The Consumer Support Office recorded 131 complaints in 2010. Those complaints are distributed among the following sectors: banking sector (128) and insurance sector (3). Quantitatively, there were 48 more complaints than in 2009, which represents a 57.8% increase. The banking sector continues to lead the way in terms of the number of complaints, with 98% of all entries recorded, 50 more than in 2009, which corresponds to a relative increase of 64.1%. The complaints continue to be about: prices; delay and quality of customer service; blocking of accounts; breach of duty to provide information; incidents involving checks; incidents involving cards (VISA and Vinti4); improper handling of accounts and withdrawals of depositors' balances. Improper handling of accounts caused three major banks to undergo inspections. About 20 such cases were analyzed, resulting in the return or recovery of more than 2,700,000 escudos to customers with complaints at one credit institution alone, representing a recovery of about 80% of the overall amount claimed in complaints.
Summary of the Consumer Support Office’s Report for 2009
Ninety percent (90%) of complaints from customers of the banking system are not answered by commercial banks, which, in most cases, simply ignore them. This is one of the main conclusions of the 2009 activity report prepared by Banco de Cabo Verde’s (BCV) Consumer Support Office which was analyzed by BCV’s Board of Directors. According to the report, the Consumer Support Office received a total of 83 complaints in 2009, distributed among the banking, insurance and securities market sectors.
The complaints have to do with prices (including interest rates, commissions and other expenses, and their changes), delay in providing service (including situations involving excessive waiting times, delay in opening agencies or serving customers, closing agencies before the advertised time, delay or failure to respond to requests and demands of customers/consumers), blocking of accounts (which includes charging monthly payments for housing or consumption loans in advance, or blocking the amount before the maturity date), breach of duty to provide information (handling accounts and debts without any previous or subsequent information), incidents involving checks (including situations involving refusing payment on checks presented for this purpose, double charging due to lack or insufficiency of funds, and termination of check agreements), incidents involving cards (including situations where machines do not supply money withdrawn and still charge the account, violation of the deadline and mode of payment agreement).
The Consumer Support Office’s report indicates that it was able to work with commercial banks to positively resolve the most serious and complex complaints, with direct results and effects in the sphere of interests of customers/consumers.
The Board of Directors issued important recommendations in order to ensure application of existing standards and promote the development of the legal and regulatory framework governing the activities of financial institutions in their relationship with customers.
The Board of Directors identified a need to review the regulation regarding the Consumer Support Office, namely to provide it with more human and material resources so as to increase its performance.