The complaint related to fees charged on the complainant’s home loan account. The Bank advised that the fees related to amounts deposited into the account by the complainant at an ATM. The complainant argued that the Bank’s pricing guide only states that fees will be charged on the account when payments are made at a branch and that the funds were deposited at an ATM and not a branch.
When obtaining a home loan from the Bank, the customer enters into a credit agreement with the Bank. By signing such an agreement, it is agreed that the customer understands the terms and conditions and is bound by them, including the fees applicable to the account. The relationship between the Bank and customer is therefore purely contractual in nature. This Office subsequently requested the Home Loan Agreement and Pricing Guide applicable to the complainant’s account. It was noted that the Pricing Guide stated that:
“we charge a cash deposit fee for any cash deposit into your home loan account at a branch”.
It was noted that the Pricing Guide indeed stated that a transactional fee would be charged on the account if the accountholder deposits funds into the account at a branch. In this instance, the complainant advised that the deposits were made at an ATM, which was not at a branch. The Bank submitted that the deposits were cash deposits made at an ATM and the fee was therefore applicable.
Our Office submitted to the Bank that the Pricing Guide appears to be vague and/or misleading as it states that the cash deposit fee will be charged if deposits are made into the account “at a branch”. In this instance, the deposits were made at an ATM, which was not located at any of the Bank’s branches.
The Bank subsequently agreed to reverse all cash deposit fees charged to the account and the matter was referred to the Bank’s Home Loans department to amend the wording of the Pricing Guide.
Principle: The relationship between the Bank and customer is purely contractual in nature. As such the agreements entered into with the Bank, as well as the applicable Pricing Guides, need to clearly stipulate the terms and conditions and cannot be vague or misleading.