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Pensioner demands refund after years of debit orders

Bank debited R1,500 monthly for over a decade

Standard Bank has promised to resolve its issues with pensioner Ody Pila after he spent years paying off a credit card he had long stopped using.
Standard Bank has promised to resolve its issues with pensioner Ody Pila after he spent years paying off a credit card he had long stopped using.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

For 15 years, pensioner Ody Pila has been struggling to clear his R8,000 credit card debt with Standard Bank despite the bank debiting R1,500 every month for over a decade. 

Pali, 63, reached out to Sowetan Consumer this month after the bank allegedly failed to explain to him why his debt was not being cleared despite his monthly payments.

In their response to Sowetan, Tatenda Goredema from the bank said: “Based on our investigations of Mr Pila’s complaint, we found some discrepancies related to the account. We sincerely apologise for the frustration and inconvenience that this matter has caused Mr Pila. Based on our findings, we are actively working to find a resolution with Mr Pila. Clients are our primary concern, and we will continue to strive to provide excellent service.”

When asked about the nature of the discrepancies and how they are resolving them, Goredema could only say: “Unfortunately, we cannot divulge the discrepancies but we are working to resolve the matter with Mr Pila.”

However, Pila said he had not received any calls from the bank. 

His woes started in 2008 when he received a call from the bank’s agent offering him a credit card with R8,000 limit loaded in it. At the time Pila was a teacher and in need of extra cash. 

“I don’t know where they got my numbers from, but I accepted the offer and the card was couriered to me immediately. I used the funds gradually as I was in need of money. I used it for a few months and I was paying R1,500 monthly towards it. I then stopped using it completely and continued paying off for what I had used. The bank called to offer a credit increase, which I declined,” said Pila.

Pila said he had been trying to get the bank to explain why it was still debiting his account as his debt should have been settled a long time ago. 

“I went to the Mokopane branch in Limpopo two months ago and I could not get a satisfactory answer I then instructed my bank [Nedbank] to reverse the credit card debit orders and I have been doing that since September. I have since destroyed the credit card. It’s been a frustration journey and I want my money back,” said Pali. 

The Ombudsman for Banking Services is one of the avenues open for customers who disputes with their banks. Their service is free and the only requirements are that the complaint must be within its jurisdiction and that the customer must have followed the bank’s complaint-handling procedures before approaching the ombuds for assistance.

Only banks that are members of the Banking Association of SA are bound by its rules. It is important to check whether your bank is a participant in the ombudsman’s scheme via its website.

Ombudsman for Banking Services can assist only if your complaint:

  • relates to products or services provided by the bank;
  • involves a claim of R2m or less;
  • arose within the past three years;
  • If the complainant is a company the annual business turnover must be less than R10m.

It can be reached on 0860-800-900 or info@obssa.co.za

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