How to File a Consumer Complaint Against Your Bank

Modern banks are fundamental to the development of any economy, playing a vital role in the socio-economic matters of a country. In fact, they are so ubiquitous that you will find them almost everywhere — from the poorest of the countries to the richest ones. In spite of all their pervasiveness, the banks, still make mistakes.

These mistakes lead to complaints by customers. A consumer complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction by a consumer against a service provider, in this case, the bank. Lack of knowledge of fair practice codes among employees and banks’ lack of commitment to adhere to agreed terms and conditions are usually main reasons giving rise to consumer grievances. Some consumer complaints may be related to ATMs, misbehaviour of recovery agents, and charging hidden penalties.

So how do you get your grievances redressed? Filing consumer complaints against banks has become easier over time, and the following steps will guide you on how to go about the entire process if you’re ever in need.

Lodging a Complaint at the Bank

A consumer can file a complaint at the concerned branch, in writing. Almost all banks have their own grievance cells. It is, therefore, possible to sort out issues by visiting the bank and meeting officials. Service quality departments in public sector banks deal with customer grievances, while some banks have rolled out toll-free customer care numbers.

Higher Officials

If the concerned bank does not redress the grievance of the customer within 30 days from the date when the complaint was lodged, the customer may approach higher authorities. The Regional/Zonal Manager’s contact details should be available at the branch.

Banking Ombudsman

Brought out by the RBI in 1995, this scheme seeks to redress consumer complaints against deficient services by banks. Banking Ombudsmen are senior officials, presently 15 in number, whose offices are located in state capitals across the country. They try to bring about a legally binding settlement between the concerned parties. In case of settlement is not arrived at, he passes a judgement after both parties present their sides.

A complaint can be filed at the office of the Ombudsman under whose jurisdiction the customer’s branch is located. Credit cards or other types of services related grievances are to be filed with the ombudsman in whose territorial jurisdiction the billing address of the customer is located. An email can be sent, or the complaint form on RBI’s website can be filled to register a complaint. There are also certain grounds for rejection by an ombudsman. If the customer has not approached his bank for redressing his grievance first, or the subject is pending or has already been dealt with by any other forum are certain examples of the same.

The scheme caps the amount of compensation to the value of Rs 10 lakh or actual loss suffered (whatever is less).

Appellate Authority

If a customer is left unsatisfied with the settlement offered by the ombudsman, he or she can file an appeal before the Deputy Governor of the RBI (Appellate authority in this case) before 30 days. Other consumer redressal forums can also be approached.

The process of filing a consumer complaint against a bank explained above will definitely help you exercise your consumer rights and seek justice for any wrong done to you by any bank.