Credit card complaints in India shot up by as much as 74% between April 2008 and March of last year compared with the previous 12-month period, according to the annual report of the Banking Ombudsman, which the Reserve Bank formed to look into customer complaints against banks.

“The complaints (generally) were regarding unsolicited credit cards, charging of annual fees on free cards, and abusive calls on the phone,” a spokesperson for the central bank tells PaymentsSource.

According to the official, consumers made some 17,970 credit card complaints between April 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009, up from 10,328 received during the previous 12-month period.

The rise in complaints corresponds to the rise in credit cards issued, Mrinalini Manral, an analyst with Mumbai-based Dassler Business Intelligence, tells PaymentsSource. “But more so, the rise corresponds to the period of economic crisis,” she says. “Many lost their jobs, and it’s only natural that the unemployed have credit card bills as their last payment priority.”

The levels of customer service also may have dropped given the pressures placed on the banking industry, according to Manral.

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