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129 Complaints Against Banks: Are Consumers Being Taken Advantage Of?



129 Complaints Against Banks: Are Consumers Being Taken Advantage Of?
Image source: Defi Media

From July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023, 129 complaints were filed against various banks with the Ombudsperson for Financial Services. The issues discussed include service quality, exorbitant bank fees, and excessive interest rates.

Jayen Chellum of Acim believes commercial banks make huge profits, while Siv Potayya agrees these profits are unjust. The former Governor of the BoM had initiated a discussion on bank fees in 2014, but there was no follow-up.

The Ombudsperson Act originally required clients to waive their right to legal recourse, but this clause was removed. Jayen Chellum criticizes the minimal intervention of the BoM in regulating banks. Siv Potayya is perplexed by the Central Bank’s reluctance to issue directives on bank fees.

They both call for the adoption of a consumer code similar to that in France. Concerns are raised about commercial banks potentially operating as a cartel within the Mauritius Bankers Association.

Siv Potayya highlights the fees merchants must pay for card transactions, leading to potential price increases for consumers. Fraud through internet banking and mobile apps is becoming more common due to lack of focus on security by banks. Some consumers still prefer bank books to track transactions, as technological solutions may not suit everyone.

The slow services in bank branches and lack of information on services are also being criticised by consumers. An English tourist in Mauritius reportedly faced difficulties withdrawing money with her VISA card at a bank ATM.

The BoM and MBA were not available for comment during discussions on financial issues on Radio Plus. Commercial banks in Mauritius have high interest rates on loans, but low rates on savings accounts, leading to significant discrepancies.

The documents signed between clients and banks are considered complex, with technical terms unfamiliar to most clients. Siv Potayya criticizes the lack of information provided by banks about interest rates on cards.

Jayen Chellum mentions excessive fees for money transfers, automatic deductions, and penalties for maintaining minimum balances in bank accounts. Commercial banks face criticism for fees added to transfers to government entities like the MRA, CWA, and CEB.

Source: Defi Media

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