's employees which is tantamount to deficiency in service by respondents who are liable to indemnify the appellant for mental harassment," it said.