*Picture Courtesy :Scrol.com

SBI and its ATM user-a woman- fought a case over the withdrawal of cash from an ATM using her debit card by her husband who was given the PIN by her. The husband did not get the cash. She filed a case. The court ruled in favour of the SBI and not the husband.

Why?

It was part of a casual act of allowing the spouse or a close relative/friend withdraw money from an ATM using woman's debit card. It can prove costly. This is what a woman based in Benglauru on maternity leave recently learnt, albeit the hard way.

Banking rules categorically state that an ATM card is non-transferable and no other person apart from the account holder should use it.

At ground zero the scene was different. On November 14, 2013, Marathahalli resident Vandana gave her debit card with the PIN to her husband, Rajesh Kumar, to withdraw Rs 25,000 from a local SBI ATM.

Soon, Rajesh moved out and used the ATM and swiped the card; the machine delivered a slip showing the money was debited, but the amount was never released. SBI cited the ‘non-transferable’ rule and said the account holder was not the ATM user and turned down the money claims.

Vandana moved the Bangalore IVth Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum on October 21, 2014, alleging that SBI had failed to refund the Rs 25,000 she’d lost in the ATM transaction. 

The truth is when the ATM did deliver the money, Rajesh called the concerned office of the SBI only to note that it was an ATM fault and the money would be reverted to the account within 24 hours.

Since money was not traced, he approached the SBI's Helicopter Division branch at HAL with a complaint. Later, SBI allegedly closed the case in a few days, arguing the transaction was correct and the customer got the money.

Struggling to get justice, Rajesh and his wife obtained CCTV footage that showed him using the machine, but no cash being dispensed. Then, they lodged a complaint with the SBI. Investigation committee ruled that Vandana, the cardholder, is not seen in the footage. 

Next, Vandana, through an RTI, obtained a cash verification report of the ATM for November 16, 2013. The report showed excess cash of Rs 25,000 in the machine. The report submitted in the court was later countered by the SBI counsel who produced a report showing no excess cash.

Before approaching the consumer forum, the couple made a final plea to the bank ombudsman who simply ruled, ‘PIN shared, case closed.’ 

Record shows that the case went on and on for over three-and-a-half years. Vandana wanted SBI to return her money lost due to an ATM flaw, but the bank stood its ground, citing the rule that sharing ATM PIN with someone else was a violation. 

Inside the court, the SBI presented documents, including log records, showing the stated ATM transaction was successful and technically correct.

Finally, in its verdict on May 29, 2018, the court ruled that Vandana should have given a self-cheque or an authorisation letter to her husband for withdrawal of Rs 25,000, instead sharing the PIN and making him withdraw the money. The court dismissed the case.

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