Yes, I should have changed banks many moons ago, but opening an account in any bank in Ghana is so cumbersome. I went to Fidelity Bank and asked what I needed to open an account there and they asked for about 20 passport pictures, someone who has an account there to write a letter to say that no you are not a money launderer but want a legitimate account, the lady at the bank read out the list of items required, but she lost me at passport pictures. So laziness kept me continuing transactions with what is probably the worst bank in Ghana.
So what have they done now. I go back in time to April. My bonus had arrived and so I transferred some money into my Ecobank sterling account and the same banks USD account. It was a bit above my normal transfer but I also had a bit of money to play with. I stupidly didn’t check the transaction, the main thing for me was that I had enough money to cover the mortgage and I only had an hours lunch break so was in a hurry to get back to the office.
Fast forward to January 2013. I get a call from Ernestina at the branch in Accra Mall. Apparently the teller managed to do the sterling transfer alright back in April, but instead of dividing by the rate she actually multiplied (hence they overpaid me), now I was indebted to them by the tune of 1,200GHS. How did they find this out, by an audit done in December. Yes, the idiots didn’t realise the mistake until 8 months later.
It’s January, after the christmas, I paid out a lot of money and have exactly 385GHS in my account which is to last me until the end of the month. Of course I was mad with rage that this mistake has been bought to my attention almost a year later. What more, there was no apology but accusations. First of all, they blamed me for not bringing the transaction to their attention. Now here’s the deal. I check the account days before I get paid to see my balance and had been putting in a bit more each month, so the following month when I was in credit I didn’t think much of it.
A guy called Daniel then accused me of “conniving with the teller”. Now really, my mortgage balance is in the region of $30k if I’m going to be so underhanded will I do so for a mere $2k.
After a round of insults I said I will come into the bank the following day to discuss. In my mind I had accepted my role in this whole mess for not checking and was going there in good faith to come up with a payment plan to get this mess resolved. I get there however and am met by the branch manager Tina. A burly woman, probably frustrated at home so likes to show her powers in the office. I am greeted again with no apology but a condescending lecture that even if the rate was 1:1 I should have known that I was overpaid. The bitch then implied that I knew that I was overpaid but chose to say nothing.
Now anyone that knows me knows that I believe in equity. If I even pay for a can of coke and you over pay me I would give back the money. I am just too honest. The fact that I am so honest is the reason I have basically started from the beginning in my career since I moved from London to Ghana. But I digress.
What annoyed me was when this Daniel fella tells me that if they had underpaid me, wouldn’t I expect my money back. The fact is, I wouldn’t expect my bank to make such a colossal mess in the freaking first place mate.
It ended with me saying I would pay the money back over a period (it took 8 months to realize the mistake, what’s a few more months to get the money back). Tina said she would have to speak to her superiors (still no apology).
Two days later and I didn’t here from the old witch so called back for an update. She was rather abrupt and as defensive as the day I went to the bank (have to add they kept me waiting 15 minutes while they whispered amongst each other before they called me in). She said she would get back to me. I said she should do that and I also wanted an apology for the inconvenience this has caused (if you don’t ask?). She said she would get back to me on that one also.
After she slammed the phone down (there was no goodbye). I dialled the complaints department. Had she been a bit humble admitted the mistake and come up with a reasonable solution, I would have probably let it go. But her attitude was, she didn’t care if I was in the red, her so purpose was to do this reversal and well basically she treated me like I was a criminal. Customer service at its best.
I got a call from Ecobank yesterday asking for more details and an apology. But now this has become personal. Efia v Tina. I want my apology.
As for me and Ecobank, well I’m just going to have to get those passport pictures and whatever else is needed because the sooner I stop doing business with them, the better.
Customer Service at its best!