Customers lament indiscriminate bank charges

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Customers in Nigeria are complaining about indiscriminate and unexplained charges on their accounts by various banks.

The bank customers, in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday, complained that attempts to get clarification from their banks were usually met with unsatisfactory responses.

Mr Razak Jubrin, a customer with one of the banks, said that he usually noticed unexplained deductions in his savings account whenever he carries out a transaction.

“Sometimes, when I recharge my phone through the bank App, I notice certain charges which are not explained.

“Sometimes, they debit you and fail to credit your phone with the airtime purchased, and they hardly ever refund your money until you call their Customer Service Desk or even visit the bank to resolve the transaction,’’ he said.

Another bank customer, Yakubu Ibrahim, complained about continuous charges in an account he had not been operating.

“I have not been operating a particular account in one of the banks for some time, but I keep getting alerts of deduction by the bank,’’ he said.

Some customers complained that ATM machines in many banks were programmed not to dispense more than N10,000 at a time to enable them to charge customers who carry out multiple transactions.

Others complained that whenever they made transactions through Point of Sail service, they get exploited by the banks.

Recently, the Southeast Amalgamated Markets Traders Association sent a complaint to the CBN over multiple and indiscriminate charges and deductions made by the banks.

The association complained that most of the transactions were the social responsibility of the banks.

It said that the banks made deductions and charges for virtually every transaction ranging from deposits to even confirmation of signature.

Responding, Mr Osita Nwanisobi, CBN’s spokesman advised bank customers with unresolved complaints to contact the CBN.

Nwanisobi said that the apex bank would ensure that bank customers with issues of excess charges and unauthorised withdrawals got a redress.

He said that the CBN had since issued a circular on its website, showing all legitimate bank charges, adding that any charge outside what was stated in the circular would be illegal.

“What you should be asking the bank customers is if they have reported those incidents to the CBN. We work based on the information we receive,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, the CBN, in a circular, advised customers to allow banks to resolve their complaints within two weeks.

The apex bank advised: “If your bank fails to resolve the complaint within two weeks, you have the right to escalate your complaint to the Consumer Protection Department (CPD) of the CBN.

“You can only direct your complaints to the CPD upon the failure of your bank to resolve your complaint within the two weeks.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the CBN recently reduced ATM withdrawal charges, inter-bank transfer fees and charges for electronic banking transactions.

The apex bank made the review in its “Revised guidelines to charges by Banks, Other Financial Institutions and Non-Bank Financial Institutions.’’

Charges like ATM withdrawals were reduced from N65 to N35 after the third withdrawal within the same month. CBN also cut inter-bank transfers to maximum of N50 from N300 per transaction.

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