Stanbic Bank, Where is My Card?

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On Friday 27th July 2012, an authorized person used my card at the ATM on Kampala Road, next to Fido Dido – on the second attempt, the machine responded with something to the effect of “Card Issuer not available” – something i took to mean, a network connection with this machine’s parent server was not established, as as such it could not proceed to identify the card holder. The ATM did retain the card, providing no receipt as is the case with other card retain experiences. This person called me immediately, to which i immediately drove to my branch, in Mulago. While there, i was advised, that a service team visits the ATMs in Kampala regularly and they would collect captured cards. Because my card was retained at a “stand-alone” ATM, it would be taken to the Main Branch, sorted, and delivered to my branch right away. I was told, if I had a photo-id on me, it would not be a problem to get my card, had it been captured at an ATM machine, annexed to a branch.

Still My Bank? I wonder….

This had been clearly described by the non-authoritative guard at the ATM on Kampala Road. It was comforting to receive the same information at the branch. So i supposed i could pick up my card on Monday, since the guard had said the cards were to be collected that same Friday afternoon, as he expected a scheduled service team to come to the ATM machine.

On Monday 30th July 2012, I went to my branch in Mulago, first thing in the morning,  where i was told they had not received any cards. This time, i was told it would take 4 working days, and that I should check on Thursday. I was assured that my card, would by Monday evening have been picked from the ATM on Kampala Road, and it would take only 2 days to sort it out of the large pack and deliver it to my branch along with any other captured cards from various ATMs.

On Thursday 2nd August, 2012, I went back to my branch in Mulago, and i was disappointed to find my card had still not arrived. It was evident on the faces of the banking officers that they too did not know why my card had not arrived. But it was also clearly said to me, they had not received any pack of cards from the Main Branch. I was advised to go to the Main branch and ask at the Inquiries Counter. I did this immediately. Upon presenting my case at the inquiries counter at the  Main branch, i was asked to see a gentleman with a white sash presumably, and ironically reading:  Customer Satisfaction.

I explained my case to this gentleman, who asked me to wait as they checked the dispatch lists for captured ATMs, to check what the problem might be. After about 30 minutes of waiting, there was no clear response as to the whereabouts of my card, and having been deprived of banking services for nearly a week, i resorted to dealing via the counter, certainly at exorbitantly extortionist rates.

A few hours after i left the bank, i received a call, from a lady – it sounded like customer care – and she asked me to explain my case to her which i did.

On Friday 3rd August 2012 – exactly 2 weeks since the card first got captured – i received a call from (presumably) the same customer care lady, who called to ask me what Branch i belong to. The call didn’t last a minute, and she said she was going to follow up.

Today is the 9th of August, and tomorrow, it will be exactly 2 Calendar weeks since my card first got captured. I have no new information about my card, nor about the steps being taken to trace, recover and return my ATM Card.

I would like to know what it really takes to get my card back.

Bank of Uganda’s Consumer Protection Guidelines(June 2011) state, in paragaph 3(a) that ” Where a financial services provider gives advice to a consumer, the financial services provider shall ensure that: (i) the advice is suitable, taking into account the circumstances and needs of the consumer;  (ii) any product or service which the provider recommends a consumer to buy is suitable for the consumer; (iii) there is no other product or service available to the financial services provider that would be more suitable for the consumer; (iv) the provider keeps sufficient records of each piece of advice it has given to a consumer to enable it to demonstrate that it has complied with paragraph 6(3)(a)(i), (ii) and (iii); and  (v) it clearly informs the consumer of any actual or potential conflict of interest.”  I would like to take issue with section (iv) of this paragraph. I wonder if my bank has a record of any and all the advise i have been given since raising my case, as required by the law. I need not mention the services that i have been deprived of since my card has been captured.

Paragraph 6(1)(b)(ii) that ” A financial services provider shall not: mislead the consumer.” I believe that i have been misled by the Bank, on how long it actually takes to get back my card and also, where exactly to pick my card from.

Paragraph 7(2) states that ” A financial services provider shall ensure that where Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) or other self-service banking channels are offered, the ATMs and selfservice banking channels shall be available both day and night to serve a consumer; except that the machines may be temporarily inaccessible: (i) due to an emergency which is beyond the control of the financial services provider; or (ii) when they undergo regular servicing and maintenance. ” It is my belief that there was a breach of this paragraph when the ATM became unavailable, at a non-scheduled hour of service. Perhaps the processes that led to its unavailability were beyond the Bank’s Control – but what steps did the bank take to ensure that an unsuspecting customer does not become the victim of a failed ATM machine? If the ATM was programmed to recognize a failed connection, and as such display a message to say it was not advisable to use the ATM at that point, perhaps the person with a card would not insert it into a machine that would potentially capture it.

Paragraph 5 of the same document states that ” (a) A financial services provider shall: 

(i) assess the training needs of its staff when they take up a new role and at appropriate intervals after that (including if their role changes);
(ii) ensure that its staff receive sufficient training;
(iii) satisfy itself, on reasonable grounds, that its staff are competent to carry out their roles;
(iv) review at appropriate intervals the competence of its staff and take steps to ensure that they remain competent for their role; and
(v) arrange for its staff to be appropriately supervised.
(b) Paragraph 7(5)(a) above applies to the extent necessary to ensure that the financial services provider complies with all other provisions in these Guidelines.
(c) A financial services provider, in determining how to ensure that it complies with paragraph 7(5)(a) above, shall take into account such matters as:
(i) technical knowledge and its application;
(ii) skills and expertise; and
(iii) changes in the market and to products, legislation and regulation.
(d) A financial services provider shall consider the level of relevant experience of a member of staff when determining the level of supervision required.

I have every reason to believe that there is a significantly devastating lack of training, incompetence, supervision, and/or a health mix of all 3. This is exhibited in the fact that neither the Main Branch nor my local branch know where my card is, neither have given updated information of what is being done to locate my card.

Paragraph 8(1)(a) states that “ A financial services provider shall: a) ensure that any information given to a consumer whether in writing, electronically or orally is fair, clear and transparent; ” There is a breach of this section here, considering that it has taken more than “4 working days”.

Paragraph 9(5)(a) states that ” A financial services provider shall, on receiving a complaint, provide the complainant with a prompt written acknowledgement that it has received the complaint and is dealing with it. However, a financial services provider need not send a written acknowledgement where it resolves the complaint within three business days of receipt of the complaint.” I believe there is a breach of this section in my case. Tomorrow will be the second calendar week, a complete 10 working days, since i first raised my complaint.

On these grounds, i find that my bank has not kept its word towards myself, has breached many guidelines and has caused me unnecessary stress and distress as well as financial loss, considering the amount of times i have had to drive to the different branches back and forth.

I insist that Stanbic Bank is liable for this, and they should return my ATM Card, as well as redress all complaints raised herein.

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