Recovering Excess Bank Charges in Nigeria
The economic situation in Nigeria has forced Banks and most businesses to adopt survival strategies. For some of the Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria, all is fair in war. They have no morals in passing not only unauthorized charges, excess charges, illegal charges, spurious charges into their customers account all in a bid to boost their revenue making profile.
To confirm this position, the Central Bank of Nigeria in a News Report published by Vanguard Newspapers on February 20, 2016 declares in a Press Release titled “Alleged Excess, Illegal Charges by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs)” signed by its Director, Corporate Communication Department, CBN, Alhaji Ibrahim Muazu. “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has received series of complaints from customers of Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) alleging excessive and in some cases illegal charges from their respective banks.
“The Revised Guide to Bank Charges clearly specifies allowable charges for all banking services and the CBN does not in any way condone the fleecing of banking customers under any guise.
“It was in the quest to provide a strong voice to banks’ customers and moderate the arbitrary charges that the CBN in 2012, established its Consumer Protection Department. For the avoidance of doubt, the CBN has investigated over 6000 complaints relating to unauthorized bank charges brought to its notice, following which banks have been compelled to refund the sum of over N6.2 billion to affected customers in 2015 alone.
“The CBN wishes to reiterate its resolve to continuously enforce the provision of the Revised Guide to Bank Charges and urges members of the public to report cases of infringement to enable it investigate and apply sanctions on any erring Deposit Money Bank (DMB).
“Bank Customers are reminded to always forward there complaints to: Director, Consumer Protection Department; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have incurred excessive overdraft charges or other bank fees, there’s a chance you could get a refund or come to an arrangement with your bank, especially if you’re in financial hardship. Start by talking directly to your bank. If that doesn’t work, you may be able to get free help.
So you see if your bank has passed excess overdraft charges, fees etc, there is great possibility that you can get a refund from your bank if you can establish it.
What to do
- Know the period within which to make your claim
Our present laws gives 6years as the maximum length of time to bring a claim on an alleged tort. Specifically, Section 7(4) of the Limitation Act 1966, declares that an action founded on tort shall not be brought after the expiration of six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued. The provision of the limitation law is stringent. Indeed, a limitation law is strict liability law.
This means that Court Action when they become necessary to recover debts, arrears of interests, excess or illegal bank charges, spurious charges, tortuous malfeasance, damages for negligence or breach of a duty of care, account wrongly stated must be started within a period of six(6) years of the occurrence of the injury, loss, damage that may have occurred.
- Communicate with your Bank, Write a Complaint
Start to hold conversation with your bank, write to the bank requesting for the refund. State what you were charged with analysis and what the Bank should have charged, include any agreements, offer letter, CBN Guide to Bank Charges, Circular etc to buttress your claims.Hhopefully the banks internal audit or internal control unit will review your claims and confirm it. The Banks may immediately do a refund.
- Bank Response
Thank God, your bank agrees to refund the excess bank charges but if they fail to do so, thank them and take your next steps, contact the Central Bank of Nigeria and others.
- Forward your Complaint to Central Bank of Nigeria
Should your bank fail to satisfy you with a resolution of the issues regarding the excess bank charges, write to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Consumer Protection Department. The department will mediate between you and the Bank, in most cases, settlement are reached.
However, an amicable resolution fail, complaints can be made to Nigeria’s Consumer Protection Council, The Lagos Multi-Door Court House and other Arbitration entities in Nigeria. Should all attempt to settle fail, you can proceed to the High Court to compel your bank to remedy the loss to your finances.
You stand a great chance to recover excess bank charges from your bank today and in good time as the Statute of Limitation may prevent you from doing so at a much later date.
Talk to a Certified Forensic Accountant today with vast experience in helping customers solve their complex excess bank charges now.