A District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum on Monday directed Axis Bank to pay squash champion Dipika Pallikal a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh and costs of Rs.5,000 for deficiency in service.
In her complaint filed in 2012, Ms Pallikal, said she had been humiliated and distressed when the bank declined her transaction via debit card at a hotel in Rotterdam despite her having a balance of more than ten times the value of the transaction amount. The bank claimed the incident was a case of force majeure and beyond their control.
A month later, the same bank returned a Government of India cheque of Rs.1 lakh - an award from the Union Sports Ministry, which Ms Pallikal, an Arjuna Awardee and recipient of the Padma Shri, who is ranked No.1 in India and 11 in the World, had deposited into her account. The bank later cited a technical error. Ms Pallikal had claimed compensation for mental agony, among other reasons, to the tune of Rs.10 lakh.
"This is a victory for the consumers of India. It's reaffirms our faith in Consumer Courts. It will motivate other consumers who are wronged by service providers to stand up and fight for justice. A big thank you to all those who stood by me", said Ms Pallikal.
Sanjay Pinto, advocate for Ms Pallikal said," We are very happy with the verdict. We are awaiting the certified copy of the order. Service providers like banks cannot leave their customers in the lurch, wash their hands off and hide behind disclaimers like force majeure. That's the stern message this verdict will send out to all those who short change consumers. What's worse, after their deficiency in service, the bank's snide remarks on my client's mental strength were insensitive and constituted a double whammy. This is a great day for the consumer movement in India."