Investors have free-of-cost channels to get their grievances redressed but not many are aware of the available fora
Many a time, investors face mis-selling, lack of proper servicing or some other issue with investments. It happens with large investors as well but the ones with resources are better placed to solve their grievances. Retail investors may not be aware but there are free-of-cost channels where they can get the grievances sorted out.
The Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI)) is the regulator for secondary market transactions, including those concerning the stock exchanges and mutual funds. If you have any grievance against any mutual fund or adviser or distributor or stock broker, the authority you have to approach is SEBI.
SEBI’s online platform SCORES is designed to help investors lodge complaints pertaining to the securities market, against listed firms and SEBI- registered intermediaries.
Since August 2018, it is mandatory to register on SCORES for lodging a complaint. To become a registered user, investors may click on ‘Register here’ under ‘Investor Corner’ appearing on the home page of the SCORES portal.
Investors will have to fill in the registration form. Fields such as name, address, e-mail address, PAN and mobile number are mandatory.
The user name and password for SCORES will be sent to the investor’s registered e-mail id. If an investor is already a registered user, he/she can log in by entering the user name and password. After logging into SCORES, investors must click on ‘Complaint Registration’ under ‘Investor Corner.’
The investor should provide complaint details and must also take care to select the correct complaint category, entity name, and nature of complaint. He or she must provide complaint details in brief (up to 1,000 characters). A PDF document (up to 2MB in size for each nature of complaint) can also be attached with the complaint.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is the regulator for banks. For any issue with banking services, you can lodge a complaint with the RBI.
The Banking Ombudsman Scheme was notified by the RBI in 1995 to provide for a system of grievance redressal against banks. The Scheme seeks to establish a system of resolution of customer complaints. Any person whose grievance is not resolved to his satisfaction by the bank within two months can approach the Banking Ombudsman if the complaint pertains to any of the matters specified in the Scheme.
Banking Ombudsmen have been authorised to look into complaints concerning (a) deficiency in banking service (b) sanction of loans and advances insofar as they relate to non-observance of the RBI’s directives on interest rates, delay in sanction or non-observance of prescribed time schedule for disposal of loan applications or non-observance of any other directions or instructions of the RBI as may be specified for this purpose, from time to time. and (c) such other matters as may be specified by the RBI.
You can fill up this online complaint form with details of complaint, bank’s name against which you wish to file a complaint, phone numbers, bank account details and the like. Names, addresses, land line number and e-mail ids of 22 Ombudsmen across the offices of RBI, pan-India, are available on the website. It also has the link to file the complaint, which leads you to the relevant website for filing the same.
There are three schemes viz. banks, NBFCs and digital transactions. This website provides the FAQs and guidance on how to file the complaint.
The regulator for insurance products or services is the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI). There is a Grievance Cell with the IRDAI where you can lodge your issues. This Cell takes up the grievances with the respective insurers for redressal. Policyholders who have complaints against insurers are required to first approach the grievance redressal cell of the insurer concerned.
If they do not receive a response from the insurer within a reasonable period of time or are dissatisfied with the response of the company, they may approach the IRDAI cell.
This cell entertains complaints only from the insured or the claimants. It will not entertain complaints on behalf of policyholders by advocates or agents or any third party. There is a complaint registration form available on the IRDAI website. Complaints can be registered over e-mail or, if required, in physical form, with the Cell.
Regulators are the second leg of a complaint if the service provider e.g. bank or mutual fund or MF distributor or insurer is not responding to a grievance or the response is not satisfactory. Initially, you have to try working it out with the service provider.
Generally, the approach of the regulator is to find a middle path in a difference of opinion or if it is a serious lack of basic service, then direct the provider accordingly.
If your case is of a very serious nature or if you are looking at compensation, then you may consider filing a case with the court of law. However, that requires time, energy and expense till the case is settled. Hence, retail investors should, under normal circumstances, limit themselves to the service provider and the regulator.
(The author is a faculty, author and columnist)