Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mid-Week Madness:When your "Financial Institution is Unavailable", or A Cautionary Tale on Withdrawals

Last night, I almost lost my appetite because of a visit to the Accra mall I had entertained earlier. This was less of a case of a "mauvais quart d'heure"; it was more of a mauvais TWO hours!

I had gone to an ATM to withdraw a substantial amount of money, only to have a message flash across "your financial institution is unavailable". Rather used to this message, I dismissed it and went to another ATM.

To my horror, I had the barest minimum in my account--in other words ZERO money!

Within nano-seconds, I was on the mobile to my branch, who were simply just wasting my time trying to find someone I could make my complaint to.

To cut a long story short, after I had calmed down, I drew from an earlier experience and decided to call ECOBANK's toll-free 24/7 hotline. The lady was so, so sympathetic and calm about the whole thing. She took my details and apologised profusely, promising she would call me as soon as anything came up.

What had happened was that the bank had debited my account, when it displayed that message. This is not something I have not seen before; I should have been better-prepared. I had been withdrawing from this VISA-compatible ATM so many times I assumed everything would be A_ok.

In any event, I called the hotline some two hours later. A guy reassured me this time, explaining why such messages happen. He had good news! The machine had reversed automatically, and my money was back!

Note to self:
  • if you have to use the ATM, always withdraw a manageable minimum if you can, just in case this happens to you

  • keep sufficient, manageable money on you!

  • have your mobile handy 24/7 to call your branch in the event something like this happens

  • if you don't happen to have a 24-7 hotline for your branch, BLOG about it! Pester them! Write to the papers! The banks make enough money on us every nano-second. Why should they deprive you of such a service??

  • I have to say, though: Thankyou, ECOBANK!

    I didn't think I would have to thank them so soon after being pissed off by some of the funny antics of some of their staff!
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