The Integrated Ombudsman Scheme that has been introduced by the Reserve Bank of India for customers can be utilised to ensure that grievances that are not solved by the bank or other eligible entities are addressed effectively.
This is another route available for the purpose of solving the problem that an individual might be facing in terms of poor quality of service.
However, there are some basic points that need to be known by the individual before they go about using this scheme, and these will help them to navigate the various complexities.
There are several categories of entities against which the grievance can be made to the Ombudsman.
The biggest coverage is for banks as there are a large amount of transactions that people have with banks. The definition of the bank that is covered, apart from a banking company, also includes a corresponding new bank plus a regional rural bank, State Bank of India and a co-operative bank.
However, this would not cover a bank that is under resolution or winding up or under some other directions of the Reserve Bank of India.
Even complaints against Non-Banking Finance Companies registered with the RBI would be covered under the scheme. In addition, grievances with a Credit Information Company—also known as Credit bureaus generating credit scores—or those related to online transactions, which can be against system participants, would also be possible.
The most important part of the entire process is that before the matter is brought up before the Ombudsman, there has to be a written complaint made to the entity directly.
Once the written complaint has been made, then the entity should have rejected the complaint wholly or partly or if there was a reply given, then the person making the complaint is not satisfied with the reply.
The other situation is that if there is no reply from the entity for a period of 30 days, after receiving the complaint, then the matter can be taken up with the Ombudsman.
The complaint can be filed within one year of receiving a reply from the entity or if no reply is received, then within a period of one year and 30 days from the date of the complaint.
The grievances which are covered under this scheme has to be related to a deficiency of service.
The definition of deficiency of service is important because this condition has to be fulfilled. This is a shortcoming or an inadequacy in the financial service or some other service related to it, which the entity is supposed to provide.
This is one part of the entire equation because there is another important part which is present, and this says that this deficiency of service may or may not have resulted in a financial loss to the consumer.
The significance of this is that just because there is no financial loss, it does not mean that the complaint cannot be made and hence, even without a financial hit, the deficiency of service can be taken up.