The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission instructed SBI Credit Card to pay up Rs 20,000 as the compensation for misguiding and harassing its card holder along with litigation cost of Rs 2,200.
The company has been asked to ensure that only the sum required to be deposited by the card holder should be mentioned under the column ‘minimum amount' due and ‘total amount due' of the statement. At the same time if the card holder has a surplus in his account it should be stated clearly so that the directions for making the minimum payment are not printed on the monthly statement.
Bhupinder Singh Bindra, the complainant, said that in November 2006, he received a credit card statement of Rs 6,209.66 against which he made a payment of Rs 5,000. The statement showed his total amount due as Rs 8,990.34.
In December, his statement showed a total outstanding amount of Rs 2,234.66, which he paid. The total amount due, in that statement was shown as Rs 11,065.34 without any explanation for the same.
In January, 2007 he again received a monthly statement showing the total amount to be paid by him as Rs 623.87 against which, he paid Rs 1,000.
The February's statement addressed to Mr. Bindra mentioned an amount of Rs 356.09 due. The total amount due in that statement was Rs 2,800. He paid a sum of Rs 280 in that month.Subsequently, he wrote a letter to the company asking for the statement of account of the previous two years and also the procedure through which, they had been charging money from him.
Pending an explanation, in the meantime, he received another statement showing an amount of Rs 3,111.49 and the total amount due as Rs 4,700.
Mr. Bindra received a reply from SBI stating that all the charges had been explained in the tariff sheet. The company said the total outstanding money due was Rs 6,209.66 and the customer had deposited Rs 5,000.
The panel ruled that the credit card company has been inefficient in providing service. It held: "It shows that the statements were issued blindly without any application of mind, which not only confused the complainant, but even their own lawyer was unable to explain the same and had to call an official from the company."
"All credit card companies should properly design their pro forma for compiling and sending the monthly billing statements to their customers", the panel added.