This is regarding a fraud that I was the victim of on my Citibank Platinum Credit Card # 5520 9380 3509 6008 and the inadequate protection offered by Citibank on one of its most premium credit cards that takes advantage of the consumer's inability to hold them accountable.
On 9 -April, my Citibank Platinum Credit Card was compromised for transactions worth Rs.35, 480/- that took place at 3 locations at Dadar. I am was then at the Hindustan Unilever Office at Chakala where I work. On getting the SMS intimation of the transcation I realised that I was not in possession of my card and tried calling Citiphone banking immediately to block the card. While placing the call I got disconnected a number of times while I was on waiting for a citiphone officer and by the time I finally made the complaint and the card was blocked - 4 transcations worth Rs 35, 480 were already made on this card. I have filed a writen complaint with the Dadar police station on this and I have also done some of my preliminary investigation at the shops where these transactions took place. At one of the shops - Tribhuvan Jewellers, Ranande Road, Dadar there was a closed circuit camera that caught footage of a young girl who made these transactions. I have given the same to the police. I have also offered the same to Citibank.
Despite adequate information that clearly states that I was not the person who made the transaction nor the person who authorised them on the charge slip (the counterfoil of the transcations does not contain my signature), citibank continues to hold me liable for the transactions and has threatened to malign my credit history (I have a mail to thsi effect) if I do not pay them for this. I dispute this for the following reasons:
1. It is clear that I am not the person who has made these transactions. There is an accepted letter of complaint that was submitted by me at the Dadar Police Station. There is also available footage from the shop camera at Tribhuvan Jewelers that shows that I was not the person who made this transaction. This has been submitted to the police.
2. The signature on the authorization slips is not mine - this is something you can verify with citibank with tehir records of my signature. The back of the credit card carried my original signature. It is therefore between the bank and the merchant to figure out why the signature was not matched when the transaction was done. This is something that Citibank needs to sort out with the retail establishments.
3. It was clear that the person who did the transaction was in a hurry, did not look like someone who could own a platinum card, did not leave her address on being asked to at the jewellery shops and yet the signature was not verified at the time of the transaction. The merchant at this point does not check the signature because the bank does not hold him liable on even a most obvious crime. This tantamounts to Citibank abetting crime by allowing the merchant no liability even on not doing a basic check such as signature comparison between the charge slip and the back of the credit card or informing the bank on suspicion.
4. Citiphone banking system is designed to delay the attendance of a customers call even in the case of emergency. When I called on 09/04 to block my card on receiving the first two messages of the transactions, my call was dropped while waiting in queue for an operator to pick up. In any case there is a 3-4 step process to get through to any operator who can block your card by which time more transactions had already happened on my card. Citi Phone banking systems are not designed to safeguard customers interests and they are allowed to dupe consumers just because they are not held liable for any such situation.
I would like the consumer court to intervene to ensure that rules set by banks and such organisations are not skewed to just protecting their interests and offer a basic level of protection to the consumer as well. Also merchants are at least at the most basic level expected to verify signatures on the transaction and report suspicious behaviour to avoid more such incidents from happening. Today it is in the merchants' interest to let very transcation through since there is no liability and only gain for him, given that the credit card companies do not have rules in place to hold them liable like the hold liable consumers.