Following rising complaints from customers of commercial banks in Nigeria over incidences of multiple and indiscriminate charges and debits on their accounts, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has told customers what to do.
A spokesman for the apex bank, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, advised aggrieved bank customers to contact the CBN, promising that the apex bank would ensure that customers get redress on issues of excess charges and unauthorised withdrawals.
Many customers had complained on social media that they were at one point or the other shortchanged by some commercial banks through unauthorised debits from their accounts.
On Friday, some of them expressed their frustration over the failure of the affected banks to resolve the issues, prompting the affected customers to cause a stir on social media.
“Guys, there’s a high level of coordinated fraud in the banking sector right now. So many customers are getting debited from their accounts and banks are claiming it’s PoS transactions even from accounts that barely use their cards. These funds are not being reverted,” a Twitter user wrote.
According to another aggrieved bank customer, “Banks are not having explanations for these debits and unauthorised transactions. Banks are not safeguarding these funds. They are encouraging the fraud and nobody is talking about it. If you have a debit card, your money is not safe.”
A customer by the name Arakunrin Anu alleged that he lost N39,000 in one of the banks, adding that when he “went to the bank to complain, they said it was a PoS transaction, which was not initiated by me or anyone, I stay alone and don’t move about with my card.”
Another customer, Mr. Ukeh, a Sunday school teacher, alleged that one of the banks removed N10,000 from his cousin’s account for a supposed PoS transaction which he said he never authorised.
“He went to the bank to fight, I mean physically fistfight, and in less than 12hours it was reversed,” he stated.
However, the apex bank’s spokesperson explained that the CBN has since issued a circular on its website, showing all legitimate bank charges.
He added that any charge outside what is stated in the circular is not allowed.
“What you should be asking them (bank customers) is if they have reported those incidents to the CBN. We work based on the information we receive,” Nwanisobi said.
“We have channels; we have educated them; we have said that you have the right to complain if you get debited. We have written on our website about the cost of bank charges. If anybody is charging you more than what you see, what do you do?
“You need to report to CBN and we will take it up. Anytime we have done sensitisation, we showed them, in concrete terms, the amount we have recovered from banks and sent back to individuals.
“Customers should report to the CBN. We have channels; we have email addresses where they can reach us. That’s what they should do.”
Meanwhile, the CBN advised customers to allow deposit money banks to resolve their complaints within two weeks.
“If after lodging your complaint your Bank still fails to engage you and resolve the complaint within two weeks as provided for in the ATM HELP DESK Circular, you have the right to escalate your complaint to the Consumer Protection Department (CPD) of the CBN,” the apex bank said.
The apex financial regulator said customers can contact the CPD by sending an email to [email protected], [email protected], or call +234 7002255226.
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