Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Standard Bank - What standard?

Dear Jacko Mareee, Chief Executive of Standard Bank,
          I can’t understand how your bank was voted No1 for service in the Banking Category Orange Index Awards, whatever they are, because all I got from this so called champion of service excellence of yours was a LEMON.
          If my experience is the yardstick the Standard you set is nothing to brag about. I’m sure you wouldn’t want it included in those whole page, newspaper advertisements you have been running since you won the Award.
          It’s more important to tell the world how all of us wear takkies on pay day so we can serve you faster. Well the service I got was takkie and it certainly didn’t involve speedy service because I’m still waiting after nearly three years.
          As I’ve already told you I have been trying to get your bank to stop sending vehicle finance statements and threatening letters of demand for Mr X to our address. This has been going on ever since my wife and I moved into our present house.
          The previous owner was not Mr X and from what I could establish he lived here five or six years ago. Yet in spite of the fact that your bank has been told this repeatedly and has promised to rectify the situation on numerous occasions the letters keep coming.
          My concern is that if judgment is taken against him we could have the Sheriff coming to our house to take our possessions. And I’ve heard of scary stories of what can happen if nobody’s at home to correct a mistake when the Sheriff arrives.

          I thought the problem had been finally solved a few months ago when your Western Cape Regional Director, Johan van Wyk undertook via his PA Corinda Strick, to stop the letters being sent to us. How wrong I was because it seems that this is of such mammoth proportions that one of your directors can’t solve it.



         And it’s even too big for you to handle.         

       The statements keep coming. And immediately after I had emailed you things got uglier than ever.     

          The latest is a letter marked URGENT on the one corner. It threatens him with legal action unless he pays the significant overdue amount. It also said that unless he paid adverse information regarding your payment performance will be reported to the National Credit Bureaux and could affect your ability to obtain credit in future.
          Instead of replying to the email I sent to your personal email address the buck was passed to Yasmin Bhoola, your Manager:  Executive & Escalated Complaints, Office of the Chief Executive.  Some title that.
          Yasmin told me in an email that the bank contacted Mr X and established that he is overseas.  She went on to say that according to the National Credit Act the bank couldn’t change the man’s address without his permission. Yet it contacted him????
          She added, We have been advised that he will be back in the country in April and we will then address the issue with him.

          A spokesperson for the National Credit Regulator told me that in the circumstances the Bank was quite entitled to change the man’s address without his permission. So who is right Jacko?
          And if your bank is No 1 for service why has it taken something like three years for it to come up with this excuse for not changing the address?
          Also if efficiency is the buzz word at Standard wouldn’t you want to have an up to date record of the addresses of people who owe you money. This is especially so if they have a vehicle in which your bank has an interest.
          What’s the point in telling Mr X, in your latest threatening letter, that We would like to remind you of your legal obligation to ensure that your asset remains comprehensively insured at all times if the letter is sent to the wrong address and your bank has been repeatedly told about this?
          Also Jacko hasn’t it occurred to anyone in your bank that it is decidedly odd that the gentleman in this case should not bother to tell you of his new address five years or more after he left the one he gave when he had his car financed by you?
          In recent months I have had reason to send complaints to the personal emails addresses of the Big Bosses of  all South Africa’s major banks, Nedbank, Absa, First National and now Standard. And only one of them, Michael Jordaan at FNB had the courtesy and the good public relations savvy to reply directly to me.

          So I thought you would be interested to know that he holds regular night classes for bank chief executives and other top brass in this sector, but so far the attendance has been depressingly poor.
          Yours hopefully,
          Jon, a Consumer Watchdog you can bank on.

PS. If our address gets much more tainted perhaps we should change it and you can go on sending the bank’s threats to an address where the delinquent Mr X will never see them. And that's exactly what you are still doing nearly two months after I first contacted you.

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