NDTV Sports reported yesterday that squash player and Arjuna Award recipient Dipika Pallikal has “sued Axis Bank Limited seeking Rs. 1 million as compensation for the ‘humiliation’ and ‘loss of reputation’ she suffered during one of her overseas trips in 2011 after her debit card declined a transaction despite sufficient balance in her account.”
According to the report, ‘The bank had denied charges of having caused mental agony to the player, saying: “The very fact that the complainant is not able to take the slightest disturbance would prove that she lacks the requisite mental toughness of a world champion.
She is only making excuses for her non-performance and it is unfortunate and unethical to allege criminal acts on the bank for technical failure that took place in a foreign soil on which the bank has no control.”’
It would not be possible to comment on the matter without reading the entire correspondence between Dipika Pallikal and Axis Bank Limited. In any case, the matter is pending in the Chennai (South) District Consumer Redressal Forum, which has adjourned the hearing to October 4, 2013.
What is shocking is the bank’s statement that “The very fact that the complainant is not able to take the slightest disturbance would prove that she lacks the requisite mental toughness of a world champion.”
Axis Bank Limited is certainly entitled to defend itself against any charge that has been levelled against it by any customer. It is definitely entitled to contest the customer’s claim for compensation.
But is Axis Bank Limited entitled to indulge in mud-slinging, which is what their statement amounts to?
Would Axis Bank Limited have responded in the same way if the complaint had come from an international cricketer?
If this is how Axis Bank Limited treats an accomplished sportsperson, what kind of treatment can an ordinary citizen expect from Axis Bank Limited?
If the complainant had used inappropriate language or had made wild allegations, Axis Bank Limited could have responded strongly to the same. But, is it correct for Axis Bank Limited to indulge in mud-slinging?
The Brand Philosophy of Axis Bank Limited is
BADHTI KA NAAM ZINDAGI… or PROGRESS ON…
How does this mud-slinging fit into this Brand Philosophy?
It would not be fair to presume that the mud-slinging has been done with the knowledge and approval of the top management of Axis Bank Limited. It would have been done by the department that handles customer complaints with the intention of verbally intimidating the aggrieved customer into softening her stand.
However, given the wide media publicity, the top management of Axis Bank Limited would now be almost certainly aware of this matter. How will they react? How should they react?