Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Consumer ALERT - check your bank accounts

Information is gradually emerging about a problem many bank customers are currently experiencing.

We've heard from many people already who find that large amounts of money have been withdrawn from their bank accounts. Some have been left with very little money or perhaps even none at all. A few have found themselves suddenly overdrawn with what seems no good reason. Some customers have been charged penalties for going over their limits.

It's not entirely clear yet but it seems that a large number of Point Of Sale (POS) transactions in stores throughout the country that were made between mid-August and mid-September weren't actually deducted from customer's accounts. Those transactions have now suddenly taken effect, often weeks after the purchases were made.

It's important to note that (as far as we can tell) nobody has had too much money deducted from their account. Every deduction relates to a real purchase that customers made. However they've only been made weeks after the original purchase was made.

Yes, of course, the banks will say, we DID spent the money and we all SHOULD have been checking our account every day to make sure than the money we spent had actually been deducted. But realistically, who does that? And should we really have to?

I think we have a right to expect that banks should operate efficiently. We certainly have a right to expect them to honour Section 15 (1) (a) of the Consumer Protection Regulations which requires them to offer services "with reasonable care and skill".

Some of the banks have told us that they'll be communicating with us shortly via press releases but meanwhile we have to ask this. Who's going to pay the bills?

So what should you do? It's simple. Check your bank account right now. Don't make a cup of tea, don't chat to your family, friends or colleagues, stop working and check your bank account right now. Make sure you don't become a victim as well.

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