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Friday, April 4, 2014

Consumer Forum asks Axis Bank to compensate Dipika Pallikal

In Sept. 2013, I had posted on ‘failure of card swipe’ – Diplika Pallikal suing bank and bank stating that it was ‘AOG” ………  Straight drive; boast; volley; lob; nick shot; skid boast; mizuki….the squash champ is used to these term – but chose to agitate before a different Court, to which the other player relied on ‘perils’ and to be more precise ‘AOG’ peril.  

It was reported that  Arjuna awardee and squash champion Dipika Pallikal, livid by the way the Axis Bank treated her during a foreign tour, claimed that it affected her performance and has sued the bank for Rs 10 lakh. The Bank reportedly responded by  lobbing the ball  back saying she’ isn’t tough enough’.

Dipika is the first Indian woman to crack the top 10 in WSA rankings. Ranked number 13 in the world in 2011, Pallikal was participating in the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Squash Open in Rotterdam, Holland. Before her first round match, she had to pay a bill of 490 euros (Rs 30,000)  when she checked out of Brainpark hotel there.  It is reported that despite having a balance of more than Rs 2 lakh in her account, the transaction failed, with the card-reading device showing link error.  She sued the bank for the humiliation she felt and the loss of reputation after  that transaction was declined even though she had enough money in her account. In her consumer complaint, Dipika said some players from other countries even made snide remarks on her credit-worthiness as well as about the country.

In its written version, the bank denied causing mental agony to Dipika. “The very fact that the complainant is not able to take the slightest disturbance would prove that she lacks the requisite mental toughness of a world champion… she is only making excuses for her non-performance and it is unfortunate and unethical to allege criminal acts on the bank for technical failure that took place in a foreign soil on which the bank has no control.”

Today, TOI reports that Consumer Fourm hearing her case, directed Axis Bank to pay her a compensation of 5 lakh for deficiency in service. Dipika initiated a case before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chennai (South) in 2012, claiming that the “humiliation” adversely affected her match performance. Later that year, Dipika received a cheque of 1 lakh from the Union sports ministry. She submitted it to the same bank for clearance, but the money was not credited into her account, she said. However, in September 2013, the bank apologised to Dipika for its remarks questioning her mental toughness.  Dipika pursued the case against the bank “on principle.”

On Monday, the forum bench comprising its president P Jayapalan and member L Deenadayalan directed Axis Bank to pay the compensation along with an interest of 10% from the date of filing the complaint, along with 5,000 as case costs, in two months. Asked about the victory, Dipika said: “I am happy as the court took note of what I went through for no fault of mine. This is a victory for consumers of India and proves consumer is king. It reaffirms our faith in consumer courts. It will motivate others who are wronged by service providers to stand up and fight for justice.” Thanking her fans, Dipika said: “I am touched by the support and wishes of all my fans.”  Sanjay Pinto, her counsel, said: “Not all celebrities fight back when they are shortchanged, as they are busy. I'm glad Dipika chose to make a point. Through this verdict, the court has emboldened consumers to complain whenever they are faced with the wrong end of the stick.” Despite attempts to contact them, Axis Bank officials were not available for comments.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Mar 2o14.


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