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Thread: Unauthorised bank debit order

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    Unauthorised bank debit order

    Perhaps someone with some experience in this field can let me know how this works.

    We have had an amount taken off a business account by debit order. It is not for our account, so I have politely asked the bank to reverse the transaction. The bank has charged us R45 for this pleasure and then another R22 to get the details of the recipient of the funds. They then say we must contact them to get the debit order cancelled as it has nothing to do with them but is rather an agreement between us and the recipient.

    This process of contacting the recipient involves 3 different phone calls as we move along the chain. I do have to admit that in each case the phone was answered quickly and the matter dealt with promptly - well at least as far as registering the complaint. We still have to see if it resolved as it takes a few days.

    Now seeing that there are only two authorised signatories on the account, and one is dead and the other had to ask me what the account details were, plus the account and business are practically dormant, and the charge is for a RAF assistance and its a business account not a personal account ..... I am really 99.99999% sure that the debit order was never authorised. The amount is a nominal R99.

    My questions are:

    1) How come we are being charged to rectify a problem that had nothing to do with us?
    2) How can the bank allow just anyone to withdraw funds from our account, other than SARS, the bank itself or an authorised signatory, and then expect us to fix it?
    3) Their standard answer is that it has nothing to do with the bank, but is an agreement between us and the recipient. But what if there is no such agreement? Surely then the bank has been negligent in protecting our funds?
    4) How do I go about pretending to have a debit order agreement with say Vodacom so that I can withdraw a million Rand out of their account and then let them try and speak to my call centre to reverse the transaction?

    (This last one is just me being sarcastic)

    In this case the amount is small, but what happens when this sort of thing happens to someone on minimum wage? How can one expect them to be R67 out of pocket in bank charges through no fault of their own but rather through a fault in the bank and/or the recipient? How can one expect them to find enough money on their phone to deal with 3 call centres? How can one expect them to communicate the problem and resolve it in broken English where concepts of debit orders, authorisations, bank roles, and the chain of debit order agents/wholesalers are certainly anything but clear?

    Should I get off my soap box now?

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    By all means stay on your soap box. Nothing has changed over the years.

    I closed a spendings account (to use the word "savings" would just be wrong in this day and age), 32-day call account and a business account I had with a bank that I had been banking with for years. Reason? Same as yours - I was told that the debit could be reversed (at a cost) but not stopped. I would need to do this directly as with you. This meant that each month I would have to have the debit reversed, in effect costing me more in time and effort than the R30 odd rand I would be saving by reversing it was worth. Eventually the only reasonable thing to do was close the account, and they still saw fit to ask me why...

    I've been with Capitec for several years and have NEVER cracked, or even come close to, the R100.00 mark for bank charges. My business account is with another bank but the day Capitec ventures into this market I'm there!

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    Platinum Member Mike C's Avatar
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    This, to my mind, it tantamount to theft!

    You have put your money into the bank for safekeeping and it has been taken without your consent. Time to make an appointment to see your bank manager and to kick up a fuss as it is unacceptable. (That is if you are allowed to get near to the Bank Manager. In days past they used to know their customers and move around the banking floor. These days they seem to hide away in their offices and are far out of reach to their customers.)

    Got to give credit to Capitec here as well. When I went to open an account the manager personally came and introduced himself to me and had a little chat. Everytime I went into the branch he would greet and have a few words. Have not had that kind of personal attention from a bank for years and years. Sadly he has been transferred now so I have lost that personal touch at that branch, but it was really, really appreciated.
    An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't. - Anatole France

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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    Have you tried the banking ombudsman? See if they can help or at the least give some hints on how to take this further.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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    Have to agree to the way debt orders are used/abused - absolute joke. Quite happy that I do not have a single debt order leaving my account these days - to be fair though, my wife has the car/house insurance on hers. I have now started using stop orders - at least I then have control. Another vote for Capitec - besides the service I also like the fact that their secure internet banking does not use SMS's - which makes it, more, err, secure! I do use one of my accounts for business - which works fine - wish I had done it years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
    This, to my mind, it tantamount to theft!
    Well without trying to be too dramatic about it, I tend to agree.

    Look, I agree that the vast majority of these debit order queries are most likely from people who did not recognise the company name, or who signed something they forgot about, or who did not read the fine print. So the bank tries to side step its responsibility and says that the chances are that this is a private matter which has nothing to do with them.

    Fair enough, but then surely the logical way to deal with the matter is to side with their client. Reverse the payment, prevent the recipient from transacting on the account ever again until approval given by the account holder, and let the client and the recipient slug it out away from the bank. Dammit, who is the client? Only a court order should change this.

    If the consumer cannot remember the agreement, does not recognise the recipient's company name, or was tricked into the deal without knowing the full facts, then it should be the bank's job to protect their client and their funds. Not the other way round.

    These are petty hassles to someone like me, but to a minimum wage earner they must be soul destroying. So much for trying for equality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
    You have put your money into the bank for safekeeping and it has been taken without your consent. Time to make an appointment to see your bank manager and to kick up a fuss as it is unacceptable.
    Well it took them an hour to see the director so that they could give him a telephone number of their business banking call center, who then gave us another number who then ... you get the picture.

    I am not a signatory on the account so the "Relationship" Manager (sorry that gives me the giggles whenever I see it), won't give me the time of day and the Director is too much of a nice guy.

    As I've already said, this is just annoying for me and not worth an afternoon at the bank .... but the fact that it can happen to someone with much fewer resources, well that bordering on evil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanF View Post
    Have you tried the banking ombudsman? See if they can help or at the least give some hints on how to take this further.
    Way too early for that. They are giving us routes to follow to resolve it, and it may all end up being resolved. Its a real mission though. My issue is more with the nature of the debit order concept. It seems reckless to me. The ombudsman may give me back my R99, but he is unlikely to instruct the banking industry to remove debit orders from common practice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pap_sak View Post
    Have to agree to the way debt orders are used/abused - absolute joke. Quite happy that I do not have a single debt order leaving my account these days -
    Don't get too happy. Remember that is the case with the example in the OP. No debit orders. One signatory is dead and the other had to ask me what the account number was. Yet they have still managed to withdraw funds using the debit order system.

    I really would like someone in the industry to explain how this is acceptable practice.

  9. #9
    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    I use FNB and have found that PR team are very responsive on social media and emails.
    I don't even remember who my relationship manager is!
    Look for RB Jacobs on Twitter and Facebook.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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