cpc

urgent: harrassment by credit card debt collection agencies

Associate project analyst

Hello there,

I am having major problems with an ICICI credit card I had way back in 2007. There were some unpaid charges on it and some transactions which I disputed way back in 2008. Then in 2009 I had agreed to pay a sum of Rs 45000/- to close this matter and asked them to send me a settlement letter in the post on the banks letterhead. However, no one got back to me and being overseas since then I lost track of it myself.

After all these years, now suddenly since 2012 my parents and sister are being troubled over this issue. I was in Pune prior to my leaving the country and my family in Mumbai. The calls got very nasty and abusive. They even used threatening language towards my parents who are senior citizens unaware of any such issue hence this has all caused great mental trauma to them. My sister too keeps getting these calls and off late they have started chasing her for no fault of her own. Its getting ridiculous now. I had informed the bank and the issue was under investigation and then again no one called or got in touch for several months. Now again they have started chasing this up. The amount in question was around 2 lakh the last time I spoke to them but no one ever got back to me about my queries. Now, to make matters worse, they sent someone claiming to be from a totally different bank asking for my sister. He did not give his details when asked as this would have helped me getting in touch with them. When security at the apartment stopped him he then asked for me. Also, my parents have got calls saying that my visa will be cancelled and that they are taking me to court. I might need legal help to resolve this?

How true are their allegations. Can they get a arrest warrant for such a petty issue? How can my visa be cancelled?

Kindly answer my query. If needed I might need to hire a lawyer to resolve this so any quotes would be helpful as well.  

Regards,
K Raghavan

 
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For recovery of credit card dues by way of suit by bank against the card holder is 3 years from the date of latest (last) transaction. Any dues prior to 3 years from today (if the bank wants to file suit) cannot be entertained and is liable to be dismissed. In your case perhaps the bank is adopting illegal methods by engaging recovery agents. Your sister or your parents have no privity (relationship) of contract of using ICICI Credit Card. Hence none can demand sinle rupee from them. If they want to recover the dues the bank has to go to civil court and obtain a decree against you. They are very well aware of the fact that their suit will be dismissed as time barred. They have no power to cancel your VISA as a court order is required. Since you are not aware of the legal position they are trying to harass you and your family members. Send a Lawyer’s Notice to ICICI bank as well as the recovery agents (if you know their address)  and threaten them that the matter will be referred to consumer forum and hold it for vicarious liability (that is Master is liable for Agent’s action). In this connect I advise you contact a Lawyer well versed in banking business especially in credit card matters. Otherwise file writ petition against RBI and ICICI Bank for a direction to guide the erring bank once again to refrain from harassing you further.  In this connection I would like to refer to the judgment of Supreme Court herein below.

Supreme Court in ICICI bank Vs. Shanta Devi Sharma & Ors. :2008 (2) Bank CLR 745 (S.C.) held that in addition to Guidelines on Fair Practices Code for Lenders, Master circular on outsourcing financial services and Master Circular on credit card operations and another Circular on ‘Code of Bank’s Commitment to Customers (COBCC) were promulgated by RBI with advise to banks to strictly adhere to them in loan recovery process. It seems they are not strictly adhered to and are treated as mere ritual exercise and RBI also had taken serious note of it and remarked that complaints are received regarding violation of the guidelines. In this case the borrower committed suicide on account of humiliation caused by re-possessors engaged by the bank. Supreme Court declined to expunge the remarks of the High Court as well as to quash the order of the High Court in directing the police to investigate into the matter. The Supreme Court also imposed costs of Rs.25,000/- to the bank. The default is only civil liability but not a crime and no criminal court or police will have jurisdiction to get you arrested. Hence do not worry about such threats.

 

 
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