Steps To Lodging A Complaint With Banking Ombudsman in India

I will give information in this page in general terms without referring to the associated specific clauses of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2006, but this general information reflects only what is given in the B.O. Scheme. Learning about the steps required to be taken for successfully lodging a complaint with Banking Ombudsman in India is important if you do not want your complaint to be rejected by the Banking Ombudsman in the beginning itself. Of course, successfully loading a complaint will not guarantee that you will get justice from the Banking Ombudsman. For that you will need to be pro-active and take other necessary steps to secure your legal rights. To start with, however, let us believe that in order to get justice from Banking Ombudsman you will need to comply with the requirements of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2006 that specify the complainant's responsibility. Keep reading...

1. Make Sure Your Complaint Is About a Banking Service

Generally speaking, you can complain to Banking Ombudsman only about a banking service related issue. For example, if you have let out a premises to a bank for their branch and you have a 'landlord-tenant' dispute with that bank, you cannot complain to a Banking Ombudsman about that. But if the tenant bank directly carries out some repairs/renovations to your property without your consent and then recovers the amount of the expenditure from your bank account without your consent, that will very much be a banking service related complaint and you can approach a Banking Ombudsman.

2. Make Sure Your Bank Is Covered Under The Banking Ombudsman Scheme

All scheduled commercial banks in India are covered by the Banking Ombudsman Scheme. That includes State Bank of India and its associate banks, all nationalized banks, all foreign banks, most private banks, regional rural banks, and some urban cooperative banks. You can view a list of scheduled commercial banks in India in this page (opens in new tab).

3. Make Sure To Complain To Your Bank Before Going To The Banking Ombudsman

The Banking Ombudsman Scheme in India requires you to submit your complaint to your bank first. After submitting your complaint to your bank, you need to wait for at least 30 days. If within that period your bank does not resolve the complaint or gives you an unsatisfactory resolution, you can then submit your complaint to a Banking Ombudsman.

4. Do Not Go To A Consumer Forum First

If your complaint is pending before a consumer forum or another legal forum, Banking Ombudsman will reject your complaint. Similarly, if your complaint has already been decided by a Consumer Forum or another legal forum, Banking Ombudsman will reject your complaint without considering it. Therefore, if you wish to explore the option of Banking Ombudsman, do it before going to a Consumer Forum or another legal forum. 

5. Choose The Mode of Submission Wisely

Complaints to Banking Ombudsman in India can be submitted online or off-line. Reserve Bank of India provides an online mode for submitting complaints to Banking Ombudsman but that will require you to be conversant with online operations and also scan and upload copies of documents. Another problem with online submission of complaints to Banking Ombudsman in India is the "Unsecure Server Error". Whenever you try to submit an online complaint to Banking Ombudsman in India, you will likely get an "Unsecure Connection Warning". This error has been there perhaps since the beginning but Reserve Bank of India has not resolved it. Still, if you ignore the warning and tell your browser to add that exception permanently, you will be able to submit your complaint online. Take care to submit scans of the related documents or subsequently email the attachments to the respective office of Banking Ombudsman. A list of the offices of Banking Ombudsman in India along with their addresses and email IDs is available in this page: To view the email ID of a Banking Ombudsman, take your cursor over the "Click to send email" link and the respective email ID will be displayed in the lower left corner of your screen. The physical addresses of Banking Ombudsman given in this page can be used for sending the complaints by post. It is best to use Speed Post and preserve the post office receipt carefully. This is the Link for Online Submission or download the format of the complaint from here

6. Send Copies of All Related Documents

Along with your complaint to the Banking Ombudsman, you should send copies of all related documents and specifically mention that you have already complained to your bank but did not get a response or got an unsatisfactory response.

7. Follow-up the Complaint Diligently

The Banking Ombudsman Scheme allows a complaint to be rejected if it is not followed up diligently by the complainant. That means if you receive a communication from the Banking Ombudsman asking you to provide some additional details/information, you should promptly respond.

8. Do Not Wait For Too Long

Banking Ombudsman is generally expected to give a decision on your complaint within a month. However, in practice, the concerned banks take their own sweet time to submit their replies to the Banking Ombudsman and hence that delays a decision on your complaint. If after submission of your complaint you have not received the decision of the Banking Ombudsman even after two months, it will be a good idea to seek details on the action taken on your complaint by the Banking Ombudsman by making use of the Right To Information Act. Send your RTI application to the same Banking Ombudsman to whom you submitted your original complaint.

Waiting for Too Long Has Another Downside

Offices of Banking Ombudsman are required by the top management of RBI to close all complaints within a period of three months. Pending complaints are monitored at the end of March, June, September, and December every year. So as to keep the pending complaints at the end of a calendar quarter to the minimum, there is a tendency on the part of Banking Ombudsman offices to close more and more complaints during the last 15 days of a calendar quarter. Unfortunately, most of these hurriedly taken decisions go in favor of the banks and against the complainants. Read more about delays by Banking Ombudsman here.

9. Make Sure To Appeal or Complain Against a Rejection

Another unfortunate aspect of the functioning of the offices of Banking Ombudsman in India is that the legal right of the complainants to appeal against a rejection of a complaint by a Banking Ombudsman is denied contrary to the provisions of the Banking Ombudsman Scheme. Read this article for details on this denial of appeal aspect. In case your complaint has been rejected and your right to appeal has been unfairly denied, you may send a complaint to the following address:

The Governor
Reserve Bank of India
Shahid Bgahat Singh Marg,
Mumbai - 400 001

10. Do Not Hesitate From Going To A Consumer Forum Afterwards

After your complaint has been rejected by a Banking Ombudsman, you have the option of going to a Consumer Forum. In that case, you should make the Banking Ombudsman a party to the complaint because contrary to Reserve Bank of India's claims in this regard, Banking Ombudsman is not really a quasi-judicial authority.