1. Thursday afternoon I got an sms from Standard Bank saying R7220 odd had been withdrawn from my account and my balance was 0 (zero). I thought it was odd and I went online to have a look at what I was sure was a mistake sms.
2. Nope. It was true. Every last cent that was in the account was gone, and the account was closed.
3. I called the help line. I was told that I needed to go to my branch because I wasn’t fica’ed and that’s why the account had been closed. No idea why (or where) my money had gone. We got cut off.
4. I called again. This time I was told, after speaking to two separate people, that my account was closed because it was inactive (I used it last week) and/or my bond was paid up (it isn’t). I was told someone would call me back. They didn’t.
5. Yesterday morning I called again. I was told the same fica story and that I needed to go into a branch.
6. Started tweeting about my pain the night before and got my first response as I was driving to the bank.
7. My ordeal in the branch lasted from 9.35am to 11.45am. This is what happened in those two hours and ten minutes.
8. I was told my account had been irreversibly closed because my fica stuff was not up to date. The fact that I had never been called, messaged, emailed or even snail mailed about this was entirely overlooked. An interesting note is that my message box on my phone is filled with many, random and useless smses from Standard Wank, telling me I had logged on, telling me about their products, telling me about their technical difficulties. It’s not like they don’t have my number or details. Wait! Doesn’t that actually mean that I am fully up to date with my fica stuff?
9. I was told that my account had been blocked since March, but I was never informed and my account was still active and being used. It is an account that has debit orders going off for my home loan and home insurance.
10. I was instructed (coerced) to open a new account so that when they found the money and honoured the ‘request’ for a refund there was an account to put it into.
11. Then I decided to change the debit order for the insurance to my Nedbank account. I was able to do that telephonically.
12. Then the social media guy phoned me, but he couldn’t call the consultant because SHE CAN’T RECEIVE CALLS.
13. Then the story of my debit order for my Standard Bank home loan. Get this. I basically need to REDO all the paperwork and have them co-signed with Big Friendly, because the debit order was set up on the account that was closed. Yes. Standard Bank closed the account and now I have no debit order for my home loan and, guess what? It is my problem. Probably, this was the moment where I completely lost my shit.
14. Then we had to write a letter to ask for my money back. Have you flippen ever?
15. Then I left the bank with the assurance that Julia would call me the minute something happened.
16. Then I decided to call the complaint line. 5 business days to manage my complaint about the closing of the account. 8 business days to get feedback on my debit order for my home loan. I lost more shit.
17. Then I decided to call the consumer protection office. They said I needed to talk to the banking ombudsman.
18. I phoned them. The pre-recorded message said I could only lodge a complaint 20 days after lodging a complaint with the bank.
19. Then I quietly lost my shit again and went berserk on twitter again.
20. Then late yesterday afternoon I got a call from Julia at the branch. She had managed to get hold of the department that had agreed to pay me back but it would take 48 hours, but there was a long weekend coming so I would only see it in my account probably on Tuesday.
Does anyone know if this is vaguely legal? I am utterly convinced that I have been defrauded by the bank. Anyone have any good ideas about what I can do, practically, to get some satisfaction and/or revenge?
PS. When I was regaling all who would listen, before a show we were seeing last night, a friend called them Standard Blank. I thought it was less rude and more appropriate than my Standard Wank.