Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ICICI withholds Loan Obligations - Consumer Forum Rules against ICICI...

For some time now, consumer forums have been ruling on unfair practices carried out by banks, with ICICI Bank being one of the banks having been penalized in the past for various actions that have gone against consumer practices. In this case, a forum ruled against the bank after it was disclosed that the bank had not provided the consumer (who had taken a loan from the bank), all the details regarding the conditions and terms of the loan. The consumer had taken a personal loan from the bank, and after realizing the interest for the loan (after reviewing the EMI payments), realized that the loan was very expensive. However, closing out the loan was not as simple as one would have thought:

Pal had instituted a complaint under Consumer Protection Act saying that he availed a personal loan of Rs 40,636 from the bank in September 2006. The loan installments were Rs 2,199 each for 36 months but he was allegedly not informed about the rate of interest as well as other terms and conditions of the loan. The complaint added that the bank assured Pal that he would receive the terms and conditions at his postal address. It was averred that he received a cheque of Rs 37,719 but neither the terms of the loan were conveyed to him nor the rate of interest disclosed.

However, Pal was surprised to note from the EMI schedule that the rate of interest being charged from him was very high, which was against the guidelines issued by RBI. Unhappy with the rate of interest, he approached bank for foreclosure of loan, whereupon he was advised to complete the EMIs for at least six months in order to avail the benefit of one time settlement. It was alleged that even after receiving the full and final settlement amount, the bank illegally withdrew an amount of Rs 2,199 in year 2008 from his account as per statement.

This is something that has been in the past, many times; with the consumers either promised something else verbally and the same condition not being implemented in writing; in addition, bank officials in many cases give the impression that they are not too concerned about consumer service and make life more difficult for the bank customers


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