A long wait for pension ends in tears

2011-02-12 10:07

Nedbank will not reimburse a client who lost R39 400 as a result of crime.

This is despite findings by the bank ­indicating that Matshidiso Chere of Tembisa, Ekurhuleni, might in fact have been a victim of fraud.

Suspected criminals allegedly made withdrawals from Chere’s account using an ATM card with a PIN number linked to her.

She claims that she was never issued with any bank card.

“I belong to the old bank-book system. I have never received any bank card.

“All I know is that I worked very hard for my pension money and waited a very long time for the payout. Then somebody decided to steal from me and the bank cannot do anything,” said Chere.

She contacted Hotline after her wrangle with Nedbank over the lump-sum payment that Old Mutual transferred ­into her account in 2003.

Chere said she was declared medically unfit in the 1990s and had never used her account since. Her previous employer said she would be able to get money from her pension fund only on turning 55.

In 2003 she submitted a claim to Old Mutual, as advised, but learned that the money had already been paid out a few months earlier.

Old Mutual provided her with a copy of a letter allegedly sent to her address, advising her of the availability of the money in her old account at NBS, now Nedbank. She said she had never received the letter or the money.

After contacting Hotline, we referred the complaint to Nedbank. Executive general manager for client services Doug Hardie agreed to investigate.

He concluded that the money had been withdrawn over a period of time using the correct PIN linked to Chere.

“Chere may have been a victim of fraud, allegedly by someone known to her,” Hardie said. He advised Chere to lay criminal charges, but she declined.

“Nedbank needs to identify the culprit and there is more they can do in this ­regard,” Chere said.

The Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS) suspects “phantom withdrawals”. Spokesperson Uzile Gugushe said this is when money is withdrawn from an account without a customer ever losing possession of their ATM card or anyone having access to their PIN.

“The best course of action for Chere is to forward her complaint to the OBS.

“We will make a finding on a balance of probabilities as to whether or not the bank was in any way responsible for the fraudulent withdrawals,” said Gugushe.

» Similar disputes can be lodged with the OBS at 086 066 2837.

» The customer must have followed the bank’s complaint handling procedures before approaching the ombudsman for assistance.

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