CAFON Set To Drag GTB To Court; Over Unfair ATM Clause


A non government organisation, Consumer Advocacy Forum of Nigerian (CAFON) has threatened to drag Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) to court if the bank does not change the unfair liability clause on its Automated Teller Machine (ATM) form.

In a letter signed by the NGO’s coordinator, Ms Shola Salako and addressed to the customer care department of the bank, CAFON is asking Guaranty Trust Bank to expunge the clause on its ATM form which absolves it of any form of liability in the event of an unauthorised access to its customer account.

A copy of the letter was also forwarded to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The letter titled: Objection To A Liability Clause In Your ATM Release Form, which was made available to Consumers’ Advocate reads:

“It has come to our notice that Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) has included a clause in its ATM/PIN release form which absolves the bank from any liability arising from unauthorised access to a consumer’s account.”

“While we note the need for some responsibility on the consumers’ part, the clause in question is highly biased, grossly unfair and a violation of the consumer’s right to reasonable protection in the sales contract”

“The said clause transfers the onus of responsibility solely to the consumer in the event of unauthorised access to his/her account without taking into consideration the possibility that the compromise could have come from the bank’s structures”

“With this clause, the balance in the contractual relationship between the bank and its consumer is unfairly tilted in the bank’s favour”

“Nothing in the said declaration which the consumer is mandated to sign protects the consumer from any breach of contract which may arise from the bank’s system negligence,” CAFON added.

Advising that the bank should immediately review the clause to include protection for customers when unauthorized access is due to comprise on the part of the bank, CAFON said: “We recommend that the clause should read thus: “I undertake absolute responsibility for safeguarding my card and PIN and relieve the bank from any liability arising from unauthorised access to my account that is proven to be from my negligence.”

The NGO said it believes this will correct the obvious imbalance in liability and ensure all parties have a sense of responsibility in the ATM sales contract.

In view of the potential hazard the form in its current state constitutes to the consumer, the CAFON demanded that the clause be withdrawn and corrected within 7days from, November 19, 2010 failure for which it will seek legal intervention to compel GTB to comply with its responsibility to its consumers.

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