Know your rights as a Customer. Don’t let banks dupe you.

Updated on December 5, 20183 mins read
customer rights

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released a Charter of Consumer Rights. These rights are meant to protect all customers and are based on global best practices. All Financial Service Providers (FSP’s) including scheduled commercial banks, regional rural banks and urban co-operative banks, are bound by this Charter and must adhere to it.

The 5 rights are akin to your fundamental rights as a customer: (i) Right to Fair Treatment; (ii) Right to Transparency; Fair and Honest Dealing; (iii) Right to Suitability; (iv) Right to Privacy; and (v) Right to Grievance Redress and Compensation. If any of these rights are violated, you can hold the FSP accountable.

(i) Right to Fair Treatment

This right deals with courteous treatment and lays down that no discrimination on grounds of gender, age, religion, caste or physical ability for the customer and the Financial Service Providers (FSP) should take place. This does not mean that FSPs can’t have special schemes targeted at particular sections of society.

(ii) Right to Transparency; Fair and Honest Dealing

Want to avail a home loan? Take the FSP to task if you are asked to sign agreements that are too tedious to understand. The right requires the language in contracts to be drafted in a manner that’s transparent and can be easily understood by the common man. Important factors should be disclosed upfront: the price of the product, the inherent risks involved, the terms and conditions and the responsibilities of both the customer and the FSP.

You have the right to fair and honest services from the FSP. If it does not deliver on any of its promises, or subjected you to misleading representations, you can report the behavior. You have the right to object if your FSP resorts to threats whether verbal or physical, coercive behavior or harassment in any manner.

(iii) Right to Suitability

This right was drafted to protect you against aggressive marketing techniques of the FSP’s. They should invest time in understanding your financial needs, risk appetite and then suggest a product to you. Don’t let yourself be coerced into buy a product not suited for you.

(iv) Right to Privacy

You have the right to ask that all your personal information should be kept confidential except in specific cases where you provide consent to the provider or when it is required to be provided under the law or it is for a particular purpose (informed upfront to the customer) in which case it can be forwarded to a third party like a credit card company.

(v) Right to Grievance Redress and Compensation

Every customer should be informed clearly of the forums he can approach for his complaints and the ways he can be compensated by the FSP for any of its mistakes. The policies should clearly lay down the rights and duties of the customer for lapses in conduct, delays or non-performance caused by the provider or a third-party.

The draft Charter was released by RBI in August 2014. On the basis of feedback received, the final Charter was released in December 2014. The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) and the Banking Codes and Standards Board of India (BCSBI) have been advised by the RBI to formulate a “Model Customer Rights Policy” on the basis of the basic principles mentioned in this Charter.  The progress and adherence of the Charter shall be monitored by the Central Bank over time.

How to exercise your rights?

If you have any complaints against your bank, you should first make an official complaint against the bank. If they do not take the necessary action, you can approach the Banking Ombudsman. The Banking Ombudsman is appointed by the Reserve Bank of India to redress customer complaints against certain deficiency in banking services under the Banking Ombudsman Scheme, 2006 . You can also make an online complaint through the RBI website.

Ensure your bank performs the basic responsibilities it must while serving you. If you feel that any bank communication has coercive contractual terms, raise your voice. If you have been subject to unfair business or marketing practices exercise your rights. Be an empowered customer.

Cheers to a healthy, financially-stable and comfortable life!


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