Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Funny Bank Charges and Bad Customer Service

Many people complain about banks’ customer service especially during the payday of the 20th, 25th and end of the month. This is something which is easy to pick up as a consumer because we are physically experiencing the frustration of standing in a queue.  However there is another problem that we do not often notice but that is costing you money. This problem is the one of bank charges. Sometimes the bank charges us and we complain but not very often we do not actually realise that the bank charges were incorrectly calculated.

Recently a consumer complained about a bank mistake that cost him more money than expected.

“I have been a customer of a certain bank for over twenty years and generally consider their service to be the best of all the banks in the country. Recently however, I had to re-evaluate my opinion. By chance I had been asked to provide a copy of my bank statements of the past six months for a business deal I wished to conclude. Upon glancing through the statement I noticed an amount of N$ 10,000 that had been deposited in my account. Having a reasonably good memory, I could not recall that any client had paid me such a perfect round number for any work undertaken. After careful scrutiny, I noticed the amount was deposited on a Friday, and then reversed the following day and indicating an incorrect deposit. Thus it was a clerical error of the bank with the account number or something.

However the next line in my bank statement had me sitting up straight. There was a charge of N$ 185 for Cash Handling Fees. The bank had reversed the incorrect deposit of cash into my account, but charged me for their mistake.”

Another complaint was received from a consumer this week:
“How can a bank have such bad service??? I call nobody answers even when you call the people who make the decisions and big guns they are unavailable the only bank I know in Namibia that people are always unavailable? Then on top that you have the cheek to send me a letter to say I must pay then when I call you admit that you are at fault yet you take the matter further now you want to repossess my things??? This is directed at the vehicle loans department how is a person supposed to make a payment when you change your bank account details for payment and then on top that hand over to handover all time and when a person try to call nobody is ever available pathetic and when email people read and never reply absolutely pathetic this will be in the news appear as i know I'm not the only one having these problems to think two years ago Standard bank said would sort out there problems well looks like only getting worse.”

To both these consumers we can suggest you contact the complaints department of your bank. If you still feel unhappy with the service, then you can contact the Bank of Namibia (BoN). The “Guidelines for Lodging Complaints” have been developed by the Bank of Namibia to guide clients of commercial banks to lodge complaints with the BoN. The guidelines further establish complaint handling procedures at the BoN to ensure a consistent approach in complaints resolution.

As consumers we often complain, but do not follow up and allow the company involved to correct their mistake. The Bank of Namibia has opened up a new chapter in getting banks to change their consumer culture, but it is still up to us as the consumers to make use of these complaint mechanisms.

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