Tanzania: Banks fail to comply with BoT’s customer charter

Financial institutions have failed to fully comply with regulator’s customer charter to put sign of how they should channel complaints to Bank of Tanzania special desk.

The circular, which was endorsed by Tanzania Bankers’ Association (TBA), directs all financial institutions to put a sign conspicuously at the bank hall. 

BoT, Litigation, Investigation and Complaint Desk, Assistant Manager, Mr Ganga Mlipano, said almost all of the banks failed to honour the directive.

“We will carry a spot check and those who will be found to have not complied with the circular will be put to task,” Mr Mlipano said without mentioning the inspection date.

The sign is supposed to direct customers on how to channel their complaints if they are not satisfied with the service provided, feel to have been mishandled, discover to have been overcharged or their account unnecessary deducted.

The Complaint Desk launched last April has received 54 complaints but those admitted were 19 which all were resolved in favour of customers. “In most cases nature of the complaints is based on ATMs.

These mainly centred on failed withdrawal and the fund are deducted,” Mr Mlipano said. TBA members adopted the code of banking practice in 2014 that recognises the mandate of the Desk to resolve consumer complaints.

The financial institutions also are supposed to have a customer care unit that will handle the clients’ complaints while educating them on service provided.

The Complaint Desk at the Central Bank was established after it was seen that customers were not satisfied on how their complaints were handled either through the courts of law or via internal mechanisms.

BoT, as the sector regulator of financial institutions, realised the need for creating a fair playing field among the stakeholders -- consumers and bankers -- and established a Complaints Resolution Desk.

“The desk intends to resolve complaints (small claims) whose monetary value in respect of both the claim amount and remedy to be awarded does not exceed 15m/,” Mr Mlipano said. “Before lodging your complaint with the Desk,” Mr Mlipano said, “you are required to exhaust your bank internal complaints resolution mechanism”.

According to the guidelines of the desk, each banking institution has put in place a complaint resolution mechanism capable of efficiently and promptly resolving complaints. “Resolution of banking consumers’ complaints is free of charge as the desk does not charge any fee whatsoever,” the assistant director said.

Once a complaint is filed at the desk, the bank in question will be notified and required to respond to the claim within 10 working days. If the bank failed the desk will send a reminder of 5 working days.

The desk will deliver its decision on the matter within 90 days from the date of lodging the complaints. The Desk is not bound by the legal principles of handling complaints such as rules of evidence but adheres to the general principles of natural justice. The function performed by the Desk is different from that performed by courts.
Source: Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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