Credit card complaints top list of grievances: RBI ombudsman
Moneylife Digital Team 02 February 2011

Next biggest areas of complaints in 2009-10 were basic banking facilities and problems over loans and advances  

Credit card grievances relating to overcharging and issuance of unsolicited cards accounted for the bulk of complaints received by the banking ombudsman in 2009-10.

The banking ombudsman received 18,810 credit card complaints, which constitute nearly a quarter of the total grievances in the year, according to data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). While the volume of complaints is huge, percentagewise it is lower than the 25.5% in the previous year. The number of credit card complaints in 2008-09 was 17,648 and 10,129 in 2007-08.

The RBI launched the banking ombudsman scheme in 2005 to redress grievances of customers. In 2009-10, the total number of complaints received was 79,266, a 15% increase from the total 69,117 complaints received in the previous year.  

"A general source of complaints continues to be the difficulty in accessing the credit card issuers and the poor response from the call centres. Simply put, this is an issue of non-transparency and mis-selling," the RBI said.

The type of card-related complaints consists of items like issuance of unsolicited credit cards and recovery of premium charges, charging of annual fee in spite of it being offered as a 'free' card. The ombudsman also received complaints of disputes over wrong billing, abusive calls, excessive charges, wrong debits to account, non-dispensation of money from ATM and some others. Credit card complaints also include issues related to debit cards and ATM cards.

The ombudsman also received complaints relating to failure on commitments made by banks, which include delay in providing banking facilities. At 11,569 complaints, this constitutes the next biggest area of concern (15%). "This points to the lack of sensitivity, transparency. As these complaints mostly relate to basic banking facilities, banks need to address these issues on a priority basis without any demur," the RBI said.

The ombudsman also received 6,612 complaints related to loans and advance, 1,609 complaints against direct selling agents or recovery agents.

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