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Receipt with no endorsement is more than enough in credit card settlement

Written By Views maker on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 | 1:35 AM

BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL

FORUM, COLLECTORATE CAMPUS, COIMBATORE-18.

Present: Thiru R.DHANDAPANI, B.Sc.,B.L., President

Thiru K.RATHINAM, M.A., Member

Tmt.S.SARASWATHI, B.Sc., Member

C.C.NO.39/2010

Monday, the 11th day of July, 2011

A.P.Muruganandam,

S,o A.N.Palanisamy,

No.4, B.K.R. Nagar, Sathy Road,

Coimbatore- 641 012. --- Complainant

Vs

1. SBI Cards & Payment Services (P) Ltd.,

P.B. No. 28, G.R.O, New Delhi- 110 001.

2. Stat Bank of India,

Cards & Payment Recovery Services,

Coimbatore- 641 011. --- Opposite Parties

This case coming on for final hearing before us on 27.6.11 in the presence of Thiru N.D.N.Parthasarathy, Advocate for complainant and of Thiru A.M. Martin, Advocate for opposite parties and upon perusing the case records and hearing the arguments and the case having stood over to this day for consideration, this Forum passed the following:

ORDER

THIRU R.DHANDAPANI, PRESIDENT

Complaint under Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

The case of the complainant, in brief, is as below:

1. The complainant was the holder of credit card issued by the opposite parties. Final settlement was made on 18.3.06 and the complainant closed his credit card account. The receipt issued by the collection agent bars the endorsement ”AGAINST FULL SETTLEMENT” since then, the complainant had nothing to do with the credit card account and it was agreed that nothing more remained to be paid. Whileso the complainant was shocked to receive a letter from the first opposite party claiming as due a sum of Rs.3,283.17p as if the credit card account was still alive. There was also a threat of appropriate legal proceedings against the complainant. Further the complainant received frequent telephone calls from the local Collection agent using foul language which caused great mental agony to the complainant. Hence the complainant caused a legal notice to be issued on 7.10.09 for which the opposite parties sent a reply. The complainant who is an engineer with good business dealings and contacts has been harassed to the maximum extent by the opposite parties. Hence they should be directed to give a clear guidance towards his past credit card account and pay a compensation of Rs.1,00,000/- for mental agony besides cost of the proceedings.

The written version allegations of the opposite party, in brief, is as below:

2. The complaint is bad for non joinder of parties. The complainant has paid dues pertaining to the month of March 2006 in part as against the total due amount and the alleged receipt with endorsement “AGAINST FULL SETTLEMENT” is totally denied by this opposite party as false and not maintainable. The endorsement on the receipt is not valid since the same should be supported by a full and final settlement letter issued by the opposite parties on its letter head. Since the card account is running account and it would continue until the procedure for closure of cards as mentioned in the card holder’s agreement is followed. No settlement letter has been obtained and the balance amount was liable to be paid. Hence, the charges have been accumulating over the period of time. The collection person is not entitled to issue receipt the such endorsement and the said collection agent who issued the receipt has not been made a party to the proceedings. When any credit account holder reminds defaulter the banks make follow up massacres to recover the amount. At no point of time, did any of the officers or agent had ever behaved as mentioned in the complaint. When the complainant chooses to use the card he subject himself to the terms and conditions of the card holder’s agreement. Hence the follow up measures had been taken within the framework of the terms and conditions of the cardholder’s agreement. There can be no deficiency of service or mental agony as alleged by the complainant. As per the terms and conditions the entire liability as far as the credit card is concern became due and payable and the same was required to be paid on the due date. Things being so the complainant never came forward to settle the amount due. The complainant has come to this Forum only with an intention to avoid payment of outstanding amount. The complaint is therefore liable to be dismissed.

3. The points that arise for consideration in this complaint are:-

1. whether the complaint is bad for non joinder of parties?

2. whether this Forum, has no territorial jurisdiction to entertain this complaint ?;

3. whether the opposite parties have committed deficiency in service? and

4. Whether the complainant is entitled to any compensation?

4. On behalf of the complainant, the Proof Affidavit of the complainant was filed and Exhibits A1 to A5 were marked.

5. On the side of the opposite parties, the Proof Affidavit of the opposite parties was filed and Ex.B1 to B3 was marked.

Point No.1

6. The opposite parties resist the claim of the complainant stating that their company is a Multi National Company and a join venture of M/s.GE Capital, incorporated at USA, with limited liability in India and the complaint is bad for non joinder of parties as the above M/s. GE Capital has not been added as a party by the complainant.

7. It is their further argument that on every usage of the card, the charge slip is sent by the vendor / shop /dealer to the acquirer who is VISA the basic company (Banker) which makes a payment to the vendor immediately on presentation of the charge slip by the vendor and, therefore, failure to implead the VISA is fatal to the case of the complainant.

8. However, there is nothing on record to show that M/s.GE Capital and the opposite parties are joint venture companies. Hence impleading of M/s.GE Capital is not necessary to this complaint.

9. Equally, the opposite parties have not produced any records, showing that the charge slip is sent by vendor to the acquirer who is VISA. Hence the contention of the opposite parties that VISA is a necessary party has to fail. Considering the above facts we hold that the complaint is not bad for non joinder of parties. Point No1 is answered accordingly.

