N2m failed transactions: Customers beat up Interswitch agent
A registered agent with Interswitch Financial Inclusion Services, Oyebanjo Olufemi, has cried out that his life is being threatened by angry customers whom he owed various sums of money.
Olufemi claimed that the funds were with Interswitch, adding that efforts to get the money out had been abortive.
The 43-year-old made available to PUNCH Metro pictures showing the scars of the beating he received from the customers, including some military officers who could not withdraw their N50,000.
Our correspondent gathered that Olufemi operated a Quickteller Paypoint shop in the Sagamu area of Ogun State.
The Ikorodu, Lagos State indigene, who reportedly started the business in January 2018, ran into a crisis when the Point of Sale terminal he allegedly bought from Interswitch started malfunctioning.
According to Olufemi, the terminal usually debited customers’ accounts without remitting the money into his account.
He said, “The usual thing is that when a customer inserts his ATM card into the terminal, the amount the person wants to withdraw is indicated. While Interswitch debits the customer’s account, I get the value in my wallet. I then give the customer cash.
“I started having problems in March. I discovered that when customers use the PoS, their accounts are debited; the money is, however, not remitted into my wallet. But I have to pay the customers cash because I am the one they can see; they don’t know the company.
“What I was doing then was to complain to the company so that the money could be reverted to my wallet. I compiled the list of the issues and took them to their head office on Victoria Island.
“Initially, they were resolving about 80 per cent of the errors until in June when the problem escalated, and I was advised to stop coming to their headquarters that I should send emails.”
The father of three said anytime he sent emails, he got automated responses from Interswitch, adding that the errors were not corrected.
He said things took a turn for the worse from July to September, as the problem became daily and he had to pay customers with his personal money.
Olufemi added, “It was at that time that I noticed that the company started giving out loans to the public. My first reaction was that they were using customers’ money. I called their representative to complain and he said it was not true and what was happening to me was not intentional.
“How can it not be intentional when they have sent many people out of business? I am not the only one. I don’t have any money again. All I raised for this business was borrowed from microfinance banks and they are on my neck.
“The customers are also after me. Military men attached to the OP MESA outfit beat me up on September 13, because one of them used the PoS and they deducted N50,000 from his account but I could not pay him, because it did not reflect in my wallet. I told him to allow me to sort it out with the company, but he descended on me.
“About a week after, another customer beat me up and tore my clothes because I could not pay him. I sent the photos of these attacks to Interswitch and they only apologised and promised to get back to me without doing anything.”
PUNCH Metro learnt that Olufemi’s lawyer, Quadri Abojukoro, wrote the company, demanding a refund of his client’s money.
Abojukoro, in the letter to the managing director of Interswitch, dated October 8, said aside from the frequent attacks on his client, he had lost his reputation as people had tagged him a fraudster.
“Take further notice that you are hereby advised to refund our client within seven days from the service of this notice on you the sum of N2,121,626, being all the money fraudulently deducted from his account for various unsuccessful Interswitch transactions from March to early October, 2018,” he added.
Our correspondent learnt that the company, in its response, pleaded for time to resolve the issues.
Olufemi said he had earlier been warned against doing the business.
He lamented, “With this experience, I don’t think I want to continue business with them. I cannot believe I will experience this because I made money for them in Sagamu and they testified to it. They were so impressed with my work that they promised to talk to their managing director and recommend me for overseas travels and loans.
“While I do not care that I did not get any of that, I am saddened that they have taken everything from me. I am suffering. I owe a lot of people. I cannot pay my children’s school fees and my landlord is after me. My phone is perpetually switched off. If I turn it on now and it rings, it will be customers that I owe money.”
To proof his point, Olufemi turned on his phone while talking to PUNCH Metro and a new message came in, which read, “Sir, people are here to destroy something pertaining to their money. I tried to contact you, but your number was not going through. Please tell us what to do; OP MESSA was here too waiting for you.”
The victim, who shared other threat messages with our correspondent, said he was afraid for his life.
“If I do not receive the alert in two hours, I cannot guarantee what will happen next,” one of the messages stated.
“I am coming to your shop today. If I do not see (get) my money…it is not going to be easy for both of us, because I will do something crazy,” the second message read.
The Sales Supervisor of Interswitch in Ogun State, Oladapo Adeleye, said he was aware of the issues and had been involved in attempts to resolve them.
He, however, said he could not comment further.
The Manager, Content and Channel Engagement, Mediacraft Associates, the agency managing Interswitch, Amina Omoike, assured our correspondent that the company would address the issues.
In a statement later sent to our correspondent through Omoike, Interswitch said the issues would be resolved within the next 14 days.
The statement read, “We are aware of the issues raised by Mr Oyebanjo Olufemi, one of our agents based in Ogun State, and our financial inclusion services team has been in touch with him over the course of the last few weeks. The development arose due to some reconciliation issues relating to transactions pre-dating September 13, 2018.
“The investigation/reconciliation regarding these transactions is being given urgent attention required and we are confident a resolution will be reached within the next 14 days. We are making concerted efforts towards ensuring that Mr Oyebanjo’s reported issues are satisfactorily resolved.” Punch