Can Zimbabweans get the government to stop Ecocash daylight robbery?


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A lot of Zimbabweans would laugh at you if you told them, you have been robbed of $200. I wouldn’t mind either if this was just a pick picket. But not when it is the country’s largest mobile money operator because if only 1% of their clients was robbed of $200 that would come to $1.2 million.

I have lost more than $1 000 over the past six weeks, but what has pained me most is the silence from Ecocash as I have repeatedly written to them without any response.

At one time my account was wiped of $2 000 in a matter of minutes. I complained through one of their agents and I was refunded $1 600 but after 5 days. I never got the balance.

I got really frustrated last week when they did it again and started thinking about mobilising other clients who have fallen victim.

When you lose $200, it is so insignificant that the only cheap way to get your money back is to write them. You cannot take a kombi to go to town because even if they refund you, you only get $80 after transport costs. Then factor in the time you spend in the queue. Chances of getting Covid-19. You just resign yourself saying it is not worth the risk. Ecocash wins.

While searching for complaints against Ecocash, I stumbled upon a petition on change.org that is now a year old which said: Stop Econet/Ecocash from robbing the people of Zimbabwe.  The petition is to the Ministry of Finance, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

It says, let’s get 1 500 signatures. “At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!”

But what really got my attention was the write-up: “It’s no secret that the people of Zimbabwe are being robbed on a daily basis on the mobile money platform Ecocash,” it said.

“Over 6 million Zimbabweans on the platform lose money at least once a week from an incomplete transaction. To make it worse, Econet has deliberately incapacitated their customer service platform so as to frustrate those looking for refunds and eventually give up trying. The phone is never ever answered.

“Econet is making millions of undeclared profits from the money they are stealing from us everyday. A simple transaction reversal can take weeks if not months in some instances. Those living in the rural areas have it worse as they have less avenues to claim their money.

“The Ecocash system is either flawed or it is intentionally designed to steal from Zimbabweans. Their social media pages are riddled with complaints of fraud and incompetence which they choose to ignore,” the petition says.

“Enough is enough. The powers that be should protect their citizens from these criminals. We haven’t seen any action taken against them despite this issue being common knowledge. We appeal to The Finance Minister and Reserve bank of Zimbabwe to stop this injustice. We are suffering enough already!”

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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