The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced an Ombudsman Scheme for Digital Transactions, 2019. The Scheme will provide a cost-free and expeditious complaint redressal mechanism relating to deficiency in customer services in digital transactions conducted through non-bank entities regulated by RBI. The Scheme is being introduced under Section 18 Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, with effect from January 31, 2019.
The scheme is subsumed as part of the Integrated Ombudsman Scheme 2021 w.e.f 12 November 2021.
The Ombudsman for Digital Transactions is a senior official appointed by the Reserve Bank of India to redress customer complaints against System Participants as defined in the Scheme for deficiency in certain services covered under the grounds of complaint specified under Clause 8 of the Scheme.
As on date, 21 Ombudsman for Digital Transactions have been appointed with their offices located mostly in state capitals. To know the addresses and contact details of the offices of the Ombudsman for Digital Transactions, click here.
The Scheme has been made applicable to System Participants as defined in Clause 3 (11) of the Scheme.
As per Clause 8 of the Scheme, the Ombudsman for Digital Transactions shall receive and consider complaints on deficiency in services against System Participants defined in the Scheme on any of the following grounds:
Prepaid Payment Instruments : Non-adherence to the instructions of Reserve Bank by System Participants about Prepaid Payment Instruments Semi-closed System on any of the following:
Mobile / Electronic Fund Transfers: Non-adherence to the instructions of the Reserve Bank on Mobile / Electronic fund transfers by System Participants on any of the following:
Non-adherence to any other instruction of the Reserve Bank on Mobile/Electronic fund transfers.
Non-adherence to instructions of Reserve Bank / respective System Provider to System Participants, on payment transactions through Unified Payments Interface (UPI) / Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) / Bharat QR Code / UPI QR Code on the following grounds:
Non-reversal / failure to reverse within reasonable time, funds wrongly transferred to the beneficiary account due to lapse at the end of System Participant.
Any other matter relating to the violation of the directives including on fees / charges, if any, issued by the Reserve Bank in relation to digital transactions.
NOTE: In respect of digital transactions done on third party platforms, it will be the responsibility of the Payment Service Provider to resolve customer disputes arising out of such transactions.
For redressal of grievance, the complainant must first approach the System Participant (as defined in the Scheme) concerned. If the System Participant does not reply within a period of one month after receipt of the complaint, or rejects the complaint, or if the complainant is not satisfied with the reply given, the complainant can file the complaint with the Ombudsman for Digital Transactions within whose jurisdiction the branch or office of the System Participant complained against, is located. For complaints arising out of services with centralized operations, the same shall be filed before the Ombudsman for Digital Transactions within whose territorial jurisdiction the billing / declared address of the customer is located.
One's complaint will not be considered under the following circumstances:
One can file a complaint with the Ombudsman by writing on a plain paper and sending it to the concerned office of the Ombudsman by post/fax/hand delivery. One can also file it by email to the Ombudsman for Digital Transactions. A complaint form along with the scheme is also made available, though, it is not mandatory to use this format. To access the complaint form, click here.
For online complaint, click here.
One may lodge complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman for Digital Transactions within whose jurisdiction the branch or office of the System Participant complained against, is located (For jurisdiction of the Ombudsman please click here). For complaint arising out of services with centralized operations, complaints can be filed with the office of the Ombudsman for Digital Transactions within whose territorial jurisdiction the billing / declared address of the customer is located.
Yes. The complaint can be filed through an authorized representative of the complainant (other than an advocate).
No. There is no charge or any fee for filing / resolving customers’ complaints.
The compensation amount, if any, which can be awarded by the Ombudsman, for any loss suffered by the complainant, is limited to the amount arising directly out of the act or omission or commission of the System Participant, or two million rupees whichever is lower. The compensation shall be over and above the disputed amount.
The Ombudsman may award compensation not exceeding rupees 0.1 million to the complainant for mental agony and harassment. The Ombudsman, while giving the compensation, shall take into account the loss of time, expenses incurred by the complainant, harassment and mental anguish suffered by the complainant.
The complainant is required to give details such as,
The Ombudsman endeavours to promote settlement of the complaint through conciliation/ mediation by agreement between the complainant and the System Participant. If the terms of settlement (offered by the System Participant) are acceptable in full and final settlement of one's complaint, the Ombudsman will pass an order as per the terms of settlement which becomes binding on the System Participant and the complainant. If the System Participant is found to have adhered to the extant norms and practices in vogue and the complainant has been informed to this effect through appropriate means and complainant’s objections, if any, are not received by the Ombudsman within the time frame provided, the Ombudsman may pass an order to close the complaint.
Yes. As per Clause 13 of the Scheme, the Ombudsman may reject a complaint at any stage on the following grounds:
If the Ombudsman is satisfied that there is indeed a deficiency of service on the part of the System Participant and the complaint is not settled by agreement within a specified period as allowed by the Ombudsman, he/she proceeds to pass an Award. Before passing an Award, the Ombudsman will provide reasonable opportunity to the complainant and the System Participant to present their case. It is upto the complainant to accept the Award in full and final settlement or reject it.
Yes, the Scheme provides the appellate mechanism for the complainant as well as the System Participant.
Any person aggrieved by an Award issued under Clause 12 or by the decision of the Ombudsman rejecting the complaint for the reasons specified in sub-clause (d) to (g) of Clause 13 of the Scheme, can approach the Appellate Authority.
The Appellate Authority is vested with a Deputy Governor-in-Charge of the department of the RBI implementing the Scheme. The address of the Appellate Authority is:
The Appellate Authority
Ombudsman Scheme for Digital Transactions
Consumer Education and Protection Department
Reserve Bank of India
First Floor, Amar Building, Fort, Mumbai 400 001.
The complainant also has the option to explore other recourse and/or remedies available as per the law.
One can file appeal against the Award or the decision of the Ombudsman rejecting the complaint, within 30 days of the date of receipt of communication of Award or rejection of the complaint. The Appellate Authority may, if satisfied that the applicant had sufficient cause for not making an appeal within prescribed time, may allow a further period not exceeding 30 days.
The appellate authority may:
Source : RBI