Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) has been ordered by a consumer forum here to pay Rs 20,000 as compensation to one of its credit card holders for adding his name in CIBIL’s defaulters list even though he had paid all his dues.

While awarding the amount to the HSBC credit card holder, the New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum said the Bank should have “gracefully” accepted its fault instead of adopting an “obstructionist attitude” by seeking rejection of his complaint.

“We are shocked to observe the obstructionist attitude of opposite party (HSBC) which instead of accepting the fault gracefully by filing a reply has sought rejection of the complaint on ground of remedy of arbitration under the Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (CIBIL) Act,” said the bench presided by C.K Chaturvedi said.

“It (HSBC) has not disputed facts. The remedy under the Consumer Protection Act is not affected by the arbitration agreement. We dismiss the application of the opposite party and award a compensation of Rs 20,000 to the complainant (Rakesh Gupta) inclusive of litigation expenses,” said the bench.

Delhi resident Rakesh Gupta in his complaint had alleged that he had been issued a HSBC credit card on understanding that no annual charges would be levied, yet after the first two months of usage the Bank started levying the charges.

When he made a representation to the bank about annual charges, the same were reversed temporarily, he said adding that in 2006 he paid all the outstanding dues and asked the bank to close the card.

Rakesh Gupta alleged the bank, instead of closing the card, continued showing the annual charges as outstanding and informed CIBIL that he was a defaulter, without giving him a notice.

The bank had sought dismissal of the complaint against it on the ground that the remedy available was through arbitration only.

(This article was published on September 20, 2012)
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