O.P. No. 440/2003 Filed on 31.10.2003Dated : 16.03.2009Complainant:
N. Rajeev, T.C 43/358(3), Somanandanam, Manacaud P.O, 42-A, Santhi Grden II Street, Kamaleswaram,
Thiruvananthapuram – 9.
SBI Cards and Payment Services Pvt. Ltd., P.O Bag No. 28, G.P.O, New Delhi-110 001.
This complaint is disposed of after the period so specified under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Though the case was taken up for orders by the predecessors of this Forum on 18.06.2004, the order was not prepared accordingly. This Forum assumed office on 08.02.2008. This O.P having been taken as heard on 24.02.2009, the Forum on 16.03.2009 delivered the following:
ORDERSMT. S.K.SREELA : MEMBER
The allegations in the complaint are as follows: The complainant who is a Govt. servant is the holder of SBI Visa card. The grievance of the complainant is that the credit card companies like the opposite party are collecting 33% to 36% interest and for the late payment 18% to 20% interest as late fee is collected amounting to a total of 51% to 55%. The complainant has further pleaded that instead of claiming reasonable interest, the opposite party has claimed unreasonable interest under the head late fee which has to be interfered by the Forum. Hence this complaint for an order making applicable the approved rate of interest of the SBI to the opposite party also, among such other reliefs.
The opposite party remains exparte.
The issues that would arise for consideration are:-
- Whether the complaint is maintainable before this Forum?
- Whether there is deficiency in service on the part of the opposite parties?
- Whether the complainant is entitled for any of the reliefs claimed for?
Points (i) to (iii):- The main allegation in the complaint is that the opposite party is collecting exorbitant amount as interest. The complainant has deposed that the interest rate and the late fee which are being collected by the opposite party is without any basis and he has prayed for an order directing the opposite party to claim nominal interest. The complainant has further deposed that the opposite party should be directed to stop collecting late fee. What is to be looked into is whether the opposite party has collected excess amount as interest and whether the late fee has been collected unauthorizedly. We have perused the documents produced by the complainant. Exts. P1 to P8, produced on behalf of complainant, are the monthly statement of accounts. In the above documents, the opposite party has demanded late fee from the complainant and as per these documents, the payment due date is seen mentioned as 'immediate'. At this juncture, we have to consider the aspect of collection of late fee. Nowhere in the complaint or in the deposition of PW1, the complainant has averred that he had remitted the amount in time. The complainant does not have a case that in spite of remittance of the amount due in time, the opposite party has collected late fee. In the above circumstance, the said allegation of the complainant with regard to collection of late fee fails to be proved.
The next aspect for consideration is whether the opposite party has collected exorbitant amount as interest. The complainant has not produced any document proving the agreed rate of interest by the opposite party. The agreement between the complainant and the opposite party has not been produced in the absence of which the agreed rate of interest of the opposite party could not be ascertained. This Forum can consider the issue of claiming high interest by the opposite party only if the agreed rate of interest has been furnished. Moreover, the Forum constituted under the Consumer Protection Act cannot go into the harshness of any clauses in the agreement. This Forum has jurisdiction to entertain only the matters which come within the purview of the Consumer Protection Act. If there was any violation of the agreed rate of interest, we could entertain the complaint, but in the absence of any document for the same we cannot entertain this complaint.
The complainant's reliefs with regard to the interest and direction to the opposite party to curtail the interest at 2% among such other reliefs are outside the purview of the Consumer Protection Act and hence the complaint is dismissed as not maintainable before this Forum with liberty to the complainant to seek his remedy if any before the appropriate authority.