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ICICI's 'devil may care' attitude lands it in trouble

Last updated on: June 24, 2011 15:29 IST

ICICI's 'devil may care' attitude lands it in trouble

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Irked by ICICI Bank's 'callous and devil-may-care attitude', a district consumer court has directed it to pay a compensation of Rs 125,000 to one of its customers against whom it had lodged a criminal case for non-payment of a car loan which he never took.

"How callous a banker can get is well illustrated by this case. . .  It is a classic case where the respondent bank has adopted a devil-may-care attitude," a district consumer forum bench headed by its president Rakesh Kapoor said while asking the bank to pay the damages.

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Image: An ICICI Bank branch.

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The bench, which also included its members S C Jain and Prem Lata, passed the judgment on a complaint filed by Delhi resident Anil Kumar Arora.

Arora had availed a loan from the ICICI Bank to buy a car, but he was taken aback by the bank's communication about grant of another loan to him for which he had never applied.

He visited the Pitam Pura branch of the ICICI Bank and lodged a complaint in writing stating that he had never applied for a second loan.

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In his complaint, Arora suspected a fraud might have been played upon him and the loan might have been approved on the basis of fake documents.

Despite his repeated complaints and visits, the bank refused to listen to him and instead served a legal notice demanding payment or return of the vehicle allegedly purchased from the second loan.

Refusing to listen to his pleas, the bank filed a criminal case against Arora in a magisterial court.

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In his complaint to the consumer forum, Arora alleged that the bank's staff and agents had been intimidating him and his family members and were threatening him with dire

consequences on failing to deliver the alleged vehicle or repay the alleged loan which he had never taken.

Arora said he also lodged a complaint with the 'Economic Offences Wing' of the Delhi Police separately alleging that the bank had all his documents which he submitted while applying for the first loan which have been misused for the second loan for which he never applied.

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The court, taking a serious objection to the bank's conduct, asked it to pay damages worth Rs 1.25 lakh to Arora.

The forum also made several scathing observations about the plight of the consumer before the multinational bank.

"We must observe that this was a case where a hapless consumer was pitted against the might of a multinational company.

"It appears that there was nobody in the office of the bank to listen to him that he had not availed of the loan.       

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"The amount of harassment to which the complainant was subjected, against whom a criminal case was also filed, speaks volumes about the reckless, arbitrary, careless and callous manner in which this case was dealt with in the office of the ICICI Bank," the bench said.

"We are, therefore, convinced that the bank was deficient in extending its services and had adopted unfair trade practices in trying to thrust a loan.

"We are of the considered opinion that this case calls for award of an exemplary compensation against the bank. We, therefore, award a compensation of Rs 1.25 lakh (including litigation expenses).



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