The HDFC Bank has been asked by a district consumer forum here to pay “exemplary damages” of Rs one lakh to one of its credit card holders for harassing him by raising an “illegal” demand of Rs 46,490 for a purchase that was never made.
The New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, has made a landmark judgment by asking HDFC Bank to pay Rs 1 Lakh as exemplary damages to one of its customers for harassing him by raising a false credit card bill for Rs 46,490.
The demand was raised by the bank after a person went to a computer store to buy a laptop with complainant’s credit card number, but doubting the credential of the person, the shop owner did not sell him the laptop and informed the bank about the incident, i.e. the disputed transaction of Rs 46,490 never took place because the store owner neither sold the laptop nor raised any demand from the bank. Yet the bank raised an illegal demand from Mishra and forced him into litigation, said the consumer forum.
“The opposite party 2 (computer store) has not raised any demand from the bank nor has the bank paid any transaction amount for the laptop to the store. In these circumstances, there was no question of liability coming on complainant’s (Mishra) use of credit card.
“Counsel for opposite party 1 (HDFC Bank) is unable to defend the action of the bank. Accordingly, we hold the demand as illegal and hold it guilty of not only defending the demand negligently made (by it) since 2008, but also forcing a litigation on the complainant,” said the bench, presided by C K Chaturvedi. “We award an exemplary damage of Rs 1 lakh for harassment of the complainant by its (bank’s) careless attitude without application of mind,” the forum added.