By Orayemi Abiodun Sulaimon
(unedited; This issue trended over the weekend and because of its importance to the banking public and even banks, Business Hilights decided to publish it)
I have no bank account with Zenith and I do not nurse any idea of doing so.
On the 10th of February 2018, I used my UBA ATM card to pay for goods bought at Fouani Nig Ltd, located at Idi ape Ibadan. I attempted to pay via POS twice but the two attempts for payment were declined. The two PoSs used were that of Zenith and Access. The two POS declined the transaction and I collected the two printouts. I eventually paid through cash transfer to the account provided by Fouani.
Alas, on getting home I received debit alerts for the two declined POS transactions and as customary in such situation, I waited for 48hours and I then complained at my bank.
My bank asked for the two receipts which I gave to my account officer with an assurance that the money would be reversed within two weeks. True to his assertion, Access bank made a refund of the fund exactly 10 days after but zenith bank didn’t. On enquiry from my account officer, I learnt zenith claimed the transaction was successful but he said they had sent another mail to show the information on the transaction receipts which actually showed that the transaction was unsuccessful. This went on for almost six weeks with no solution in view.
I went back to Fouani Nig Ltd two weeks ago to intimate her of the development, to my surprise, the company confirmed they noticed the double payment that very day and had immediately requested the bank to return the money to my account. The manager appealed to me and promised to send a mail on it again.
When I couldn’t get any credit afterwards, I went back to Fouani two days after to know if there had been any correspondence between Fouani and Zenith bank, the manager told me that though he had sent another new mail on the day I came but there had not been any response from Zenith end.
I used this POS on the 10th of February, Access bank made its reversal on the 21st of February. Today is 12th of April, so Zenith bank had held on to my money (capital)for over two months. As a business man, I know the RoI that the money could have yielded! And I know (and Zenith knows too) the interest that N327,000 can attract within two months if loan facility is secured from bank. I opted to bring the issue to this platform after my appeal to Zenith Customer account on Facebook and Twitter yielded no result.
I hope this would attract attention of the appropriate authority to respond to my request.
On Fouani to make a direct refund hence it is in custody of both payments, Sulaimon said “I held the same view thus the reason for my visit to Fouani two weeks ago, but Fouani had instructed Zenith to refund the money back to my account. On the possibility of Fouani making a direct refund to me, I explored the option too but the branch suffers the limitation of not having authority on the account.
Only the headquarter can initiate such, and that explains the decision to send mail to zenith with instruction to make a refund”.
A Facebook analyst, Tunde Olorisade advised thus: “Fouani can and should be able to initiate a refund into the card that the payment was drawn from. It’s just the same way as if you are returning a good u once purchased from them and they want to refund you. Deal more with Fouani as the bank did not know you. Headquarters or not they should be able to issue a refund into the card”.
However, digital experts who bared their minds on the development said time has come for banks to migrate to latest financial services technology that can give real time alerts in either credit or debit operations to curtail related experiences.
An IT expert who explained the scenario said “I think the delay in sending debit alert which is the genesis of the entire issue, can be traced to the inability of the bank to regularly update the App it deployed for such transactions or in rare cases, network hiccups”.
“Banks and other financial services providers should always update their application or even migrate to a better and higher value App to remain clearly competitive in the industry and further run away from such image damaging embarrassments.