By Malikhanye Mankayi
Andy Soper of Makhanda has endured six months of badgering by lawyers after a major bank lost one of his payments and then handed him over to attorneys, claiming he never made the payment to begin with.
The 77-year-old Soper paid a debit order early in December last year. But the major bank, which he has asked not to be named, handed him over to attorneys a month later, saying they had no record of his payment. For two months, Soper visited the branch in Makhanda regularly with proof of his payment but was never allowed to see a manager.
“They wanted me to sit in the branch all day and wait. My health would not allow it”, he told Grocott’s Mail. He eventually spoke to the branch manager of the bank on the phone who said he would investigate, but who then never called Soper back.
Soper became extremely stressed. “I was being bombarded by emails and phone calls from debt consolidation agencies and lawyers”, he said. The bank also ignored his records showing he had never missed a payment. “I spent R200 on airtime trying to solve this,” said the pensioner who works as a part-time tutor.
After Grocott’s Mail intervened, approaching the bank’s head office, the bank finally admitted that it had lost Soper’s payment back in December. “We have reversed this, refunded the attorney costs, and will process a goodwill gesture,” said the bank’s spokesperson.
Soper said he was grateful the newspaper had been able to assist him. He believed someone made a mistake and the bank then covered this up, but said he did not want anyone to get punished, and only for the bank to correct their mistake. He added that “The bank manager never apologised, but only acknowledged that there had been an error”, he said.
The bank’s spokesperson said: “We acknowledge that the client’s complaint was not attended to and resolved timeously when he first raised the issue with our branch. We have taken up this matter with the branch and it has been addressed. We apologise once again for the inconvenience”.