Paytm: Is your digital money safe?

When we are fighting against Covid-19 and the government is recommending to use digital money and avoid doing cash transactions but is it safe to use digital wallets.

New Delhi: Using digital wallets provides great benefits to all users as using digital money for our cashless rides, online shopping, superstore and even to pay street vendors is super convenient. Money can be transferred from one mobile number to another on the go without sharing any other personal or financial details. As per the latest data available with us, Paytm has more than 400 million registered users followed by PhonePe which has 218 million registered users.

Now to address whether your money in digital wallet is safe or not. After talking to hundreds of Paytm users we can confirm that your money is not safe as many users have lost their money directly from their wallets for transactions which were never done by them.

During our investigation for Paytm, we experienced that if you want to report fraudulent transaction to Paytm, either there is no phone banking number that exists or it doesn’t work. Moreover, even emails don’t work in most of the cases. The email address to report any such transaction to Paytm is but most of the Paytm users confirmed that they never received the money back in their wallet despite the fact that they notified Paytm within 1-2 days about an unauthorized transaction in their account. The value of most of these transactions were from Rs 10 to Rs 5,000.

In most of the cases, Paytm users have received a standard reply from Paytm as follows:

Post investigating the case, we have established that the login was initiated from user’s end and the account was already logged in to the merchant’s website. All logins are secured and verified, thus, we are unable to process any refund from Paytm’s end against the order 2000412xxxxxx of amount Rs xxxx.

While reviewing another digital wallet PhonePe, we found that their customer does exists however the PhonePe users have mixed experience but they still has better customer support than Paytm to address customers grievances.

How you can protect yourself from the fraudulent transactions in your digital wallet:

  • Keep minimum amount of money in your digital wallet
  • Do not link your wallet with any 3rd party apps e.g. Zomato, Uber, Airtel, etc.
  • Avoid doing UPI transactions from your wallet, UPI transactions should be done via Internet banking or mobile banking
  • Only use digital wallets which have good customer support and where you can actually talk to customer support personnel
  • Add money in your wallet just before you intend to pay anyone (use credit card or debit card only)
  • Use the financial transaction only on the site which is fully secured, the simplest way to identify this is to look for the lock sign on the website address

Till the time Reserve Bank of India (RBI) doesn’t come up with rules similar to banks to protect the consumers using digital wallets your money is not safe in these wallets. In the case of banks, if the account holders money is transferred fraudulently via your internet banking, by misusing your debit card or credit card you can report to the bank via Mobile banking, Internet banking, Phone banking, etc. and submit a Client Dispute Form (CDF Form) with the date, time and details of the transaction. You are most likely get the money credited to your account within 24 hours to 30 days’ time depending on your bank. However, in the case of digital wallets if money is deducted from your wallet without your knowledge, you are unlikely to get the money back as RBI doesn’t have similar rules for digital wallets.

If you are looking to lodge formal consumer complaint against any fraudulent transaction in your account, register it using the below link or on phone number given below: OR call to register your grievance at 1800-11-4000 or 14404

What are some tips to filing a consumer complaint?

Confirm first that you are a ‘consumer’ within the meaning of Section 2(1)(c) of the Consumer Protection Act. Although livelihood is not commercial in nature, commercial users cannot maintain a consumer complaint, i.e., purchase of goods or avail of services for resale or a ‘profit’ or ‘business motive’. Whether a particular good or service is for a commercial motive or not would depend on the facts of the case:

  • Preserve all communication / correspondence with the Opposite Parties.
  • Notice of some sort in writing to the Opposite Parties should be given highlighting the grievances of the consumer. The said notice should be given to all the relevant Opposite Parties.
  • Preserve all postal acknowledgements of letters posted and all other documents and paperworks as may seem to be relevant for a consumer complaint.
  • Identify the ‘cause of action’. Cause of action means the reason or ‘cause’ because of which you have to file the consumer complaint.
  • In the consumer complaint, implead all the relevant Opposite Parties, because non-joinder of parties can be fatal to the consumer complaint.
  • Identify if the complaint is a ‘representative complaint’, i.e., where there are numerous consumers having the same interest. If so, seek permission of the Court after filing case to implead other persons having benefit from the same cause of action, and if Court grants permission, one may inform and invite such other persons.
  • In the complaint you have mentioned with proper arguments: the introduction of the parties, that the complaint is not time barred, that the complaint is filed in the correct jurisdiction.
  • Copies of all relevant documents must be evidenced in an organized format. Explain how you would like it to be explained to you. It is always advisable to get the documents attested by notary or by self-certification as ‘certified true copy’, because it is better evidence and one can take a stand in Court that one is being totally truthful.
  • Mention a precise and specific gist / summary of complaint explaining in extremely few lines why the Opposite Parties are liable, and what provisions are violated, and what wrong-doings have been done by the Opposite Parties.
  • Once summons on the Opposite Parties are served, they should enter appearance in the Court within 45 days of summons reaching them. If this does not happen, complainant must insist for ‘ex parte’ hearing, meaning “without the party”. Preserve postal acknowledgement of summons’ post because otherwise you will have to re-send the summons for the sake of the postal acknowledgement, and the 45 days countdown will refresh.
  • Do not miss Court hearings, and keep track of all important events in Court hearings, eg., when any directions to either parties have been given, when Opposite Party is absent, deadlines, etc.
  • Consumer Court has power to summon, enforce attendance of any defendant, and also to summon and enforce attendance of, and examine on oath, a witness. Court also has the power for discovery and production of any document or other material object producible as evidence. Court also has the power of reception of evidence on affidavits. Court also has the power of requisition of report of an analysis or test from a laboratory or other relevant source. Court also has the power for issuing of any commission for the examination of any witness (i.e. deposition of witnesses who are beyond territorial jurisdiction). All these are powers are for hearing of consumer complaints.
  • Consumer Court has the power, if satisfied, to direct the removal of defects, replacement of goods, return of price/charges, award compensation, discontinue unfair/restrictive trade practice, not to offer/withdraw/cease manufacturing of hazardous goods for sale, issue of corrective advertisement to neutralize the effect of misleading advertisement at cost of erring party, to provide for cost. All these powers are for judgment and passing orders.
  • Any Order of the District Forum may be appealed to the State Commission within 30 days (upon payment of costs, if required by the Order being appealed).