Your card says debited, but your vendor says not credited; what to do?

You may have swiped the card at a POS machine and received the debit SMS, however, the vendor may not have got the credit. How to handle this and similar situations?

August 06, 2020 8:51 IST | India Infoline News Service
As the volume of online and digital transactions explodes, it raises the risk of increasing instances of payment and consumer disputes. This is something most of us have faced. For example, you may have swiped the card at a POS machine and received the debit SMS. However, the vendor may not have got the credit. Alternatively, you may have done online transaction in one of the ecommerce portals. After you imputed the OTP, the system may have gone blank. Here again, the amount may have been debited to your account but not received by the vendor. Finally, there is the issue of disputes in UPI transactions. How to handle all these cases?

How to handle such cases in POS transactions?

If you swiped your debit card / credit card at the fuel station and the vendor gets a blank response, you have a problem on hand. How do you go about recovering your money? The first thing to do is to ask the vendor for a printed copy of the rejected transaction  along the code. This is your data point for reference. Immediately dial the call centre of your credit card / debit card issuer and inform them about the disputed transaction.

They will immediately record a complaint and assign a unique reference code, so you are now on record. In most cases, the money is refunded back to your bank account in 2-3 days. For example, if the POS machine belongs to HDFC Bank and your card is also of HDFC Bank, then the reversal almost happens immediately. If it does not get resolved in 2-3 days, you must call up the call centre and escalate the matter quoting your complaint reference.

When the POS machine bank, swiping bank and receiving bank are different, the entire refund exercise takes more time. If you find that after 7 days, the amount is still not refunded, then you must file a written complaint with you card issuing bank with the documentary proofs and the audit trail of complaints filed till date. Don’t forget to retain a stamped acknowledgement of this letter.

How to handle dispute cases in online transactions?

The online transaction process flow is almost like an offline transaction; the only difference being that there is no POS machine so there is no physical acknowledgement. Since the transaction has not been completed, you will have no acknowledgement. However, as documentary proof you must retail a snapshot of the page that shows transaction incomplete, copy of the SMS confirming that the amount has been debited, the bank statement snapshot and the order number generated.

Like in the offline case, such cases are normally settled and refunded in a matter of less than 3 days. However, here again remember to raise the issue with the bank call centre immediately and future correspondence must include complaint reference number.

There is one more facility that you have in case of online credit card transactions. You can repudiate the transaction by writing to your bank. In the case of credit cards, the franchisee will reverse the amount in your card account and then the card company takes up the issue with the vendor. However, that is not possible with debit cards. Even in the case of online transactions, you need to follow the process flow of online call centre complaint followed by written complaint.

What about disputed UPI transactions

The experience with UPI transactions has been that since they are non-looped transactions, they get credited back to your account immediately on the transaction not going through. Even if it does not happen immediately, the transaction is reversed within a period of 1-2 days at the maximum. Even when UPI transactions fail you must first contact your bank with respect to the account linked to UPI. Normally, this is not required as UPI is seamless.

In addition, it is also advisable that you file a complaint online with the NPCIL (National Payments Corporation of India), which is the nodal agency for all UPI transactions. There is a facility on their website (www.npci.org) to file a complaint under different heads. This will help keep multiple parties in the loop.

Should you complain to consumer forums or RBI Ombudsman?

This is a question a lot of people ask. It has been observed that nowadays most online transactions that do not go through are reversed immediately or at the most in a couple of days. If it does not happen, even after repeated reminders you can approach the consumer forums or the RBI Ombudsman as the last option. These procedures are fairly long drawn.

In online transactions, having the right documentation and filing the call centre complaint on time is essential. Once these details are in place, your bank can get it resolved quickly.

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