What happens when Bank locker keys are lost ?

Have you ever pondered the consequences of losing the keys to your bank locker? In this article, I will share the steps to take when you lose your locker keys and the rules and charges involved in setting things right again!

lost bank locker keys

At the time of opening Bank Locker

When you open a Bank locker, you are billed in advance for breaking charges and for 3 years of rent (the former is to cover emergencies when the locker might have to be broken). RBI guidelines state that banks can charge this extra fee if they wish, but some banks might charge it later, and only if the situation arises.

You get 1 single locker key only

When you open a bank locker, there are a total 2 keys to the locker; out of these, one key is given to you and the other is with the bank. The absence of duplicate keys means that it is very important to keep your keys carefully and not lose them. However it is very natural that some people lose their keys or misplace them.

What happens when your locker keys are Lost ?

When you lose your locker keys, the first thing you need to do is write to the branch manager informing them about the loss. They can then ensure that the locker cannot be accessed by anyone (for example, by someone who stole your keys).

Once you intimate the bank about the lost keys, your locker has to be replaced by a new one (and keys) OR the duplicate keys have to be created and given to you. In either case, they will be contacting the company that supplied the locker to them (mostly Godrej). A trained technician will travel to the bank office, and cut open the locker in the presence of a bank official and the person who rented the locker. This is to avoid any dispute over loss of items from the locker. If the person renting the locker is not available, the bank will go ahead and break the locker and move the locker contents to a sealed box, which can be passed to the customer later.

Regarding the high penality, here is a reason below

Bankers do provide a replacement of duplicate key of lockers in case the same is misplaced or lost. There is no duplicate key of a bank locker as such. The bank has to call the supplier of the locker (i.e. the company that has supplied the lockers to the banker) and the supplier provides the duplicate key. This may entail a cost of about Rs.3000 per key. This heavy cost is due to travelling cost and other administrative costs that are involved.

Any expenses incurred will have to be borne by the person owning the locker – a sum that can run into the thousands. Just because it is  “loss of keys”, one should not treat it as a trivial matter and assume that duplicate keys will be provided for free.

Expenses also depends on size of locker

Note that expenses can vary as per the size of the locker. For small lockers, the replacement charges will be less and will increase to large amounts for bigger lockers. I think the high expenses act as a deterrent to ensure that locker owners do not treat the safeguarding of their keys as a trivial matter.

For complete clarity, I have set out below excerpts from bank T&C’s regarding this issue.

From ICICI bank website

8. The Hirer(s) is/ are permitted to operate the locker with the key provided by the Bank and no operation of the locker shall be permitted with a key other than the key provided by the Bank at the time of executing the Agreement. If the key of the locker, supplied by the Bank be lost by the hirer(s), the Branch should be noticed without delay. All charges for opening the locker, replacing the lost key and of changing the lock, shall be payable by the Hirer.

From SBI Bank website

In case of loss of key of the lockers, a service charge of Rs.509/- has to be recovered from hirer in addition to the actual expenditure incurred in breaking open the locker and changing of key by manufacturer of lockers.**

From City Union Bank website

10) In the case of locker keys reported lost by the hirer, a written declaration shall be obtained from him/her. The bank shall obtain from the manufacturing company a fresh set of lock and key. It shall be delivered by the company in a sealed box through its technical representative. The technical representative shall open the box in the presence of the Branch Manager and the Hirer and then in their presence the locker shall be broken open.

The contents shall be removed safely and a new lock shall be fitted thereon. Then the NEW key shall be handed over to the hirer after collecting the charges for fitting the new lock and key.

Keep the Bank locker keys Safe

In sum, if a locker key is lost, it has 2 big consequences. First, if it gets into the wrong hands, you run the risk of someone emptying out your locker contents. After all, you must be well aware how lousy are bank officials in checking the authenticity of the person opening the locker – all they do, is fill an entry in their register and that’s the end of it.

Another issue, which is explained above, is if the locker keys are lost, the amount of hassle and financial loss you need to absorb to rectify matters, is huge compared to the size of mistake. It is therefore much better to be careful from the onset.

