Innocent Chimebere, an Ogun State resident, has narrated how VFS Global, an international Visa facilitation agency with offices in Nigeria, refused to refund a N34,994 Visa appointment payment deducted from his account.
Chimebere, a nursing professional, told FIJ that he made two attempts while trying to book a visa appointment worth N17,497 with the company on May 30 and 31 and was debited on both occasions.
Despite receiving two debit alerts, however, it turned out the transactions had failed.
“In May 30 and 31, I tried making a Visa appointment payment with VFS Global, Abuja Centre, on May 30, and I received a successful debit alert,” Chimebere said.
“I however later got to find out that the booking had failed. The second attempt I made on May 31 was also confirmed successful by my bank, but, just like the first booking, it also failed.
“I reached out to VFS Global via email on June 28 explaining that my account was debited twice for failed appointment bookings.
“They responded to my email by requesting that I fill out some forms and attach relevant proofs. I did all they with the expectation that my money would be refunded as soon as possible.
“My expectation was however not met as they failed to refund my money. I again reached out to them on June 28 complaint, but they still did not do anything concerning my complaint.
“Each time I sent them an email, they would say my request had been forwarded to their finance team.
“Considering the fact that this happened almost six months ago, I find it very difficult to believe that a company of their status would continue to hold on to my money for this long.
“It never occurred to me that it would be this difficult to retrieve my money from them.
Responding to FIJ’s phone call, Michael, a customer service agent with the company, said there was nothing he could do “other than for Chimebere to continue sending emails to the company”.
“If he has been sending emails and they didn’t reply, there’s nothing I can do about that. He has to continue sending the mails so that the finance team would eventually look into the matter,” Michael said.
After reviewing the company’s refund policy, FIJ found out that a refund ought to have been processed within 15 working days, and after a decision had been reached on the dispute.
“Within seven (7) working days following the receipt of any additional information requested by us (or where no further information is requested, five (5) working days from receipt of your refund request form), we shall notify you by e-mail of the decision on whether you are eligible for a refund or not,” the policy reads.
“Refunds of service fees will be processed within fifteen (15) working days from the date of notifying you of the decision.”
This report was produced with support from the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) under the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability project (CMEDIA) funded by the MacArthur Foundation
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