HDFC Bank in the dock for wrongly charging customer

Deepak Sheth, from Ahmedabad, obtained a credit card from HDFC Bank and made purchases worth Rs. 3,786. He deposited a cheque of UCO Bank to clear the dues. As it took some time for the cheque to be realised, HDFC Bank charged him a late fee of Rs. 275, Rs. 110 towards the outstation collection fee and Rs. 89 as finance charge. While the late fee was later refunded, HDFC did not refund the remainder despite repeated requests. In fact, it collected Rs. 8,043 from Sheth’s savings bank account against his dues of Rs. 199! Sheth approached CERS and they moved the Consumer Forum seeking refund of Rs. 8,043 with interest, Rs. 5,000 to each as costs and compensation to Sheth for mental agony and harassment.

The complainant stated that he had not given an outstation cheque and HDFC had delayed in clearing the cheque. As he was not liable to pay Rs. 199, he had kept the amount outstanding for two years. As a result, the wrongly charged outstanding amount had risen to Rs. 8,043. Moreover, HDFC had directly withdrawn the amount from his savings account without any authority, having charged interest at the rate of Rs. 1,630 a year. He accused HDFC Bank of unfair trade practice and deficiency in service. The bank denied the charges. The Forum observed that HDFC Bank had failed to substantiate its claim and ordered it to refund Rs. 8050 to Sheth with 9% interest and pay him Rs. 1,500 for mental agony and harassment and Rs. 1,500 towards litigation costs.

Lufthansa ordered to pay Rs. 80,000 for ‘anti-consumer policy’


Dr. R. Bhaskaran and his wife, Banumathy, purchased tickets of Lufthansa German Airlines through a travel agent in Chennai paying Rs.1.6 lakh. While they undertook the onward journey to the US as scheduled, their return journey was kept open for the period of the ticket’s validity. However, Dr. Bhaskaran was taken ill and the couple decided to return to India. They approached Lufthansa Airlines but were told that tickets were not available. They managed to return to India by North West Airlines, paying heavily for the tickets. On return, they approached the travel agent who had reportedly informed them that the unused part of the fare could be refunded on medical grounds, subject to a deduction of Rs. 4000. However, Lufthansa Airlines contended that the complainants had got discounted tickets under the Excursion Fare Scheme and were not eligible for a refund.

The couple complained to the District Forum in Chennai. The Forum’s order went against the airline and it was directed to refund Rs. 80,080 with costs of Rs. 1,000. The airline filed an appeal before the State Commission but the latter upheld the earlier order. Aggrieved, the airline filed a revision petition before the National Commission. The National Commission observed that an air ticket is a document of contract between a passenger and an airline and it has to contain the specific terms and conditions. The airline can’t withhold some information on its records and not incorporate them in clear terms in the tickets. As such the airline’s actions and policy were ‘anti-consumer’. It dismissed the revision petition.

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