Questions of cash: 'We lost 4,000 after an ATM took our card'
Saturday 25 April 2009
Q: My mum had her debit card swallowed by an ATM. The next day, she went back to the bank to retrieve the card and was told to go to her own bank, Abbey. Abbey told her it did not have the card. Its cashier then cashed a cheque of my mother's and told her that a series of transactions had withdrawn 4,000 in 24 hours.
My mum was horrified and told it to investigate the matter immediately and stop the card. She reported the matter to the police and spoke to Abbey, which promised to send her forms to report the incident for it to investigate. The forms did not arrive. My mother repeatedly phoned Abbey, which accused her of giving her PIN to someone. This was untrue. Nor was anyone behind my mum at the ATM, who could have witnessed her PIN entry.
The police refuse to take any action as Abbey has not reported the matter. Abbey refuses to refund the money. It is an awful lot of money to lose. We also want to know how her 600 withdrawal limit was breached. SS, Benfleet.
A: You tell us that initially after we contacted Abbey the bank told your mother that it had heard from us, but that it was not prepared to alter its decision refusing to refund her money causing her considerable distress. The refusal was confirmed again by Abbey in a letter. By then you had spoken with the police, which agreed with you and us that this appeared to be a sophisticated fraud. Eventually Abbey has taken what seems to us to be the reasonable approach and reimbursed your mother the full 4,000.
A spokesman for Abbey says that its fraud investigation required access to the records of the ATM used by your mother and that the third-party oper-ator of the ATM refused to provide that information. The spokesman says: "While we could not find evidence to suggest there was fraud, we could not rule this out, either, and as such we have taken the decision to reimburse the customer the full amount on the basis that we have a long-standing relationship with [her]. We feel that despite not being able to detect any fraudulent activity, the situation warranted special consideration."
If Abbey had taken this reasonable approach from the outset and displayed sensitivity and customer loyalty, your mother would no doubt still be a loyal customer. Instead, understandably, she has decided to move banks.
Q: You suggested there is disquiet about the state of health of the West Bromwich Building Society (Questions of Cash, 11 April). I have just made a substantial deposit with it. How serious are the concerns? Is my money safe? GH, by email.
A: A few days after we expressed concern about the state of the West Bromwich, its credit rating was downgraded by Moody's. While nine building societies were downgraded, West Bromwich was (with the Chelsea) the society put on to the lowest investment grade, Baa3 one notch above "junk" status. This means Moody's believes its prospects "may be... unreliable" and "have speculative characteristics". This is not good news and reflects West Bromwich's over-exposure to doubtful property loans.
However, even if the society hits further problems, its depositors remain protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to a maximum of 50,000, and the Government has stepped in to prevent individuals losing any money where an institution in the UK has failed in this banking crisis.
West Bromwich denies it is in serious difficulties. It said: "Like several other building societies, the West Bromwich Building Society is extremely disappointed to have been notified by Moody's that its credit rating has been downgraded... Moody's analysis appears to be based on an overly pessimistic house-price scenario relating to the premise that house prices will fall by 60 per cent. Together with virtually all other commentators, the West Brom disagrees...
"The West Brom wishes to stress that it remains a safe and secure home for members' savings, as evidenced by strong capitalisation and a high and increasing proportion of retail funding. In fact, over the last year, we have attracted 90,000 new members and have grown our retail savings deposits base by 1bn."
Q: I have made a complaint to Northern Rock about its refusal to allow us to change our mortgage product. We have followed its internal complaint procedure and then referred it to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which acknowledged it but told us that due to the volume of complaints, our case could take up to six months to resolve. We first logged our complaint with Northern Rock in November 2008. This means it could take 10 months to resolve. SJ, by email.
A: The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) accepts that it is taking longer to resolve some cases. It says that the banking crisis and recession have led to a big increase in the number of complaints it is receiving 40 per cent more now than a year ago. The difficult economic climate is also causing customers to become more willing to complain and to refer cases involving smaller sums of money. Financial services providers and customers have become less willing to settle cases. These factors are making it more difficult for the FOS to resolve disputes.
What is more, says the FOS, an increasing number of financial services providers are simply rejecting customers' claims for redress without properly investigating them. This means that the FOS has to ask more questions itself, as there is often insufficient information initially available for it to take a view on a case. It adds that about a third of cases are resolved in less than three months and 80 per cent within nine months.
The chief ombudsman, Walter Merricks, made clear in the latest issue of Ombudsman News his frustration with many firms over their failure to operate effective customer complaints services. The losers are consumers such as yourself.
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: email@example.com
Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk
Kate Hudson's online sports brand Fabletics drains your account if you don't say 'stop'
Bargain Hunter: Exclusive discount on a SmartGlider - a self-balancing electric scooter
My Tinder date asked for a refund when I declined a second meet up
10 tips for taking out a personal loan
The 10 Best money-saving sites
- 1 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
iJobs Money & Business
£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...
£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...
£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...
Day In a Page
In an elevated position above the bay, this four-bedroom home offers sea and headland views. There is a decked balcony and sun terrace - plus coastal walks on the doorstep.
