Banks not liable in robbery

Do you know that if you are robbed in a bank the bank will not compensate you?

Do you know that if you are robbed in a bank the bank will not compensate you?

Sipho Vilakazi became aware of this fact when his money was stolen from an FNB teller's tray in April 2007.

He was busy depositing money when an armed gang struck.

Vilakazi says the teller had just processed his first transaction and was about to start on the second one. His R5000 was in the teller's tray.

He says the thugs ordered the tellers to fill their bags with money, including his that in the tray.

He says FNB failed to protect him and that the bank has a duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that its customers are protected inside their institution.

Vilakazi has lodged a formal claim and the bank had promised to consider his claim after viewing video footage.

But the claim was repudiated by a broker who did not allow Vilazaki to view the footage when he tried to prove that his money was in the bank's possession when the robbers took it.

Vilakazi says: "They are just hiding behind words. The truth is that my money was in their possession when the thugs pounced."

Stephen Higgins of FNB says the bank does not have recourse to an insurance claim for customers who lose money while they are in the bank during a robbery.

"We do receive claims from customers as a result of losses arising from criminal activities near or even in our branches, but the bank does not have recourse to an insurance claim for customers' losses."

Higgins says it is impossible to verify losses, so the bank becomes exposed to excessive claims.

He says the bank only takes responsibility for a client's deposit when a deposit slip has been issued. He says clients must write to the branch manager to explain the nature of a claim or claim from their personal insurance.

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