I went to collect some cash from a GTB branch/ATM near my house this morning, on my way to work. After slotting in my card, and keying in my PIN, my card was seized and the message that showed up on screen was: Card retained, card reported as lost or stolen.
It was at this particular branch that I opened my account about a year and a half ago. Early this year, when the UBA was getting highly frustrating(read here, here, here), I decided to face GTB full-time as far as ATM use was concerned.
So, I walked into the branch office to complain about my cards seizure, and what did the front desk staff tell me?
sir, please try to remember if you have reported your card as lost or stolen or if you have asked one of your friends to report it lost or stolen on your behalf.
“Sir, try to remember”? I told the front desk officer guy that I funded the account about two weeks ago, used the card just about a week ago, withdrew N5,000.00(five-thousand Naira) at the same branch and ATM, and that I haven’t / didn’t report it lost or stolen(from then till today). I explained my arguments thus:
- If I had reported it lost or stolen, at least they(GTB) should have information as to when I reported it to be lost or stolen.
- If a friend of mine had reported it lost or stolen on my behalf, at any of GTB’s branches nationwide, they(GTB) should have the name, phone number and other identification information of this ‘mysterious friend’. Besides, shouldn’t such a third party request require a written authorization from the owner of the account?
- The account is a personal savings account and I am the only signatory.
- Lastly, GTB has never requested for a list of who my friends are, and therefore if someone were to walk in and say he was my friend, even if he mentions my account name and number, they(GTB) should at least confirm first from me before disabling my ATM. They have my GSM number and could have given me a phone call. I even showed the GTB guy my most recent alert on my phone.
The stupid front desk officer seriously maintained that I have reported my card lost or stolen or a friend of mine had done it.
By this time, I was on the way to getting pissed. I had to ask the officer who the hell ‘this friend’ is and why on earth is he/she/they allowed to take control of my account without my consent. Lord have mercy.
Question: where do Nigerian banks get their front desk officers from?
I need to do a post on the above question someday, but here, this is an introduction:
99% of these front-desk/counter guys/gals are professionally daft. I do not work in a bank, but if I did, the job wouldn’t be difficult because I could quickly read in between the lines, know where problem sources were, and resolve issues in no time. Besides, why don’t they(front deskers) ask questions from other staff who know better rather than trying to give an answer to what they don’t understand. While the guys are usually in some holed-up suit that make them look seriously dumb, the only thing common about front desk lady officers is breast exposure. I had to ask a friend’s friend sometime ago if her bank made it a requirement for them(ladies) to always wear low-cut blouses, that expose their chest privates. These guys/gals are totally ignorant and they always appear to be new staff. And please, why place new staff at the front desk?
Back to my story: all the while, I had been expecting the GTB officer to ask me what my account number was or at least my name, so he could check things up. No sir, he didn’t. He just kept on looking at me and then at his computer screen
He keyed in some things into his P.C and then asked me if my card had been lost before. ‘Yes’, I replied and informed him that I lost my wallet and my ATM card last May2008, that I reported the issue at this same branch, that I presented a police report and was re-issued a new card a week later.
The guy then goes:
‘Ow, Ow, Ow, ok……., maybe the request of May just took effect today.
Now, is this an End of week blooper or what exactly. The rest of the story is that I was told to come back on Monday because
the engineer that will work on the ATM machine will retrieve all the seized cards this weekend.
I immediately remembered it took one-week for my previous card to be replaced. I also pitied those whose cards have been seized since last-Monday for the same/related issues. Anyway, I withdrew some cash over the counter and here, lets wait till Monday next week, for the rest of the story.
Questions to be answered:
- Isn’t there supposed to be a difference as far as bar-coding, card-number(not account number) and authentication is concerned between an ‘OLD ATM Card’ that has been replaced with a ‘NEW ATM Card’? This just means that if I could retrieve my OLD ATM card, the thing could still work?
- Why should ‘a request / report for a lost ATM card in May 2008’ take effect in December 2008?, worse, it took effect on the new card which has been replaced and which has been in use since May2008? I believe their(GTB’s) ATM machines should be looking for MY OLD ATM CARD and not the new.
- I wonder if this is how all the withdrawals and deposits since the beginning of the year will be taking effect at the end of the year.
Lord Have Mercy!!!