Letting your spouse or a close relative, friend withdraw money from an ATM using your debit card can be costly. Why? According to banks, an ATM card is non-transferable and no other person apart from the account holder should use it.
Most of us are not aware of this rule and that’s exactly what happened to a Bengaluru woman on maternity leave who fought a three-year-long legal battle against a bank after her ATM request was turned down.
In 2013, a Bengaluru resident Vandana gave her ATM card and PIN to her husband to withdraw Rs 25,000 from ATM. After swiping the card at one of the SBI ATMs, her husband got a slip showing the money was debited, but the couple claimed that the amount was never released.
This was done after Vandana’s husband Rajesh was told by the SBI Call Centre that it was an ATM glitch and the said amount would be refunded within 24 hours. When the day passed and there were still no signs of a refund, the couple approached the bank with a formal complaint. It was then that the couple received a shock from the bank, instead of a relief.
Responding to the complaint, the SBI said that the transaction was correct and the ‘ATM is non-transferable’. The case was thus closed in a few days and turned down the money claims.
After running from pillar to post and several complaints at the bank, Banking Ombudsman and Consumer Redressal forum, the couple obtained CCTV footage that showed Kumar using the ATM, but no cash being dispensed. Based on the investigation, the bank ruled that Vandana, the cardholder, is not seen in the footage and closed the case.
Meanwhile, Vandana, through an RTI, obtained a cash verification report of the ATM for November 16, 2013, which 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.’
The case went on for over three-and-a-half years. Vandana said SBI should refund her money which was 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. Further, the bank produced documents, including log records, showing the stated ATM transaction was successful and technically correct.