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Joydip Dey v/s HDFC Standard Life Insurance Co. Ltd. & Others

    First Appeal No. A/1051/2016

    Decided On, 28 August 2018

    At, West Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Kolkata

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. SHYAMAL GUPTA
    By, PRESIDING MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MR. UTPAL KUMAR BHATTACHARYA
    By, MEMBER

    For the Appellant: Saikat Mali, Advocate. For the Respondents: Soni Ojha., Advocate.



Judgment Text

Shyamal Gupta, Member

Present Appeal is directed against the Order dated 20-09-2016, passed by the Ld. District Forum, Kolkata-II (Central) in CC/168/2016.

Case of the Complainant, in short, is that, an insurance policy was issued to him against his wish by the OPs. On receipt of the policy bond, he found that the same was not suitable to his need. Accordingly, he immediately asked the concerned representative of the OPs for cancellation of the said policy and refund the money to his account. Although the concerned representative assumed him to do the needful, she did not take any positive step in this regard. Therefore, the Complainant lodged complaint with the OPs through email. However, his request being turned down by the OP No. 1, the complaint case was filed.

OP No. 1, on the other hand, stated in its WV that the Complainant voluntarily opted for the subject insurance policy. On receipt of duly filled up and signed proposal form, along with credit card mandate, the subject policy was issued to him. As he did not ask for cancellation of the subject policy within the free look period, his prayer could not be given due effect.

OP No. 3, in its defence, stated that the Complainant availed of the subject insurance policy directly from the Insurance Company and paid the premium using his credit card. Yet, he failed/neglected to pay his monthly due with a mala fide intention. Complainant himself admitted that Ms Sarmistha was not an employee of this OP, but a telemarketing person working for the OP Nos. 1&2. Therefore, this OP cannot be held responsible for the alleged misdeed of said Ms Sarmistha.

Decision with reasons

Appellant and Respondent No. 1 were heard at length in the matter and documents on record carefully gone through.

The present dispute revolves around misspelling of the subject policy. Yet, it is indeed surprising that the Respondent No. 2, who acted as an agent of the Respondent No. 1, did not turn up either before the Ld. District Forum or before us despite due service of notice upon it on both occasions. Had the Respondent No. 2 acted bona fide, it would surely not shy away from defending its case on notice. Involvement of insurance agents in misspelling of insurance policies is not a new phenomenon; rather, it is increasing day by day.

Further, it is important to keep in mind that the subject policy was sent to the Appellant through courier on 22-02-2014 and from the documents on record it transpires that the first written complaint was sent by the Appellant 11-08-2014, albeit to the Respondent No. 3 instead of the Respondent No. 1.

Be that as it may, if one voluntarily opts for an insurance policy, it is quite unusual for one to ask for cancellation of the same within 6 months of issuance of the policy. That the Appellant did not read between the lines of the policy bond becomes clear from the fact that he addressed his first complaint email to the Respondent No. 3 instead of the Respondent No. 1 although it was clearly mentioned in the policy bond that complaints regarding the policy needed to be addressed to the Respondent No. 3.

It is claimed by the Respondent No. 1 that upon internal assessment, the allegation of mis-sale was found to be incorrect. However, for some obscure reasons, it has not filed any copy of internal enquiry report nor any enquiry officer deposed before the Ld. District Forum.

On careful assessment of the entire facts and circumstances of this case, we find no reason to disbelieve that he indeed took up the matter with said Ms Sarmistha of the Respondent No. 2 after receiving the policy bond, but she did not take any positive step. Thus, the decision of the Ld. District Forum to allow the complaint case appears to be fully in order. However, on going through the prayer portion of the petition of complaint vis--vis operational part of the impugned order, we find that the Ld. District Forum somehow overlooked the prayer of the Appellant as made in Sl. No. (c) and (d) of the petition of complaint.

In this regard, Ld. Advocate for the Appellant drew our attention to the printed copy of mobile text message that was sent to his mobile on 14-02-2014 at 04:24:23 p.m. Ld. Advocate for the Appellant pointed out that although it was clearly stated in the said message that it was not an authenticated trx as per RBI mandate effective 1 May 12, yet the sum of Rs. 30,000/- was debited to his account and remitted to the Respondent No. 1. Though it has been clarified by the Respondent No. 3 in its WV that such transaction alert is sent in respect of all those transactions which is done through standing instructions like the one that was given in respect of the disputed transaction and that the amount was debited as per the instruction of the Respondent No. 1, such clarification does not seem convincing to us.

There can be no manner of doubt that the Appellant was subjected to enormous mental pain and agony over non-redressal of his grievance. Accordingly, he definitely deserves due compensation.

The Appeal, accordingly, succeeds.

Hence,

ORDERED

The Appeal stands allowed against the Respondents. The impugned order is modified as under:

Respondent No. 1 shall refund the premium amount of Rs. 30,000/- to the Respondent No. 3 in cancellation of the subj

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ect policy. Respondent No. 1 shall also be liable to pay all incidental charges in respect of this transaction to the Respondent No. 3. The Respondent No. 3 shall be at liberty to raise necessary bill on the Respondent No. 1 in this regard. Respondent No. 1 shall also be liable to pay, within 40 days from today, compensation and litigation cost to the tune of Rs. 20,000/- and Rs. 10,000/-, respectively, to the Appellant, i.d., simple interest @ 9% p.a. shall be payable to the Appellant from the date of filing of the complaint case before the Ld. District Forum till full and final payment is made.
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