Customers often face misbehaviour from bank staff but they are not always aware of what to do next. Sometimes, customers also have serious complaints against the banks. One old practice to address the grievance is to submit an application to the branch manager, explaining the grievance in detail. To this end, most of the banks also keep complaint registers at their branches. But these methods don’t always help the customer, or bring some good change in the behaviour of certain rude staff. In the digital age, there are other ways available for customers to register their grievance and get it redressed.
Options to complain against banks
Banks like State Bank of India provide customers with several options to register their complaints. SBI customers can register their grievance with the bank manager, through customer care, SMS or on CMS Portal (https://cms.onlinesbi.com/CMS/).
Through its official handle, SBI informs on Quora that customers can submit applications "explaining the grievances with the Branch Manager of the concerned branch/home branch." They can also call toll-free number 1-800-425-3800 / 1-800-11-22-11 to register complaints. SBI customers not happy with the services offered by the bank can also SMS "UNHAPPY" to 8008202020. SBI says its executives will call back to resolve the issues.
Additionally, SBI customers can visit the CMS portal to register their complaints by selecting the category of complaint >> Nature of Complaint >> Nature of complaint. In case the customer has branch-related complaint, they can select "General Banking >> Branch related" under product & services and select suitable nature of complaint from a list of available options, says SBI.
Like SBI, HDFC Bank customers can also register their complaints through the dedicated toll-free customer care number and get a Complaint ID. They can also lodge the complaint online through https://v1.hdfcbank.com/assets/popuppages/grievance_redressal_mechanism.htm
In most of the PSBs, aggrieved customers can send e-mails to the service quality department, which also looks into the complaints posted on the websites of banks.
After registering a complaint, the customer should wait for 30 days for a suitable response form the bank. If the bank fails to resolve the issue in this time, the customers can approach the banking ombudsman.
What RBI says
The RBI provides Banking Ombudsman Scheme to address grievances of the bank customers. Under Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2006, Banking Ombudsman (BO) offices have been set up to "enable resolution of complaints of customers relating to various services rendered by banks." RBI says on its official website: "Within 30 days of receiving reply from the bank or in case of non-receipt of a reply from the bank within 30 days of lodging the complaint, the customer can take recourse to the Banking Ombudsman. The details of Office of Banking Ombudsman are available at the link: https://rbi.org.in/Scripts/AboutUsDisplay.aspx?pg=BankingOmbudsmen.htm"
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Number of complaints rise
An RBI report said last year that the number of complaints received by Banking Ombudsman offices had increased by 25 per cent during 2017-18. Most of the complaints were from urban areas. "The higher proportion of complaints from urban areas in recent years is largely due to increasing awareness about grievance redressal mechanism among bank customers and also the efficacy of internal grievance redressal mechanism in banks, not being up to the desired level"
Most of the pension-related complaints and a majority of ATM/Debit card-related complaints were against PSBs.
Complaint Management System by RBI
In June this year, the RBI launched Complaint Management System (CMS) for filing of complaints with RBI against any regulated entities. "The complaints falling under the grounds of complaints of the Banking Ombudsman (BO) Scheme, 2006 and Ombudsman Scheme for NBFCs, 2018 are resolved as per the provisions of Schemes," Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs, told the Lok Sabha in a written reply in July. The total number of complaints received on CMS against banks was 10,249.