Know Your Rights! Learn How to Tackle Your Bank Over Tricky ATMs

Do you have any idea why it’s essential to know your rights regarding various setbacks you tolerate from some banks’ Automated Teller Machines, ATMs on a regular or periodic basis?

I will start you off with my personal experience, so you’ll understand that I’m well aware of some of the rights I need to forge ahead in this life if ever a bank decides to abuse it.

It was about three years ago when I had an urgent transaction to make. As an individual who believes in the directives of banks on some provisions they claim would make our business relations hitch-free, I, like every other ATM card owner, decided to use mine at a bank I have an account with within Abuja.

Unfortunately, that day didn’t go as planned. The machine held on to my card (As most people have experienced and are still experiencing it), and I could not complete the withdrawals that day.

It was late on a Friday even to make things worse, which means I would have to wait until the following Monday before filing complaints.

Fortunately, I was alive on the day to retrieve my hard-earned money. And of course, just like you, I saw the gloomy customer care personnel who reluctantly responded to my inquiries.

As a gentleman, I ignored her countenance and persistently requested that the bank provide my money, knowing they have evidence of my transaction.

You may have, or not, received this response from a stressed-out bank attendant, after consistently demanding for an explanation about your undispensed cash and card, saying, ‘Oga’ or ‘Madam’, ‘Wetin You Want Make I Do, I Be ATM Machine, Abi Na Me Swallow Your Card, Abeg No Disturb Me? I Been Don Tell You Say To Come Back For One Week Or Two Weeks, Oya Shift Make I Attend To Another Customer.’

Believe me, the paragraph above is all facts. But as I said earlier, as a gentleman, I refused to be agitated; instead, I resorted to the knowledge I possess in handling cases like this.

The reason why I’m taking time out to explain in detail my exact encounter with this bank (whose name I’m only protecting out of courtesy) is for you out there to know the importance of reading and to memorise the constitutional provisions, listening to informative radio broadcasts and watching educative television magazine programs that would broaden your horizons.

Now back to my story. As an individual, I had no idea what step to take to tackle the arrogance of the customer care representative. That day, I retreated, not merely surrendering, and then it hit me when I immediately recalled what I learnt from an enlightening program on Human Rights Radio, where a lawyer came to discuss a similar incident and doled out tips needed to address bank and ATM frustrations.

Know Your Rights
Know Your Rights! Learn How to Tackle Your Bank Over Tricky ATMs 4

Know Your Rights! Tackle Your Bank Over Tricky ATMs

Now, to the icing on the cake, the part you all have been waiting for, the highlight of the entire narration I’ve been on about the whole time, and I guess you want to know the exact information I garnered from that radio broadcast, as well as the next step I deployed to retrieve my money within fewer days than anticipated.

Know Your Rights! Lawyer Cites CBN’s Penalties Over Tricky ATMs

The Lawyer from that radio program hinted that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has established functional directives for banks that fail to satisfy their customers.

He said if a transaction falls through and your bank is indifferent or hesitant to do the needful, simply write or better mail them with detail of your complaint and ensure you research first to know what CBN installed precisely as penalty to a defaulting bank.

You would note that in June 2020, CBN adjusted timelines for reversals and resolution of refund complaints on electronic channels and similar transactions.

Know Your Rights
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele
  1. This information was communicated by the CBN Director of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, who further explained that when customers use their cards on ATMs, and it fails to dispense cash, the bank is expected to instantly reverse the transaction from the current timelines of 3 days.
  2. Meanwhile, in the same statement made available to journalists by Okorafor, the apex bank stated that “where instant reversal failed due to any technical issue or system glitch, the timeline for manual reverse should not exceed 24 hours.
  3. CBN also declared that refund for failed “Not on us ATM transaction”, where customers used their cards on other bank’s ATMs, should not exceed 48 hours from the current three to five days.
  4. Resolution of disputed and failed POS or Web transactions should be concluded within 72 hours from the current 5 days.

The statement added that the new directive aims to enhance service quality further and hasten quick refunds when customers experience failed transactions and dispensing errors or disputes.

Know Your Rights! Here’s How I Tackled The ATMs Issue

To retrieve my money in time, all I did at that moment, even before learning about CBN’s full penalties for defaulting banks, was to send a mail to the bank informing them that I “hope they are aware of the punishment that would be meted on them if they fail to refund my money within 24hrs?”

Lo and behold, the bank refunded the money the following Tuesday, and I assure you that the pay was very ‘Shikini’ money that most people wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow over.

The moral of this article is that even though Nigeria is a place where individuals, private establishments or the government in general hardly uphold the law, never be discouraged from fighting for your right with every legal means necessary.

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