With four bedrooms, this spacious maisonette in a mid-terrace period-style house in Holland Road is well-maintained and offers high ceilings and period features.
The terraces of this two-bedroom penthouse apartment offer panoramic views that stretch over fifty miles from the cliffs of Beachy Head.
In the heart of the coastal village of Mumbles and moments from the pier, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is set over three floors and retains many original features.
In a sandbanks location, moments from the beach, this three-bedroom apartment has a large open-plan living area and a south-west facing balcony.
This four-bedroom home has an annexe accessed from the side of the house, with potential for improvement and conversion subject to the necessary permissions.
In the heart of the hamlet of Wardley, this five-bedroom period home offers countryside views and a stylish interior, with original features and open fireplaces.
Offering countryside views and landscaped gardens, this three-bedroom Grade II-listed lodge has a spacious conservatory and a large cellar that could serve as a workshop.
Set in approximately 1.5 acres, this four-bedroom home comes with a second, detached property that's currently used as an annexe.
In the hamlet of Newchurch, this former parish church is now a four-bedroom home complete with clock tower and eyrie.
Offering scenic views from a large balcony and sun terrace, this four-bedroom home has a wraparound garden and a heated swimming pool.
Offering views across the Humber and East Yorkshire Wolds from a glass panelled balcony, this four-bedroom barn-style home befits a life of leisure.
This four-bedroom home offers versatile accommodation with annexe potential; features include a hot tub, sauna and Norwegian BBQ hut.
Well-located for schools, colleges and the town centre, this contemporary thatched cottage offers flexible living space with six bedrooms.
Built in 1907, this four-bedroom Edwardian period home has been refurbished by the current owners, retaining many original period features.
Surrounded by landscaped gardens, this five-bedroom home offers living space across three floors.
This lovely country home in Burnham Market is currently run as a popular holiday cottage, with five en suite bedrooms and colourful gardens.
This three-bedroom 17th-century former village bakery is just a few miles from the East Sussex coast.
Set on a landscaped plot, this light and airy four-bedroom home comes with a log burner in the lounge, a fitted kitchen and an open-plan ground-floor layout.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Built on a former chapel site, this impressive four-bedroom home boasts balconies, stunning views and contemporary modern living.
This three-bedroom house is situated in a quiet mews and set over three floors. Features include glazed staircases and high ceilings.
A period townhouse set over four floors, this five-bedroom home was built in the 18th Century and retains many original features.
With five bedrooms, this spacious home offers beautiful gardens and modern interiors - set within the popular market town of Bingley.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
In the pretty market town of Bungay, this grade II-listed Mill House is arranged over four floors, offering four bedrooms and three reception areas.
This first-floor flat comes with two bedrooms, an impressive open-plan reception room and two lovely roof terraces.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Moored at Taggs Island and reached via a pretty garden, this two-bedroom houseboat has a vaulted reception room and skylit garden studio - currently a beauty salon.
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
A contemporary house spread over three storeys, this three-bedroom detached home has large sliding doors that open out to the River Quaggy.
Moored in Chelsea's Cheyne Walk, this houseboat offers two double bedrooms and a teak deck that's ideal for al-fresco dining.
This former village bakery, dating back to the 17th century, is now a three-bedroom detached home just a few miles from the East Sussex coast.
On the picturesque Isle of Man, this four-bedroom character home has a ground-floor shop that's currently run as a newsagents and a flat that would make an ideal holiday let.
In a new collection of flats, this first-floor two-bedroom apartment offers ample entertaining space and a prime view of Furze Green from a private balcony.
This three-bedroom stone-built cottage currently trades as the village store with a restaurant in the annexe and family accommodation on the upper floors.
Previously two semi-detached properties, this five-bedroom home is spread over three floors with a large breakfast kitchen, orangery, office and gym on the second floor.
This five-bedroom home enjoys countryside views over the Blyth estuary to Southwold, offering flexible living space with a ground-floor annexe - ideal for use as a holiday let.
Close to the market town of Eye, this four-bedroom detached home offers a double-height living room which takes the place of the original, 19th-century, chapel nave.
Dating back to the 19th century, this four-bedroom home needs modernising. Spanning three storeys, the red-brick house has a fireplace, a small terrace and a cellar.
Just outside of Cambridge, this single-storey home offers three double bedrooms, a living room with vaulted timber ceiling and ladder steps that lead to a mezzanine study area.
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn.
A former coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, an attached office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Located beside an impressive Victorian viaduct, this four-bedroom home has an open-plan living area that is glazed on two sides, with skylights and high ceilings.
A former furniture workshop, this three-bedroom home has high ceilings and painted brick walls, in a village setting only fifteen miles from the coast.
This five-bedroom stone townhouse features a pine staircase and an Inglenuk fireplace, double doors from the lounge give access to an enclosed courtyard.
This five-bedroom, detached home blends traditional and modern design; the sleek kitchen features a gas hob and oven set within an exposed chimney breast.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B or countryside retreat, subject to change of use permissions.