Let me know your views about this topic. Were you aware about these rules or not?

By Manish Chauhan on June 26, 2014 · Posted in Banking

23 Comments | Post Comment

Ravi Modi says:

Is it proper / legal to make duplicate key of locker & keep the original with us safely. Can we operate locker with duplicate key. Will bank have any objection if we operate locker with duplicate key.

Ravi Modi

Posted on June 26th, 2014

Srinivas says:

Good write up.

Is it a good idea to get a duplicate(cut) from a local vendor and use it, keeping original in some safe place.

regards

Posted on June 26th, 2014

Pradeep Hattangadi says:

Good article to caution locker hirers to be careful with the key. A slight aberration in the article is that “if the locker hirer is not available, the bank can beak open the locker only in the presence of two witnesses and a panchnama of the contents has to be made which is to be witnessed by the persons who have witnessed the breaking open of the locker. Further the contents have to be kept sealed conditions.

Posted on June 26th, 2014

Pradeep Hattangadi says:

You would have signed the locker agreement while hiring the locker wherein there is a clause that you undertake not to make a duplicate of the key given to you. consequently the bank can proceed against you for a) breach of contract and also breach of trust.

Posted on June 26th, 2014

Paresh says:

Few months back we went through this kind of situation.
I lost locker key and worst thing was that I lost key at one of the bank counter..
such kind of situation is always full of worry as person within a bank can easily misuse it.
we immediately informed bank manager about it and asked him to take special precaution ..
Later we need to pay charges for replacement of locker..and got it ok ..

I don’t think its possible to make duplicate keys and use it as suggested in couple of comments..RBI want banks to ensure each key is embossed with bank and branch code and same key is used to open the lockers to avoid any fraud.
thank you.

Posted on June 26th, 2014

Anjan says:

Despite what the terms and conditions say, I think its a good idea to make a duplicate key beforehand. Do you want to fork out 3000 bucks to the bank for a duplicate key if the original is lost? I know a guy in my locality who makes duplicate keys for just Rs.30 lol. The banks have no way of knowing what key you have, so no worries there.

Posted on June 27th, 2014

Pramod P Kaimal says:

First Thing a Mother Teaches a CHILD, and what all so called Religion PREACH is “BE TRUTHFUL”. When ONE has MADE an agreement NOT to make DUPICATE key why GO THE CONgress way to MAKE a Rs 30 duplicate KEY. This Rs 30 duplication shows the CONgress mentality of INDIANS. No wonder CONgress conned india for decades.

Posted on June 29th, 2014

vijay says:

Making a duplicate of the locker key would just be inviting more trouble. To save Rs.3000 we make a key for Rs.30 and god-forbid we lose our keys we just might end up losing 30 lacs!

In my experience, women of the house (wife/mother/…) are best protectors of the key. They are mighty responsible and are always extra careful with such things.

Posted on July 1st, 2014

Manish Chauhan says:

Good point :)

Posted on July 3rd, 2014

Manish Chauhan says:

Thanks for sharing that Paresh !

Posted on July 3rd, 2014

Manish Chauhan says:

Thanks for sharing that information

Posted on July 3rd, 2014

Manish Chauhan says:

No Srinivas

I think legally its not allowed under locker rules

Posted on July 3rd, 2014

Manish Chauhan says:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this :)

Posted on July 3rd, 2014

Srinivas says:

May be.

But my key will be with me. For my safety, if I get a duplicate key and keep it(and use it), nobody need to know. If one looses this key or suspects a possible compromise, one has the option of reporting loss and get a new one anyway.

Posted on July 4th, 2014

Manish Chauhan says:

Thats a fair point .

Posted on July 4th, 2014

Sunil Madhusudan Joshi says:

I recalled a similar discussions about installation of a personal lock on to the locker; conducted few weeks before. I recalled it now because the locker door seen in the photograph above do not have a third key hole. May be this photograph is from another country than India, where banks would not allow you to install your personal lock, silently or officially.

