Bank Blocks Access Card; Leaves Customers in a Limbo

December 12, 2022

Certain customers of a bank were left high and dry after their access cards were blocked without any communication from their bank. Multiple customers of the bank in question were either left embarrassed at the check-out counter when their card declined or were left without any cash after being unable to withdraw at the Automated Teller Machines (ATM).

When the Council initially discovered this issue few weeks ago, the said bank was contacted seeking justification for blocking of cards. The bank had revealed that cards which were issued 10 years ago were being blocked so that a new card can be issued. The cards in question does not have a validity date written on it.

“Upon receiving communication from the bank, the Council took a very clear stance that the bank had the responsibility to inform the customers in advance of the same and provide alternative means to access the account.

They cannot just leave customers high and dry on a whim,” said CCoF Chief Executive Officer Ms Seema Shandil.

Upon the Council’s intervention, the bank had provided assurance that all customers affected would be called and an adequate time provided to make necessary arrangements. “Despite the assurance provided, certain customers faced the same issue over the past few days as bank failed on its promise to proactively inform those affected; even though they have full access to their customers’ emails and phone contacts.

This is a blatant disregard of the bank’s responsibility towards its customers; especially during the current festive season when consumers are out in number shopping and preparing for Christmas,” added Ms Shandil.

The Council has written to the Senior Management team of the bank seeking response and clear operating procedures to address this issue. The matter will also be flagged to relevant enforcement bodies for appropriate action.

Consumers who are facing similar issues are encouraged to contact the Council via the toll-free number 1555 or lodge a complaint using the Consumer Council of Fiji mobile app.