A senior journalist started an online petition demanding that banks treat customers fairly.

Tired of your banks random charges You might want to sign this petition demanding RBI step inPTI/Representational Image
news Banks Sunday, May 21, 2017 - 16:02

How often have you felt hoodwinked by your own banks? Miffed by the “banks abusing middle-class customers”, a senior journalist, Sucheta Dalal, started an online petition demanding that banks “treat customers fairly” and stop “ frequent, arbitrary and one-sided increase in banking charges”.

The petition, which was posted on March 18, has got more than 125,000 signatures by Sunday afternoon. 

“There are no rules to guide banking charges and fees. This means banks can keep increasing their fees and charge us for random services such as receiving an email,” writes Sucheta in the email accompanying the petition. 

In order to reign in unfair practices of the banks, Sucheta, on behalf of bank customers, consumer activists, policy watchers, bankers, and trade unions had written a memorandum to Reserve Bank of India Governor Urijit Patel. A copy of the same had also been sent to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank is the regulator in the banking sector.

In March, most major banks (government and private) hiked charges for banking services and started charging for services, which were until then free, while restricting some free services.

Read more: Banks increase transaction fee, minimum balance, and even bank employees think it’s wrong

“We, a group of bank consumers and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are disturbed at the unfair treatment that bank customers suffer in the form of frequent, arbitrary and one-sided increase in banking charges, or the refusal of banks to automatically pass on contractual benefits such as lower interest to those with floating rate home loans, or the rampant mis-sellling of third-party products such as insurance,” writes Sucheta in her Change.org petition.

The petition further alleges, “The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as the banking regulator has been proactive in improving the customer service rendered by banks. However, the RBI has not taken banks to task on the many customer-unfriendly practices that are increasing with impunity.”

Sucheta in her post also alleged that the RBI had remained silent against banks on their anti-depositor actions. She also pointed out that banks are mis-selling  third-party insurance and financial products.

The petition also listed some “corrective steps” on part of the central bank to safeguard consumer interests.

Apart from creating a digital-payments friendly environment, the petition has suggested that the central bank adopt global best practices and make digital transactions more secure to limit liabilities on customers.

Bank Account Portability, charges for add-on programs without the customer’s consent were some of the issues highlighted in the petition.
You can find the Change.org petition here.


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