Chennai: A Consumer Forum in Chennai asked the Axis Bank and Balaji Agencies to pay a compensation of Rs 40,000 for causing mental agony and harassment to a customer.

The complainant, MJ Sankar, had availed a car loan from Axis Bank Limited for a sum of Rs 334,000 during June 2007. Shankar had to repay the amount in 60 equal monthly instalments of Rs 7,464 each. According to the complainant, he had paid all instalments on time.

However, as per the complaint, Balaji Agencies, which is a collection agent of Axis Bank, visited the complainant’s house on the morning of January 21 and told that the complainant defaulted for January 2008. The agent produced a piece of paper, which stated that payment for January and December is due.

The agent compelled Shankar to pay the due amount, even though the latter explained the situation after verifying with his bank for January 2008. As per the complainant, the agent shouted and stood in front of the complainant’s house, blocking Shankar from taking his child to school. Moreover, the agent began to complicate the situation via his actions, as Shankar’s neighbours watched the entire incident. The complainant claimed that the agent’s actions had caused damage to his reputation and mental agony.

“I also received phone calls, threatening me to pay the due amount immediately. If I did not, they would enter my name into CIBIL records, which would stop me from availing loans from anywhere. They added that they would take away my car for which the loan was advanced,” Shankar mentioned in the statement.

According to the complainant, he had cleared the EMI for January 2008 on January 5, 2008. Following the incident, the complainant issued a legal notice to the opposite parties (Axis Bank and Balaji Agencies) for deficiency in service and demanded compensation for the same. The opposite parties received the notice on February 4, 2008, but did not reply.

Meanwhile, the bank denied all allegations made by Shankar. “The complainant had availed a loan of Rs 334,000 in June 2007 and agreed to repay the amount through EMI. The January 2008 instalment was not debited to the complainant’s loan account, and so a request was raised with the collection agency. However, the error was rectified within ten days, and all issues ended. The instruction was given to the agent not to approach the complainant,” the bank had said

After 11 years since the incident, a Chennai Consumer Forum, on December 2019, asked the opposite parties to jointly pay Rs 30,000 towards compensation for mental agony and Rs 10,000 for harassment.

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. Dheeshma has also made short films and documentaries. Her documentary �Still I Rise�, which is based on sex-trafficking in Hyderabad�s Old City, has earned accolades in several film festivals, such as International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala (IDSFFK). An avid foodie, she loves to travel and listen to stories that others tell. Photography is one of her all-time interests. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, health, consumer, and data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.

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