Questions of Cash: An ATM refused my cash request, but my account was still debited


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The Independent Online

Q. I tried to withdraw £300 from a Sainsbury’s ATM in Southport in March last year. My Barclays’ account had enough funds for the transaction, but the display indicated I could only withdraw £200. A screen message said the “request cannot be completed, transaction terminated” and my card was returned. The machine then reverted to stand-by mode. I waited for a short time, but nothing else happened.

Rather than try again I went to the local Barclays Bank branch and withdrew the £300 from its ATM without problem. When I checked my account at the end of the month I found there were two debits on the same day within minutes, each for £300. Barclays refused to accept my explanation. I took this to the Financial Ombudsman, who ruled in Barclays’ favour. PD, Liverpool.

A. This column will not usually take up complaints that have gone to the Financial Ombudsman and been adjudicated upon. However, on this occasion we decided to check with Sainsbury’s, just in case. The good news is that the store has located your £300. A customer handed in the money, which was found in the unattended ATM, after Barclays made its inquiry to Sainsbury’s on your behalf. Staff have been holding this for over a year, waiting for it to be claimed.

You have now gone to the store and obtained the £300 in cash. As a gesture of goodwill, Sainsbury’s has also posted to you a £50 voucher to spend in its shops.

Q. I decided in March to transfer my Yorkshire Building Society cash ISA into funds I hold with investment trust manager Baillie Gifford. I used Baillie Gifford’s funds transfer form, which I posted to Yorkshire BS on 25 March. I expected the transfer to be completed within 30 days. On 1 May, I received a letter from Baillie Gifford saying that despite two attempts by it, the building society had refused to go ahead with the transfer.

It initially claimed that the form did not contain any of the customer details. A second attempt was rejected on the basis that it did not contain my full name, full address, date of birth and national insurance number. Baillie Gifford tells me its transfer form has been used successfully for several years without problem. On 2 May, I phoned Yorkshire BS and it denied that a transfer request had been made. The next day I established what information the society required and asked Baillie Gifford to resend the information.

I phoned Yorkshire BS again on 17 May to check on progress and was told there was no record of a request being made on 3 May by Baillie Gifford. It was then agreed that Baillie Gifford would send a fax to Yorkshire BS, which they did. However, Yorkshire BS said it did not receive it. Baillie Gifford then resent directly to customer services. It was received and the transfer went ahead on 24 May.

I lost about £760 in loss of fund value because of this. I complained to Yorkshire BS, which rejected my case saying the Baillie Gifford transfer form was not HMRC compliant. Baillie Gifford insists it is. NS, by email.

A. You were making a transfer from a cash ISA into a stocks and shares ISA, which is less common than transferring from one cash ISA to another with a different provider. HMRC’s requirements in respect of money laundering controls for transfers between cash ISAs are different from those for transfers between stocks and shares ISAs.

Information requirements are more onerous for transferring cash ISAs than they are for transferring stocks and shares ISAs. Baillie Gifford provided a pro forma for use for transfers into stocks and shares ISAs, whereas Yorkshire Building Society required the same level of detail as if the transfer was between cash ISAs. Baillie Gifford insists that the form it uses is consistent with HMRC requirements for a transfer into a stocks and shares ISA. Yorkshire BS insists it has the right to ask for further information to satisfy itself above the level required by law.

A spokesman for the building society says: “ISA providers must be satisfied that all transfer requests, whether relating to cash ISAs or stocks and shares ISAs, are valid and genuine. While other providers may accept Baillie Gifford’s stocks and shares ISA transfer form, we ask for fuller information, such as national insurance number, date of birth and customer address, to be provided. We take our responsibility to protect our members’ funds very seriously and consider this level of information an important part of our duty to prevent fraud and money laundering.”

Although it says it did nothing wrong, Yorkshire BS is sending you a payment of £291.49, which represents your loss through the transfer not being completed within the statutory requirement of 30 days. You have reluctantly accepted this.

Q. My partner made a mobile call of three or four minutes and then hung up. Yet O2 charged nearly £100 for the call. We took this up with O2, which stated the charge was correct. We told them my partner had hung up on the call. We have tried to get them to prove the call lasted as long as they say it did but are still waiting for them to do so – and that was weeks ago. MS, Essex.

A. O2 has checked its records, which confirm that your husband failed to properly disconnect the call. As the call was made to a landline, it can only be disconnected by the caller, not the recipient. The call was logged as being made on 18 January and lasted 10 hours and 56 minutes. The charge – which was in fact £144.59 – was therefore correct, according to O2’s records. However, O2 accepts that it failed to handle your husband’s inquiry correctly and as a goodwill gesture it has cancelled the charge and is crediting your husband’s account with the £144.59, plus VAT.

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But if you have a financial dilemma, we’ll do our best to help. Please email us at:

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