Now about present topic:
First and foremost, bank never approaches you to rent a locker with them.
It is your need to keep your valuables safe, so you approach bank to rent a locker.
Now after renting a locker, if one can not keep his the only key safely without misplacing it, then how could it be sure that he will not misplace the duplicate key also ?
Some people thinks that, to attempt a theft is not an offence, but only to get caught while attempting it.
If anybody’s morals are allowing him to breech the agreement signed with the bank, then he should proceed and do it immediately, but keeping in mind that he may have to face serious legal consequences if he is caught in the act.
In my opinion, if you loose the only key provided by the bank, just inform the bank officially and pay all charges for another key without attempting any illegal act because it is your mistake that you lost your key.

Posted on July 5th, 2014

Manish Chauhan says:

Good point .. thanks for sharing your views on this

Posted on July 5th, 2014

Srinivas says:

The issue is not that some one does not want to pay up for a fault. The issue is of the padded costs, which result based on system inefficiency. Normally, replacement of a good quality godrej lock takes about Rs 1000. If I want to add, the technicians flight charges, his living expenes for a day, transport in the city etc and make the charge Rs 5000, one can have an alternative.

“Now after renting a locker, if one can not keep his the only key safely without misplacing it, then how could it be sure that he will not misplace the duplicate key also ?”
This is a redundant argument. It presupposes that one is careless enough to loose a key and invite un-pleasentness. The issue is human fallibility. That is the reason why any lock comes with 2 or more keys in the first instance.

Anyway, personal opinions differ. Every one can have his own.

Posted on July 6th, 2014

Anjan says:

It’s called being smart. Banks make the rules according to their own convenience so that they as well as Godrej can together mint money from those who lose keys. It’s just like the endless list of service charges that they force upon us irrespective of whether we need them or not. It’s just business at the end of the day. Unless you know how to play it smart and cover your own ass, you will always be at the receiving end of such tactics from bigwig corporates who are out to loot the common man.

A Rs.30 duplicate key that you can keep somewhere safe for a rainy day can save your Rs.3000 someday. What’s the harm in doing that? You aren’t cheating the bank or stealing from it are you? That would be a real felony. Bank has nothing to lose even if your duplicate key falls in the wrong hands.

I can also apply the same argument to the laws that we have in India. Do you blindly follow all laws even if your better judgement says its completely anti-people and only serve the interests of few, probably the rich and wealthy? You have to remember that we don’t live in a world which provides a level playing field for everyone, so sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do and if it doesn’t hurt anyone in the process, no harm in doing it I say.

Posted on July 6th, 2014

Deepthy says:

What is so smart in this breaching a contract or agreement? How about the possibility of your duplicate key falling into the wrong hands? Now the “smart” fellow thinks he has hoodwinked the bank and can use the original key, for which he would now have another duplicate made, and continue to use it as nothing happened. The smarter fellow who got hold of the first duplicate key can have easy access to his locker. That I think would be costlier than Rs.3000/- 5000/- or what ever it be.

Kindly understand the fact that laws are there not only to protect the interests of those who enforce them but for the safety and peace of mind of the one that is enforced upon also. There could be illogical laws such as the non acceptance of personal sexual preferences of individuals in our country, but this particular case definitely don’t comes in that category.

Posted on July 26th, 2014

sandy says:

Due to heavy rain, whole of a locker room of bank is filled with water and entire basement was under water, All the lockers were under water in basement and next day bank pumped out all the water from basement and ringed locker holders to empty it. Documents are dirty with mud and water, Bank says its natural calamity and its happen due to heavy rain that water is chocked up in basement. so now everybody has vacate lockers but bank refused to shift them to upper floor and mention that its not their responsibility to protect it from natural calamity, i am not clear ion this, many customers argued that basement is not a location to keep lockers racks and they should be shifted to upper floor because every year this water logging in basement will happen , what is a solution ? what is RBI policy if this kind of situation happen and documents, items got damaged due to such incidents ?

Posted on August 4th, 2014

Manish Chauhan says:

I am not sure about who is responsible for this , but surely bank should not keep it in basement !

Posted on September 20th, 2014

Manish Chauhan says:

Thanks for sharing your views on this

Posted on September 20th, 2014