Yesterday, like thousands of GTBank current account customers, I woke up to an unwelcome, ill-timed gift which arrived in this format:
“Desc: SI TRANSACTION (DIFFERENT CUSTOMERS)-GeNS CHARGE FOR 26NOV2015-06JAN2016.”
It appeared that I and others had been once again, unexplainably
robbed debited of our hard-earned money. At the last count, I counted over 50 complaints on Twitter (to which GTB typed out the generic response: “Enter our DMs”) and I have been boiling ever since.
What does “Different Customers” even mean, and how does it qualify as a reason to charge whatever the hell they like, right in the middle of a month and without any warning? The most annoying thing about this is that this charge has come in addition to a separate, unspecified charge for November – December. I mean, how can you justify this sort of repeated financial rape from a body that should be begging for your services? Are they shoring up my hard-earned money for an inevitable “MTN style” fine, or now that the CBN directive has abolished Commission on Turnover charges, is this their new money making scheme?
Either way, this is unacceptable and if these banks won’t do the right thing, it is about time we the customers make them sit up and realise we pay their fucking salaries. With the current state of the economy, we cannot sit back and let these guys continue to screw us over and act like they are doing us a favour while doing so. Some of the bank staff even have a misplaced sense of sovereignty over our rights as customers, so it’s up to us to educate them on how to treat customers.
This year, let us use the little we have to change our situation.
What is little known to the public is that the CBN will listen to customer complaints, as long as the complaints are lodged using their guidelines. So let’s do this. If you’ve been affected, it won’t take much of your time, plus I will make this as easy and pain-free as possible in 2 easy steps. However, I will need your commitment to join us in complaining by following the steps below. This is our money and most of all, this is our country and for the sake of our children, we the people must salvage it from the hands of those who want to create a culture of intimidation. Let’s do this.
What are the CBN guidelines for lodging complaints about banks?
Step 1. Lodge a complaint with your bank in-branch, and give them 2 weeks to respond. I would suggest first backing yourself up by sending your complaint via email in advance. What you are after is a confirmation that your e-mail has been received and is being dealt with (you will need this if you need to proceed to step 2). If you do get a confirmation, print it out and make a photocopy. Now, you can take a copy of your complaint letter the bank branch.
Below is a free guidance template you can download and adjust to your taste before taking to the bank.
According to a 2011 CBN circular, all banks are required to provide a consumer complaint help desk and/or expand their ATM help desk to deal with all kinds of complaints. Before you take your complaint to the branch, ensure that you take a photocopy, and ask someone to stamp this to confirm that the branch has received your complaint.
Step 2. If the bank fails to address your complaint after 2 weeks, escalate it to the CBN’s consumer protection department. Please note that you cannot escalate the issue without lodging a complaint with your bank first, so please follow the steps as prescribed.
Here is a free template letter you can adjust to suit your taste.
Please personalise this as much as you can, so that it doesn’t look like you just copied it word for word off the internet. Then send to the CBN by email and then by post.
Here are contact details for the CBN:
Letter: Director, Consumer Protection Department, Central Business District, Abuja
Your letter of complaint should be addressed to the Director, Consumer Protection Department. You can submit your letter at the CBN Head Office or at any of of their nationwide branches.
Tinubu Square, Lagos, Nigeria. PMB 12194. +(234) 01 2660100, 2660934, 2660624, 2660647
Zaria street, Garki II, Nigeria. PMB 0187, Garki, Abuja. +(234) 09 2342132-4, 234332-6, +(234) 09 23435363
2 Bank Road, Nigeria – P.M.B. 5134 Port Harcourt. +(234) 231019, +(234) 084 230539
Some more CBN guidelines to support your complaint:
Your complaint should be clear and concise to avoid ambiguity. The Complaint letter (petition) should contain amongst other things the following:
- Name, Address, Contact Phone Number & E-mail of the Complainant;
- Name of your Financial Institution;
- Personal banking details (Do NOT include PIN & Passwords, please;)
- History/Date of the transaction in dispute;
- Amount claimed (if any)
- Attach relevant documents to support you claim and
- Evidence to show that you have first lodged the complaint at your bank.
Wait for a response, and follow up if you hear nothing after 2 weeks. Please let me know of your progress in the comments section, let’s keep this open an transparent. All the best!