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Carib Cash apologises for misinformation

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dear Claudienne,

I became a Carib Cash customer on June 5, 2017 when I signed a promissory note for a loan of $890,500. I paid off the loan in July 2017 with another loan from a commercial bank in Jamaica.

After closing the loan, I asked Carib Cash representatives about a $20,000 cashback and a refund of $31,600 that was deducted from my salary. After two weeks of discussing the issue with a male agent over the phone, on Monday August 14, 2017 I was told by a female loans supervisor that I would receive the $20,000 cashback and that I would also be refunded the $31,600 deducted from my account as soon as it was sent over to Carib Cash by the Ministry of Education Youth and Information (MOEYI).

When I called Carib Cash on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 and asked if the cheque was ready, a representative told me that it was ready for collection.

On Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 6: 00 am, I left my home in Mandeville and travelled by bus to Kingston. I arrived at the office at approximately 8:30 am. The distance from Mandeville to Kingston is 91.4 km or 1hr and 27 minutes. In total, I travelled 182.8 km.

When I entered the Carib Cash Office on Knutsford Boulevard in New Kingston I told an armed security guard that I was there to collect a cheque. He told me to have a seat.

Later I was called into the office of the loans supervisor to whom I had spoken on August 14, and I was offered a seat. Three other people were in the office, two women and a man. The man was the male agent I had discussed the issue of the refund with over the phone. He shook my hand and said it was nice to finally put a face to the voice.

The loans supervisor who was seated behind a desk proceeded to tell me that she had told me she would call me when the cheque was ready. I then explained to her that on Tuesday August 15, 2017 a female representative of the company told me over the phone that the cheque was ready for collection.

I then proceeded to play a recording of that conversation.

After I played the recording of the conversation, the atmosphere in the office changed from cordial to threatening.

I was bluntly told by the female loans supervisor: “I will lock you up if I find you have any recording of me on that phone.”

I must tell you that I felt like a prisoner when three of her employees encircled me and told me that I could be locked up for an offence which, as far as I know, does not exist in Jamaica's legal framework.

The other people in the office also indicated that the recording was illegal and could warrant imprisonment. My anxiety grew, and I was bewildered by their reaction to my playing of the tape. I also felt humiliated and confused by the suggestion that I could be imprisoned. I wondered if misinformation had caused me to travel to Kingston to be told that I could be locked up for breaching a law that does not exist.

Thereafter, the loans supervisor asked a male and female employee to speak to the representative who had misinformed me about the cheque.

The loans supervisor later told me that the representative, after seeing an indication on the computer that the cheque had been approved, assumed that the cheque was ready for me to collect. She further advised that at the time, the July 2017 deductions for teachers from the Ministry of Education had not yet been lodged to the Carib Cash account, except for Region 2.

I then wrote my banking information and gave it to the loans supervisor and left the office.

I left the Carib Cash office in fear and bewilderment, and immediately called the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to ask whether by recording a conversation between myself and someone else over the telephone, I had breached a law. I was told that since it was not a third party eavesdropping and recording the conversation, but a recording of a conversation between myself and the person, it was not a breach of any law.

I have since been refunded all the money deducted from my salary, and the $ 20,000 cashback that was advertised was also credited to my account.

I have also submitted written complaints to senior managers of Carib Cash in St Lucia, and they have been very responsive, caring, and understanding.

I would appreciate your help in bringing this matter to the attention of the Carib Cash management in Jamaica.

CH

 

Dear CH,

We informed the Carib Cash Jamaica Ltd country manager about your concerns, and we note that she has contacted you and apologised.

The country manager sent the following e-mail to Tell Claudienne:

“We unreservedly apologise to CH for having to experience the incident he described in his letter to you. We also note that, as described by CH himself, his interactions with Carib Cash, except for that one incident, since resolved, have generally been satisfactory, and the response by management to his complaint was responsive, caring and understanding.

“We must make the point that there was no issue with his refund or cashback — a fact also confirmed by CH. As such the nettle of his grievance, at this point, stems from him having to make a trip on miscommunication and the ensuing exchange which occurred between him and an officer he apparently recorded without her knowledge.

“We regret the journey endured to our Knutsford location and are quite prepared to make amends in a matter mutually agreeable to both of us.

“As it relates to the regrettable exchange concerning the previously undisclosed recording, we contend that this action was not necessary in the first place, because there was no dispute then, now or ever, concerning the instant transaction with CH.

Consequently, the reaction of the staff member was understandably surprising, which unfortunately escalated with words being said which do not reflect our policy and which has been adequately addressed internally.

“Consequently, we regret any confinement or fear CH may have felt at the instant time, and we completely understand if he felt he needed some sort of record in case there was a dispute. CH's experience post this event is the treatment we stand for, and we hope in future that all our customers can take for granted that what we promise and advertise are delivered.

“At Carib Cash, as at our related companies around the Caribbean, we strive always to deliver a high standard of service to our growing customer base, and we would be happy to meet again with CH at his convenience, for a general discussion and an exchange of thoughts and ideas as to how we can serve him better.”

We wish you all the best.

 

Have a problem with a store, utility or company? Telephone 936-9436 or write to: Tell Claudienne c/o Sunday Finance, Jamaica Observer, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5;or email:edwardsc@jamaicaobserver.com. Please include a contact phone number.