The State Bank of India (SBI) has been ordered to pay a fine of Rs. 12,000 to a customer who found that money had been fraudulently removed from his account after he used an ATM where there was no guard, and no partition between two teller machines.

Brij Bihari Dubey, a senior citizen, said he had gone to an ATM with his son to withdraw some money. There was no guard at that kiosk, and when he was using the machine, a youth who was also in the room told him to use the other machine since the one he was trying was out of order. So he used the other machine, Dubey said, to withdraw some money, and the transaction slip showed a balance of Rs. 23,376.

A few days later, he once again visited an ATM to withdraw money, and found that there was only Rs. 376 in his account.

Dubey submitted that as there was no partition between the two machines in the ATM to which he had originally gone, and the machines were less than 2 feet apart, the youth who was in the room could have seen him key in his PIN. Also, since there was no guard on duty at the premises, there was no one to ensure that only one customer used the room at a given time. He blamed the SBI for the loss of funds from his account, and approached the Consumer Court for justice.

The SBI submitted that it was not responsible for money fraudulently withdrawn from a customer’s account. Though the representatives of the Bank admitted that there was no partition between the teller machines in the ATM kiosk in question, they maintained that the customer should have been alert, and taken precautions while using the machine to see that his code was not compromised.

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum found the SBI at fault, but the bank went on appeal. The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission upheld the lower court’s order, and fined SBI Rs 12,000, with 6% interest.


Guide to approaching a consumer court

India's first practical guide to resolving your complaints by approaching consumer court. Guidance
Customer Complaint


Enter your email address to subscribe to our Newsletter.