Where is your chequebook right now? Maybe in a drawer somewhere, or in a glove compartment, but do you know where every leaf is? I was the victim of cheque fraud last week; the thief stole nearly all the money in my account.
The actual fraud is a police matter, so I won’t comment on it but I was struck by the reaction of Banque de Kigali towards the matter; they claimed that I bore full responsibility for the fraud as they did their best to avert it but this was not apparently the case.
What I found was damning, considering BK is trying to modernise.
The customer-service personnel were callous and unsympathetic to me as a customer, instead they were focussed on deflecting any possible blame from themselves – they showed poor judgement and insensitivity in how they handled the situation, even laughing at me; how can a bank laugh at a customer who has lost money?
The customer service manager sits like king, as he dishes out favours that people are entitled to; he exists to protect the bank and not the customers.
There were no means to start the legal process, not even a form to fill in, after I informed them of the theft, they only photocopied the cheque and sent me on my way.
There was a crime committed with their complicity, either knowingly or not but the bank was party to a crime.
There should be measures to instantly report a crime from the crime scene itself, police should be informed by the bank, by law.
The main evidence of the crime was tainted; the cheque passed through so many dirty hands of bank officials trying to examine the fake cheque, in the process any fingerprints were destroyed. It took 2 hours just to find and certify the cheque; the computer system was redundant, merely for display.
And BK still relies on paperwork as their main record keeping system.
The customer service personnel lied to me in telling me that the bank is not liable for any fraud committed against customers.
The Prosecutor-General’s office informed me that BK is in fact liable to pay me back in full the amount stolen from me. The PG’s office informed me that that BK are insured against fraud and should refund me while the investigation is ongoing, otherwise BK could claim back my money without my knowledge.
And as this investigation can take up to a year, it is not fair for me to bear the brunt of the fraud committed because of the negligence of the bank.
I call on my fellow readers, who have similar stories, to stop being silent.
I felt betrayed by BK who failed me in my hour of need; mere sympathy towards the customer can go a long way.
Let us get a consumer rights movement going because this is the only way dinosaurs like BK will wake up from their slumber.
The author is a regular columnist