Consumer and the convenient bank drop box

We have come to regard bank drop boxes as a great extension of the branch; dropping checks, payment, check book requirements, and similar requests into these drop boxes. For credit card payments, where the required date is very close or even today, it seems like we can just drop the check in the drop box the same day and avoid a late payment. So, it will surprise people to know that this is nowhere near being a fool-proof instrument, and is subject to many delays and lack of responsibility by the bank. Refer this article:

A Mumbai resident recently dropped his credit card payment cheque in a box placed at a travel company. Although he dropped it four days before the due date, the amount was not debited from his account. Despite registering a complaint with the bank’s customer care helpline, his card was deactivated. To top it, he has been asked to pay a late fee and finance charges.

While most of us agree that drop boxes at “offsite” centres offer the extra convenience of accessibility, there are suspicions that sometimes they don’t get as regularly cleared as at banks. Besides, a senior banker warns, cheques have been known to get misplaced and misused. Since there is no system of listing cheque details at these drop boxes, it is unfortunately the customer’s word against the bank in a dispute. The official categorically says, “If a drop box does not belong to the bank, using it is at the customer’s risk. For that, we cannot hold the bank responsible.”

Not many customers are aware that the bank does not take ownership for the drop boxes placed at third parties. You can drop a check at the drop box placed in a bank ATM or at the branch, and even there you don’t have any proof of having deposited the check. But if you have deposited the check at a drop box located at a shop or any other such location, then the bank does not even claim ownership of the drop box and will refuse to take any liability for the check. This is a very strange and absurd situation. If a bank has placed a drop box anywhere and expects the customer to use the drop box as representing the bank, then it needs to take responsibility for this facility.

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