The central bank of India issued a directive today requiring all Credit Information Companies (CICs) to name an internal ombudsman to oversee their internal grievance redress process by April 1 of the next year.
The Reserve Bank of India said in a statement that the instructions cover the IO's appointment/tenure, function and responsibilities, procedural norms, and supervision system.
The IO will assess any complaints that CICs partially or completely reject before communicating their final judgement to the complainant, it was stated, adding that the IO will not take complaints directly from the general public.
The RBI said that by allowing a review of customer complaints before they are rejected by an impartial top level authority inside the CIC, these directives will strengthen the internal grievance resolution mechanism within the CICs.
In order to offer RE customers a free alternative redress mechanism for complaints against CICs, the RBI decided in August to include CICs within the scope of the Reserve Bank-Integrated Ombudsman Scheme, which also includes non-banking financial companies and non-scheduled primary co-operative banks with a deposit size of at least Rs. 50 crore.
According to the directions issued today, the following types of complaints shall be outside the purview and shall not be handled by the IO:
1. Complaints related to fraud, misappropriation, etc., except those resulting from deficiency in service, if any, on the part of the CIC
2. Complaints/references relating to (a) internal administration, (b) human resources, or (c) pay and emoluments of staff
3. References in the nature of suggestions and commercial decisions of the CIC
4. Complaints which have been decided by or are already pending in other fora such as Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, courts, etc.
5. Disputes for which remedy has been provided under Section 18 of the Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act, 2005
Consumers can currently file complaints on the websites of CICs, which are then forwarded to the lending company. CICs are not permitted to modify the data without the consent of the relevant credit institution.
The programme states that a regulated entity will not be allowed to appeal if the ombudsman issues an award against it for failing to provide timely and accurate information or records.
The scheme's appellate authority would be the executive director in charge of RBI's consumer education and protection department.