The Integrated Ombudsman Scheme, 2021, will provide cost-free redress of customer complaints involving deficiency in services rendered by entities regulated by the RBI, if not resolved to the satisfaction of the customers within 30 days by banks, NBFCs, and payment system operators.
The Reserve Bank – Integrated Ombudsman Scheme, 2021 was launched on Friday in virtual mode by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Scheme integrates the existing three Ombudsman schemes of RBI — the Banking Ombudsman Scheme, 2006; the Ombudsman Scheme for Non-Banking Financial Companies, 2018; and the Ombudsman Scheme for Digital Transactions, 2019.
In addition to integrating the three existing schemes, it also includes non-scheduled primary cooperative banks with a deposit size of Rs 50 crore and above. A centralised receipt and processing centre has been set up at RBI, Chandigarh for receipt and initial processing of physical and email complaints in any language. The Scheme adopts ‘One Nation One Ombudsman’ approach by making the RBI Ombudsman mechanism jurisdiction neutral, the RBI said in a statement.
“The Scheme, framed by the RBI…will provide cost-free redress of customer complaints involving deficiency in services rendered by entities regulated by RBI, if not resolved to the satisfaction of the customers or not replied within a period of 30 days by the regulated entity,” it said. A complaint could be filed electronic or physical mode as well as online through portal designed for the purpose. The integration will help customers as they now do not need to identify under which scheme to file complaint. It has also done away with the jurisdiction of each ombudsman office.
“The Scheme defines ‘deficiency in service’ as the ground for filing a complaint, with a specified list of exclusions. Therefore, the complaints would no longer be rejected simply on account of ‘not covered under the grounds listed in the scheme’,” the RBI said. The responsibility of representing the regulated entity and furnishing information in respect of complaints filed by customers would be that of the Principal Nodal Officer in the rank of a General Manager in a Public Sector Bank or equivalent.
Another key feature of the scheme is that the regulated entity will not have the right to appeal in cases where an Award is issued by the ombudsman against it for not furnishing satisfactory and timely information/documents. As per the scheme document, the RBI may appoint one or more of its officers as Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman.