Prudential again accused with unauthorised money deduction

12:00 | 26/05/2018
Prudential, the British multinational life insurance and financial service company, may once again face trouble after some of its policyholders in Singapore encountered erroneous deductions from their bank accounts. Two years ago, Prudential Vietnam Finance Company was accused for a similar transgression.
prudential again accused with unauthorised money deduction
Prudential may have once again deducted money from its clients' bank accounts by error. Photo: baomoi.com.vn

According to channelnewasia.com, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) confirmed on May 24 that some policyholders of Prudential have encountered erroneous deductions from their bank accounts.

On Thursday, multiple customers approached Channel NewsAsia and took to social media to complain about "unauthorised fund transfers" and deductions of 100 times their premium from their bank accounts.

“Customer accounts of multiple banks were affected. This was not a cyberattack, but an operational lapse,” said MAS in a media release.

Channelnewasia.com also quotes Huang, a Prudential policyholder, that she was notified of an unauthorised fund transfer of more than S$50,000 ($37,271) from her HSBC bank account at about 3.45 PM on May 24.

When Huang called the bank, she was told that they had received numerous similar phone calls from customers.

Huang also added that her advisor sent her a message of apology from Prudential at around 8 PM on the same day, with the content: “Good evening. We apologise for the technical error in billing. Some clients have been over-charged today. Currently we are investigating the matter and will rectify it ASAP.”

A Facebook user named Terence Tan said a total of S$32,634 ($24,326) was deducted from his wife's bank account instead of S$326.34 ($243.26).

The 41-year-old operations executive told Channel NewsAsia that the money was credited back into his wife's account at around 9.30 PM. He added that no explanation has been offered to him or his wife so far.

Another user, Angela Lee, said S$3,230 ($2,407) was deducted from her sister's bank account, instead of S$32.30 ($24.08). When she called Prudential regarding the mistake, she was told it was an "IT glitch."

According to the newswire, MAS said in a statement on Thursday that it has directed Prudential and its payment bank, Standard Chartered Bank Singapore, to return the customer funds without delay, to keep customers updated, and to investigate the root cause of the incident.

In an email to Channel NewsAsia, Prudential confirmed that "a number of our customers experienced a GIRO deduction in excess of their insurance premium or a failed GIRO deduction."

"We have investigated the matter and found that this is due to a technical error," said a Prudential spokesperson.

Shinhan Card spends $150 million on Prudential Finance acquisition

This is not the first time Prudential has been in the hot water for such an issue. Two years ago, its subsidiary Prudential Vietnam Finance Company, one of the four financial companies controlling the Vietnamese consumer finance market, was also made a similar mistake.

In early 2018, Korea-based Shinhan Group bought out Prudential Vietnam Finance Company at a price that was more than five times its charter capital.

According to baomoi.com.vn, B.V.D in Tay Ho district, Hanoi said that in 2013, he signed a credit contract with Prudential Vietnam Finance Company to take up a loan of VND47 million ($2,070) for 48 months, so he paid VND1.946 million ($85.7) per month via his Vietcombank account. Thus, the total money for both interest and principal D had to pay during the 48 month was VND80 million ($3,524).

At 10 AM of September 29, 2016 D paid VND17.244 million into his bank account at a Vietcombank branch in Hanoi's Hoan Kiem district to pay off the rest of his debt to Prudential Finance Vietnam Company.

However, on October 6, he discovered that his bank account was deducted an extra $85.7—the exact monthly sum that D had to pay to Prudential Finance Vietnam Company.

D. sent documents to require explanation from the financial company and Vietcombank to find out that the bank at 13.24 PM on September 29 still deducted $85.7 to pay his debt to Prudential Vietnam Finance Company.

Afterwards, D requested Prudential Finance Vietnam Company to return his money and provide compensation for his travelling expenses. On October 7, Prudential Vietnam Finance Company returned his money via Vietcombank with a formal apology, stating that the incident was due to an unexpected technical error.

A representative of Prudential Finance Vietnam Company told VIR that the company has since then been focusing on improving the quality of technology and services to prevent similar incidents.

By Van Anh

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