Banks ordered to pay refund for fraudulent ATM withdrawal

Vidyawanti from Haryana could not withdraw Rs. 8,000 on 20 March 2009 from her State Bank of India (SBI) savings account from a State Bank of Patiala (SBP) ATM due to a ‘technical fault’. She went to an SBI ATM, where she found that Rs. 40,000 had been ‘fraudulently’ withdrawn from her account by two transactions of Rs. 20,000 each. She wrote to the SBP and SBI offices seeking a refund of Rs. 40,000. But the banks declined her plea. She filed a complaint with the Karnal District Forum.

The opposite parties confirmed the two transactions, but ruled out any foul play. They contended that unless a cardholder parts with the ATM card and discloses the PIN to a third person no transaction can take place. The Forum allowed the complaint and concluded that the ATM had ‘malfunctioned’ in yet another case the same day. It held both the SBP and the SBI responsible and directed them to pay Vidyawanti Rs. 40,000 with 9% interest from the date the amount was debited till payment.

Aggrieved by the Forum’s order, the banks appealed to the Haryana State Commission. The State Commission cited an earlier judgment of the National Commission and dismissed Vidyawanti’s complaint. She filed a revision petition with the National Commission.

The Verdict

The National Commission upheld the Forum’s verdict observing: “The State Commission, without looking into the evidence, has hastily relied upon the (earlier) judgment of the National Commission which approach, in our view, is erroneous…”

Company told to fit new batteries in e-bike

Yogesh Agarwal, a resident of Ahmedabad, purchased an electricity-operated two-wheeler Hero Maxi from V3 Corporation on 17 October 2010 paying Rs. 23,650. At the time of purchase, the company explained that the warranty applicable for the batteries was one year though the old brochure mentioned 180 days. Agarwal was told he would be given the new brochure, which he wasn’t. Meanwhile, within a few days of using the e-bike, he faced a number of problems such as jamming of rear wheel, problem in bearing and low average of 30 km instead of the promised 50 km. He had to bring the bike for repair several times and availed two free services.

Eventually, he was told the four batteries of the e-bike had failed. When he asked the company to replace the batteries, he was told that since he had not availed the third free service the warranty was void. Aggrieved, Agarwal contacted CERS which wrote to the company and even sent a legal notice asking for a replacement and refund. Not receiving a satisfactory response, they filed a complaint before the District Forum, Ahmedabad (City).

The Verdict

The Forum ruled in favour of the complainant and directed the three opponents – manager as well as regional head of V3 Corporation and manager, Hero Electric, to jointly and severally comply with the order within 30 days of the vehicle being given for repair. They were told to fit new batteries and since the vehicle had not been used for a long time, if replacement of parts or servicing was needed, it should be done free. In short, the e-bike should be given to Agarwal in a roadworthy condition.

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