Equity Bank must be deriving pleasure from punishing Equitel customers
In November 2015 I wrote an article titled You are doomed if you lose your Equitel line at Kachwanya.com, an article that led Equity Bank to invite me for a meeting at their headquarters to explain the steps they were taking to address some of the issues raised in the article – including issues about the sufferings Equitel customers must go through when they lose their Equitel lines.
In May 2016 I had to again renew my Equitel line but this time I didn’t do it in my Nairobi branch but in Meru. The process was simpler. Other than the requirement that my application form had to be countersigned by the branch manager, there was no need for the two/three queues that I was subjected to at Kimathi branch Nairobi. And instead of waiting for over two hours in order to get my SIM card replaced, the waiting period was less than 10 minutes. I was happy, not just as one of the faithful and loyal Equitel customers, but as someone whose recommendations had been taken seriously.
Then last month happened. Bad luck upon back luck followed me wherever I went, and part of the bad luck was losing my Equitel line one more time. This didn’t worry me though as I knew that the process of acquiring the replacement card had been made 92% easier. I was wrong.
I walked to Equity Bank in Nakuru, asked for replacement, they gave me a form, and asked me to join the snake winding queue in order to deposit shs 100 in their equitel account.
“I thought you guys had done away with that nonsense?” I protested.
“What nonsense?” The customer service representative asked.
“I have money in my account. Why should I line up, withdraw cash, and deposit it to an Equitel account? Why can’t you deduct it directly from my account?”
“That’s impossible”, he explained. “Equitel account is independent of Equity Bank”.
I didn’t want to argue further with someone who has zero input when it comes to policy formulation so I walked out of the bank never to return again.
Today I hear that Equitel has grown in number and mobile money penetration. That the loans through Equitel are being offered as per the Banking Act and that several businesses are accepting Equitel Pay, but all these benefits cannot be experienced by me as I would rather forgo experiencing them than be tortured for more than two hours simply because through bad luck I lost my Equitel line.
Whatever Equity Bank is smoking, they should stop asking Equitel customers to pay shs 100 in a separate Equitel Account but have the amount automatically deducted from the customer’s bank account. If the customer has no money in the bank account, they can ask the customer to top up the account – a process that can easily be done using MPESA.