Mon | Sep 25, 2023

Banks must be responsible for ATM malfunctions

Published:Saturday | April 16, 2022 | 12:06 AM


The banks all but force us to use the automated teller machines (ATMs) by closing branches and reducing services provided in-branch for customers. They push this agenda without putting proper, reliable infrastructure in place, including not replacing old machines, inadequate number of machines, machines under capacity for the local usage, and maintaining ‘colonial’ operating hours.

The banks further absolve themselves from equipment errors by saying “It is the computer”.

Case in point: I went to an NCB machine and attempted to use a Scotiabank card – this I have done on numerous occasions, being also a customer of NCB. After the amount for withdrawal was put in it responded in a few seconds “hardware problems, unable to dispense”. The printed slip said, ‘try another ATM’, or similar suggestion.

The machine did not return the card, even after attempts were made to cancel or stop the transaction.

The following morning I went to Scotiabank to cancel the card that got stuck in the machine and requested a replacement card as proper security would dictate. I was issued the replacement card at a cost of nearly $900. I had no option but to pay the cost of the replacement card because it was my only access to carry out banking transactions.

Knowing that the retention of the card was due to an obviously straight malfunction of the machine, I set about obtaining reimbursement for the cost of replacing the card from NCB.

I visited the local branch of NCB and was told that all the persons who could advise me were “in a meeting”. I eventually called customer service at NCB, and after the situation was explained to the representative, I was advised essentially that I would not be compensated.

How can any organisation which appreciates good customer relationship not accept the responsibility for the proper operation of their equipment even as they are encouraging us to use these same machines that they, and everyone else, know are unreliable.

Banks are only concerned about collecting fees to increase their revenue instead of providing even a reasonable service to their customers.