HDFC Credit Cards
Date of Filing:19.12.2008
Date of Order: 18.03.2009
BEFORE THE I ADDITIONAL DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM SESHADRIPURAM BANGALORE-20
Dated: 18th DAY OF MARCH 2009
Sri. Bajentri H.M, B.A, LL.B., President
COMPLAINT NO. 2746 OF 2008
[FONT="]Aged About 35 Years,[/FONT]
[FONT="]R/at: Audio Vision,[/FONT]
[FONT="]73rd Main, Vasanth Nagar,[/FONT]
[FONT="]BANGALORE[/FONT][FONT="]. [/FONT]…. Complainant.
[FONT="]Cards Division, No.8,[/FONT]
[FONT="]Lattice Bridge Road[/FONT][FONT="],[/FONT]
[FONT="]Rep. by its Manager.[/FONT]
[FONT="]Post Box No.5106,[/FONT]
[FONT="]25/1, M.G. Road,[/FONT]
[FONT="]Rep. by its Branch Manager.[/FONT]…. Opposite Parties.
[FONT="](i)[/FONT][FONT="]To direct the opposite parties to comply with the deficiency in service and issue a settlement of all dues letter to the complainant,[/FONT]
[FONT="](ii) To direct the opposite parties to refund the entire amount taken from his saving bank account bearing No.00761000048331, with accrued interest,[/FONT]
[FONT="](iii) To hold the opposite parties deficient in their service and for using unfair trade practice direct the opposite parties to pay to the complainant in the form of damages an amount of Rs.2,00,000/- towards the mental trauma, physical strain and immense stress caused by the opposite parties,[/FONT]
[FONT="](iv) To pass any such order of relief that this Honorable Forum may seem fit to grant in the circumstances of the case,[/FONT]
[FONT="](v) To award costs of this dispute recoverable from the opposite parties.[/FONT]
The case of the complainant is as under:-
He is working for a private limited Company and residing at Bangalore. He availed credit card No. 4050 2820 0026 7851 from the opposite parties and the credit card was issued on his account No.00761000048331 with credit limit over lakh of rupees. He had been using the credit card for purchases and repaying the amount within the prescribed period till the year 2005. He had taken insurance policy and the premium in that regard was payable quarterly. He availed smart pay facility from the opposite party for payment of the insurance premium of Rs.2,500/- per quarter and he had 45 days time to make payment of the said amount to the opposite parties. The opposite parties were to make payment of Rs.2,500/- towards quarterly premium, but from the statement dated: 23.12.2005 he noticed that instead of Rs.2,500/- the opposite parties had paid Rs.5,033/- towards premium. Immediately he approached the opposite parties on various dates and informed that they had made payment of Rs.2,500/- in excess towards insurance premium and requested to sort out the issue.
He made payment of Rs.3,013/- through cheque No.311895 being the remaining amount after deducting the additional amount paid by the opposite parties. He also requested the opposite parties to stop smart pay facility and as per the letter dated: 21.01.2006 the opposite party cancelled the said facility with effect from 18.11.2006. Since then he has been in constant touch with opposite parties seeking clarifications about the additional payment made from his account. But the opposite parties evaded the quires and have kept on charging interest and late fee on the said amount. Though he has paid the entire outstanding dues he was getting bills of payment of dues which were actually not due and payable by him. He addressed several e-mails to the opposite parties. After receiving the entire outstanding amounts the opposite parties never issued any letter of settlement. Since he was repeatedly calling and sending e-mails to the opposite parties one official called him over phone and requested to approach opposite party No.1 and to show the receipts regarding payments and to collect a settlement letter. When he approached opposite party No.1, he was made to wait for long hours and finally one of the customer care people informed that they would get back after they have the information, but so far no reply is given. The opposite parties had in fact freezed and were threatening to set-off the funds available in his SB account. The opposite parties issued letter dated: 04.11.2008 calling upon him to remit the alleged outstanding amount of Rs.21,866.77 paise within seven days failing which, the amount would be debited to his SB account as per the ‘cross default’ clause of the card member agreement.
Thereupon he issued a legal notice dated: 12.11.2008 calling upon the opposite party not to forfeit the outstanding in the savings account. When he tried to contact the opposite parties in respect of the said letter one Gowda and another threatened him. Till date he has been receiving the letters, statements and SMS on his mobile stating that he has not paid the dues. He fails to understand that in spite of paying the entire amount his account shows an outstanding. The opposite parties have not only committed mistake in calculating the outstanding, but have forfeited the entire amount available in his savings account and have thus subjected him to lot of mental trauma and physical strain. Hence the complaint.
