Absa clients fuming over double charge

Absa. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Absa. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town - Frustrated Absa clients are demanding answers from the bank after being charged twice for a single transaction on their debit and credit cards.

However, while the bank is aware of the matter it was unable to tell Fin24 the cause of the problem or how many customers were affected.

Fin24 user Carter Brown wrote to Fin24, complaining over a purchase on his Absa debit card which was duplicated on August 9.

"I tried contacting them and was met with an automated voice response, stating they are aware of all duplications and all clients affected should check their statements in five working days to see if the transaction has been reversed."

He said although he wanted to talk to a person, it seemed like no agents were on hand to take his call.

Brown said he found himself in a bind when he wanted to make a purchase for work purposes. "Due to my account being double debited, I had to use my credit card."

However, this payment too went off twice on his credit card.

He tried in vain to call and email Absa.

'This is absolutely disgusting'

"Surely when a bank makes a mistake or has a technical glitch, I should not be the one to suffer? This is my own money which Absa will only refund in five working days - this is absolutely disgusting," said Brown.

"I am left with hardly any money to go about my life and Absa appears to just not care one bit."

Another Fin24 user, who wanted to remain anonymous, emailed that Absa has been double-debiting people and "then being very unhelpful about acknowledging the problem or giving people their money back".

This user made a purchase for a significant amount, also on August 9.

"Looking at my SMS from Absa, I noticed the amount had gone off twice. I went to the bank the next morning and they assured me it would be reversed and the amount would be put back into my account. It's Friday today and nothing has been done."

In response to Fin24's queries Absa said it was aware of the issue that has affected some of their card clients this week. "We are attending to the matter with the utmost urgency and apologise to our customers for the inconvenience caused," an Absa spokesperson said.

The bank encouraged affected customers to contact 08600 08600 to report issues and request assistance with resolution of the incident.

Multiple complaints have also been reported on consumer website Hello Peter.

On Friday a user wrote: "When I swiped my card at an outlet this week, I was charged twice for one transaction (and) now my account has a shortage of money that was not supposed to be deducted."

The client then went to a branch and was told to wait for two days to be refunded. "This is frustrating as an amount of R1 300 was erroneously deducted from my account and they can't see that on the statement."

Another user wrote on Friday: "Every time I swipe my card when purchasing, my account get double deducted."

'Poor service at the bank'

This client  decided to visit the bank's branch in Southgate mall to get clarity, but was met by a "rude" consultant.

"I left without help because my statement was not printing or showing the recent transactions. I'm afraid to even use my card."

Another disgruntled client said he topped up petrol on Wednesday for R400 and was charged twice.

He said he sent an email to the bank notifying them of the problem, but received no response. "This is disgusting, as I am now stuck."

He complained that the money deducted from his account was his last bit of cash before his next payday on Monday.

"What am I expected to do now? This is really pathetic."

The bank's standard response to Hello Peter users is that it will investigate the matter and furnish feedback once the complaint has been resolved.

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