Bank par­tially re­im­burses client af­ter hack­ers strike

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Michael C (Sur­name with­held)

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I am a life­long cus­tomer of one of the ma­jor banks. To­wards the end of last year, my on­line bank­ing ac­counts were hacked and a large sum of money was fraud­u­lently with­drawn from them.

I re­ported this to the fraud depart­ment of the bank as soon as I found out.

They said they would in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ter and should have a re­sult in four to six weeks’ time.

Af­ter just over four weeks, about a third of the amount was re­cov­ered and re­turned to me.

Af­ter a de­lay, over the yearend hol­i­days, I was ad­vised ver­bally by a mem­ber of their staff that they couldn’t re­fund the full amount but would “split the dif­fer­ence 50:50”.

I ad­vised them that this was not sat­is­fac­tory as I had en­trusted my money to their safe­keep­ing and, as a ma­jor bank, one as­sumed that the money was safe.

They re­sponded by for­ward­ing me an ex gra­tia set­tle­ment of­fer of just slightly more than 50% of the dif­fer­ence. No ex­pla­na­tion was given why the full amount would not be re­funded.

How­ever, the of­fer was sub­ject to me keep­ing it strictly con­fi­den­tial. In the event of my breach­ing this con­fi­dence, they re­served the right to seek re­pay­ment of the amount to­gether with in­ter­est and any as­so­ci­ated le­gal costs.

I still wasn’t happy with this and was ad­vised that I could ap­peal to the bank’s in­ter­nal om­buds­man, which I did.

In the mean­time, I was pay­ing in­ter­est to the bank on the amount fraud­u­lently with­drawn as the fraud­sters had ac­cessed my hous­ing loan and over­draft fa­cil­i­ties.

When I asked why I was not be­ing fully re­funded, they ex­plained that I was a “vic­tim of crime”!

They sub­se­quently ad­vised me that the bank had not changed its de­ci­sion as “the loss was not caused due to any neg­li­gence by the bank”.

I went back to them and asked them to ad­vise me whose neg­li­gence it was as I cer­tainly had not dis­closed my pass­word or PIN to any­body.

As a ma­jor bank, with all the qual­i­fied staff and so­phis­ti­cated sys­tems at their dis­posal, they should have been able to de­ter­mine how the fraud­sters were able to ac­cess my bank ac­counts.

I have had no re­sponse to my e-mail dated March 11, 2017, de­spite send­ing a re­minder.

I have de­lib­er­ately not pro­vided in­for­ma­tion which could iden­tify me or the bank as I am afraid they will try and re­cover the amount al­ready paid to me.

In terms of the set­tle­ment agree­ment, they were obliged to pay me within x busi­ness days. They didn’t com­ply with this con­di­tion and ef­fected pay­ment two busi­ness days later.

I’m un­sure whether their breach­ing the pay­ment pe­riod en­ti­tles me to breach the con­fi­den­tial­ity con­di­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, the bank has the re­sources to fight a le­gal bat­tle, which I do not. Ge­orgie: I would take this up with the of­fice of the new Bank­ing Om­buds­man, Reana Steyn.

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