2. In the version the contention of the opposite parties is as under:-
Earlier the complainant had obtained a silver credit card with credit limit of Rs.65,000/- in the year 2005. Thereafter the credit card was upgraded to Visa- Platinum – Plus – Credit - Card with credit limit of Rs.1,55,000/- in the year 2007. The complainant had taken ‘Smart Pay Facility’ on the credit card to pay the insurance premium as and when demanded by the Insurance Company. Accordingly the amount was paid as per the demand made by the Insurance Company. They have no knowledge about the terms of the policy like the amount of premium and its period. They are only concerned with the payment of the respective demand made by the Insurance Company and they have promptly paid the amount towards premium.
They have no knowledge that the complainant has to pay Rs.2,500/- towards quarterly premium. The complainant was required to implead the Insurance Company also as a party to the proceedings. As per the request of the complainant the Smart Pay Facility was cancelled with effect from 18.11.2006. From August-2008 the complainant is not making any payment though there is sufficient balance in his credit card account. As per the statement dated: 23.10.2008 the complainant is due Rs.21,866.77 paise and the complainant has not come forward to pay the said amount in spite of repeated request and reminders and has filed the present complaint without proper reasons. Since the complainant fails to make payment of the dues in spite of several requests and reminders they exercised right of “General Lien” on the amount available in the SB account of the complainant to an extent of Rs.18,140.43 paise with effect from 04.11.2008 and the same has been intimated to the complainant through notice dated: 04.11.2008 by which the complainant was called upon to pay Rs.21,866.77 paise. They have every right of exercising ‘General Lien’ as per the card member agreement.
Therefore there is no illegality on the part of the opposite parties. The complainant is liable to pay the utilized amount by using the credit card. The complainant has not approached this Forum with clean hands and therefore not entitled to the relief prayed for.
3. In support of the respective contentions, both the parties have filed affidavits, have produced documents and have filed written arguments.
4. The points for consideration are:-
(1) Whether the complainant has proved deficiency in service on the part of the opposite parties?
(2) Whether the complainant entitled to the relief prayed for in the complaint?
5. Our findings on the above points are in the Negative for the following:-
6. The complaint is filed on 18.12.2008 alleging that, as per the statement dated: 23.12.2005 the opposite party has paid Rs.2,500/- in excess towards the insurance premium under the Smart Pay Facility. If the complainant noticed excess payment made by the opposite party towards the insurance premium in the monthly statement dated: 23.12.2005, the cause of action to claim refund of the excess payment made accrued to the complainant on 23.12.2005. As such, the complainant was required to file the complaint seeking relief in respect of the excess payment within two years from 23.12.2005 as provided in Section 24 of the Consumer Protection Act. The complaint filed on 18.12.2008 is beyond the period of two years and as such, the claim of the complainant in respect of excess payment of Rs.2,500/- towards insurance premium is barred by limitation. The complainant has not even filed application for condonation of delay as required Under Section 24(A) of the Consumer Protection Act. Therefore this claim being barred by limitation the complainant is not entitled to that relief. However from the prayers made by the complainant in the prayer column it is evident that he has not prayed for any relief in respect of excess payment of Rs.2500/- made by the opposite party towards insurance premium. Except the details of the excess payment of Rs.2,500/- towards premium the other averments in the complaint are very vague. The complainant claims that he had paid the entire amount due and in spite of it, the opposite party sent the letter dated: 04.11.2008 demanding Rs.21,866.77 paise. But the date on which the entire amount due was cleared, and what is the amount paid towards full clearance of the dues is not disclosed. It appears in spite of repeated demands and requests the complainant failed to make payment of Rs.21,866.77 paise and therefore exercising the right of ‘General Lien’ the opposite party debited Rs.18,140.43 paise to his SB account as stated in Para-8 of the version. As per the terms of the Card Member Agreement which is extracted in Para-8 of the version the opposite party is entitled to exercise such Right of Lien on the amount available in the SB account of the customer who fails to clear the dues in his credit card account. If that is so, the act of the opposite party in debiting the amount available in the SB account of the complainant towards the amount due in the credit card account will not amount to deficiency in service. As such, we hold that, the complainant is not entitled to the relief prayed for. In the result, we pass the following:-
8. Send a copy of this order to both the parties free of costs immediately.
9. Pronounced in the Open Forum on this 18th DAY OF MARCH 2009.