Friday, December 5, 2008

'My Bank is the Devil'

A reader in Boston emailed me about a disappearing deposit that has her equating her bank with Beelzebub:
What rights do I have if someone stole my ATM deposit from XXXXatm receipt (thank God), but now i have to go to the bank in the morning to investigate what happened and to see if they can check their surveillance cameras. They said I'm basically at the discretion of the bank manager. WHAT??? They have to give me back the money, right? The person who takes out the ATM deposits had to have stolen it. It's an inside job. WTF???? OMG! Bank? I deposited $1200 last week and noticed today that my account was debited for the same amount. I never go into the branch unless i absolutely have to, so I deposited the cash into my account via the ATM. I haven't made any large purchases, or shopped at all for that matter, so I called customer service to see what the charge was for. They don't have the $$$$. I have my

I can understand why you're pissed -- this has happened to me before -- but it doesn't make your bank evil. There are plenty of other things that probably make them evil, but not this, per se. Your problem should be relatively easy to solve since you have the receipt proving that you did, indeed, deposit the money at your ATM machine. As far as your being at the discretion of the bank manager, my guess is that in the case of a potential fraud at a federally-insured depository institution, there are several higher powers to which you can appeal.

All that said, I don't think your money was stolen. "Disappearing" deposits from ATM machines aren't all that uncommon. Banks have to be sure that the person making a deposit into an account has the authority to do so, and anything, like a weird-looking signature a check to a deposit of a large amount of cash can be cause of a red flag that will delay the clearance of money into your account.

A few years back, I deposited a check for some freelance work into an account I had with Bank of America. A few days later that money had disappeared from my account. After a few calls I found out that a branch manager had flagged the deposit because he or she couldn't make out my signature. I was incredulous: there's no way the bank manager would have known what my signature looked like anyway, and the check I deposited was made out to the same name and address as the one listed on my account. Ultimately, I got the money back but not without some frustration.

Since then, my rule has been to use ATMs only for withdrawals. Making a deposit in person makes it quite impossible for anyone to dispute the amount deposited or that it was indeed you who put the money in. It usually means a deposit will clear faster, by at least a business day or two, than one you make at an ATM.

Good luck getting your money back.


Product Junkie Diva said...

Thanks this is great information to have.

Mary said...

So those are the breaks? Never (thank God) has any of my deposits gone "missing". But as a rule of thumb if I must make a deposit at the ATM I ONLY deposit checks. God forbid it go missing I can always have it reissued. I have a level of paranoia about cash deposits. I really don’t trust the banks I think they are evil, if I did not subscribe to conventional wisdom I would put my money in my mattress.

Bargain Biatch said...

Ditto the check only deposits at the ATM, I'm too anal and paranoid to deposit cash. Since there was another transaction for same amount seems to point to some sort of clerical error. I think there's a good chance you'll recover your money.

MSJNT said...

Make friends at your bank branch. One they know the face with the name it would be hard for someone to mess with your accounts. I had that go on with a Paypal phishing incident. I was lucky that the bank was holding my funds and I went down to clear that all up and ws reversed the fees that accrued because of it. The Banks are not just have to have a level head and faith that the problem can be resolved.

darkmuse said...

something mysterious been there, don't you find it?? how could they missed your money$, it's almost impossible! almost....

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