Friday, July 18, 2008

Awarded RM10,000-00 because could not use ATM card..

Very seldom do we hear of the little man being triumphant over them BIG people/Institutions/Corporations/Banks... Hence, reading this news report was rather refreshing...

A businessman who could not use his ATM card to withdraw RM300 to treat his friends to dinner in Kuala Lumpur six years ago was awarded RM10,000 damages by a magistrate's court here.

Magistrate M. Rajalingam awarded Lambert B. Samson, 83, the sum for the inconvenience, mental distress, and embarrassment he suffered.

Rajalingam also ordered CIMB Bank Berhad, formerly known as Southern Bank Berhad, to pay Samson 8% interest per annum on the damages from the date of judgment and costs. - Star Online, 17/7/2008 - Man wins RM10,000 for distress at not being able to withdraw from ATM

Them banks usually have something there in their small-print, very-difficult to read agreements that allows them to escape liability most of the time.

Of course, they also have the money to hire lawyers, make all kinds of applications, appeal and appeal - which makes it very very difficult for the ordinary person to be able to sustain any legal battle.

Legal costs, technical issues, etc.... and not merits many a time result in Banks and big companies winning over the small person..

When you opened your account, were you given the FULL agreement to read before you signed it. Most of the times, even when I ask for an agreement, they say the ran out of copies, etc... . Many a time, one only signs under the statement that I have read and agree to the Agreement - without really being given that FULL Agreement..

And, even if they give you an agreement, it is so lengthy, so blur, in so small a print,... and the pressure from the next customer (and the bank officer for you to sign it now or get another number....) ends up with persons signing these agreements without ever really reading and/or understanding them.

The duplicate of the "agreement" that you sign is in them coloured papers that makes it so very difficult to read - and also difficult to photostat (or to make enlarged copies).

And even if you were to read it, it is really difficult understanding all that legal mumbo jumbo etc... Even, I, a lawyer, find it difficult to really understand it fully...

The bank's defence was based on a Terms and Conditions agreement apparently signed by Samson while receiving the said Autokad on Nov 18, 2000.

The bank said three clauses in the documents stated among others that it would not be responsible or liable if the card was not honoured or accepted for use.

Oh yes, if you look hard at many of these agreements, you will find that at the end of the day there will be these clauses to say that the banks will not be liable for this and that....and even in some agreements, where they are found to be liable, banks limits their 'pay-outs' by putting an unreasonable figure. Not just banks do this -- other big boys also do this...

BANK NEGARA? -- Well, they know about this, and so does the government -- but sadly, I believe that too little is being done in favour of the little man - the consumer....

There should be simple, easy to understand agreements which is fair and just (the government, consumer bodies and the State should be responsible to ensure this 'fair and just' part).

There definitely should not be any of these "it would not be responsible or liable if the card was not honoured or accepted for use" clauses, save for something that is beyond anyone's control -- i.e. an Act of God.

In the Penang case, the court said that the agreement should be explained - not enough, I say

Rajalingam held that the first nail was hammered into the defendant's case when it failed to call the bank officer to testify whether she had explained the terms and conditions of the agreement before Samson agreed to sign up for the Autokad in 2000."
Going to court for a remedy is alright - BUT really, there must be other easier and cheaper means for people to obtain a remedy...

Anyway, this good news of the success of a small person over a BIG company need to be celebrated...

Just hope that this Bank do not prolong matters, by appealing to the High Court.....and so on so forth.... leave it at this.

Where are the consumer groups in Malaysia? Where is that Federation of Malaysian Consumer Association (FOMCA)? Should they not be there struggling for greater consumer rights...or have they also deviated from their primary objects - concerned now about them 'bigger' issues and not these small little consumer matters...

Are you a member of a consumer body? Do you have a consumer body in your area - if no, then get some people together and go form one... We need such consumer groups to be fighting for our rights...

1 comment:

Nordin said...

I totally agree with the author. Most agreements put by big corporations either private or even government and their agencies are lop-sided for their benefits, almost an absolute not in favor of the ordinary citizen.

Our consumer groups are so weak to speak up and push for the right of the people and undermined by the ruling elite.

The government should monitor all these agreements and advocate the use of simple one page easy to understand agreements.