Point No.2

10. According to the opposite parties, that as per the agreement the exclusive jurisdiction has been vested with the Courts of Delhi and, therefore, the complaint is not maintainable before this Forum. The opposite parties have not produced the so called agreement said to have been signed by the complainant limiting the jurisdiction regarding litigation to Delhi only. Hence the argument of the opposite parties on this aspect is rejected. Point 2 is answered accordingly.

Point No.3

6. The grievance of the complainant is that the opposite parties have committed deficiency in service by claiming a sum of Rs.30130 as due from him even though he has paid the entire amount payable to them on 18.3.06 by way of final settlement. It is his further case the opposite parties have caused metnal agony and sufferings to him by their threats to take legal proceedings against him.

7. Per contra, the opposite parties contend that the alleged settlement is not true and the complainant has paid dues pertaining to the month of March 2006 in part as against the total due amount and the endorsement on the receipt is not valid. Hence, according to them, the complainant is yet to make further payments for which they have issued notice and, therefore, they cannot be accused of committing deficiency in service.

8. In support of his claim for having made final payment, the complainant has submitted Ex.A1 which is titled “TEMPORARY CASH/DD/CHEQUE COLLECTED RECEITP NO.4960221”. A perusal of the above document reveals that the collecting agent of the opposite parties have collected a sum of Rs.9,000/- from the complainant on 25..3.06 against full settlement. Hence the opposite parties cannot now contend that their collection agent is not authorized to make such endorsement such as “AGAINST FULL SETTELMENT”. It is noteworthy that the above receipt stating “AGAINT FULL SETTLEMENT” has been issued in the receipt bearing the logo of the SBI Cards with the signature of their collecting agent. Hence it is too late in the day for the opposite parties to contend that the above amount was not towards full and final settlement.

9. Even though, in paragraph 5 of their written version, they have contended that the complainant has paid the above amount towards dues for the month of March 2006 in part as against the total due amount, they have not produced a single piece of paper or statement of accounts showing the amount payable by the complainant as of March 2006 showing the total amount due from him and the part amount paid by him.

10. Ex.A2 is the letter dt.19.9.09 issued by the opposites parties to the complainant demanding a sum of Rs.30,283.17p towards outstandings and payable by him for the usage of the SBI cards. It is pertinent to note that the above notice had been issued after a lapse of one year and six months of the full and final settlement made under Ex.A1 dt.18.3.06. If really that was not against full and final payment as of March 2006, the opposite parties would have sent monthly statement of accounts to the complainant and would have resorted to legal proceedings when the amount is not paid in time. But they have sent Ex.A2, the legal notice dt.19.9.09, after a lapse of three and half years revealing that their contentions are not true.

11. Ex.A4 is the legal notice issued by the advocates of the opposite parties dt.17.12.09 from New Delhi wherein they have demanded a sum of Rs.32,113.74p as due and payable by the complainant towards the usage of the credit card by the complainant. In the above notice, they have threatened to initiate arbitration proceedings etc. if the amount is not paid. When the complainant has made full and final settlement as early as March 2006, as per Ex.A1 the question of complainant paying further amount warranting legal action in the year 2009 does not arise. At any rate, when a dispute has been raised before this Forum in this regard the opposite parties are bound to submit the statement of accounts and explain how the above amount is due, and payable by the complainant. However they have not let in any evidence, muchless acceptable evidence, in this regard. The above facts unfold that the opposite parties have committed deficiency in service by claiming the above amount from the complainant inspite of the full and final settlement made by him and have caused him mental agony and sufferings by their legal notice etc.

12. For the aforesaid reasons, we hold that the opposite parties have committed deficiency in service and they are liable to pay compensation to the complainant for the mental agony sustained by her. Points 1 and 2 are answered accordingly.

13. In the result the complaint is allowed. We direct the opposite parties (a) to issue No Due Certificate to the complainant with regard to the credit card Account No.4317575024838162; (b) to pay a sum of Rs.25,000/- towards compensation for mental agony and other sufferings caused to the complainant due to their deficiency in service, and(c) to pay a sum of Rs.1000/- towards cost of the proceedings within a period of two months from the date of this order failing which the complainant is at liberty to execute this order u/s.25 and 27 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Pronounced by us in Open Forum on this the 11th day of July, 2011.

(Leave) (Sd/-) (Sd/-)

(K.RATHINAM) (S.SARASWATHI) (R.DHANDAPANI)

Member Member President

List of Exhibits marked for the complainant:

1. Ex.A1/18-3-06 Copy of the receipt issued by the opposite parties.

2. Ex.A2/19-9-09 Copy of letter issued by the 1st opposite party.

3. Ex.A3/7-10-09 Copy of the legal Notice issued by the complainant to opp.parties

4. Ex.A4/17.12.09 Copy of reply to the above legal notice

5. Ex.A5/18.12.10 Copy of notice issued by District Legal Services Authority

List of Exhibits marked for the opposite parties:-

1. Ex.B1/- Copy SBI Credit card’s manual

2. Ex.B2/- Copy of tariff and charges applicable for card

3. Ex.B3/- Copy of terms and conditions of card

(Leave) (Sd/-) (Sd/-)

(K.RATHINAM) (S.SARASWATHI) (R.DHANDAPANI)

Member Member President

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