Complaints: SBI Cards tops, ICICI is second
BS Reporter in Mumbai | BS | December 17, 2007 | 09:05 IST
SBI Cards, the second largest issuer of credit cards, has topped the list of complaints from credit cardholders, with the banking ombudsman receiving 2,654 complaints against it. ICICI Bank, the largest credit card issuer, with 1,451 complaints follows SBI Cards in the list.
A senior RBI official said, "The complaints range from using strong-arm tactics to recover money, levy of excessive rates, charging customers for false transactions, among others. These are very serious complaints. Almost 90 per cent of the cases that come to the ombudsman are awarded in favour of the customers."
The highest number of customer complaints received by the banking ombudsman relate to credit cards. Of 34,499 complaints, 7,669 are related to credit cards.
An SBI Cards official said, "The numbers do not give the right picture as they include all cards-related complaints including debit cards."
The RBI official, however, clarified that the credit card-related complaints did not include those of debit cards.
SBI Cards is a joint venture between State Bank of India and GE Money with a credit card base of over 5 million.
Sachin Khandelwal, head, cards, ICICI Bank, said, "For a bank having a total base of 9.5 million cards and more than 219.75 million transactions a year, a complaint number of 1,451 works out to around 0.19 complaints per thousand customers.''
"Of all the credit card complaints against us received through the Banking Ombudsman offices of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), only three awards have been passed against ICICI Bank Credit Cards in the last one year,'' added Khandelwal.
Most complaints relate to charge-backs, where a customer is not willing to wait for 45 to 60 days for the completion of investigations of a disputed transaction.
Complaints on transactions relate to disputes between the merchant and the customer regarding services and products where the customer is either dissatisfied with or is contesting the transaction itself.
Internet-based transactions are the most contentious, with customers reporting the misuse or cancellation of transactions, especially for travel payments.
As these involve multiple banks and, at times, international entities, the association rules specify a minimum period of 45 days. Customers tend to file a complaint before the dispute process is resolved.
Others concern insurance-related charges on credit cards, misuse, stealing or loss of cards.
The second most common cause for customer grievance is banks levying a penal charge in instances where the customer has failed to pay even the minimum amount due and requested for a waiver, claiming that they have been regular in their payments in the past.
"These complaints have reached the banking ombudsman window since the banks have been unable to resolve these complaints," said the RBI official.
Largest credit card issuer ICICI Bank, with 1,451 complaints, follows SBI Cards on the list
Complaints include use of force to recover money, levy of excessive rates and charging customers for false transactions
The highest number of complaints received by the banking ombudsman relates to credit cards
Other complaints relate to disputes between the merchant and the customer over services and products