We have been nearly relieved final week to get a few queries from readers that had little or nothing to do with Covid-19. They needed to do with our outdated buddies, the banks.
First up was an absurd story from a reader by the identify of Davin. He received in contact with a narrative he aptly describes as “a memory of times gone by, when malfunctioning ATMs and stonewalling banks seemed like something to worry about”.
Davin’s story of woe began on February 4th when he went to a Bank of Eire ATM within the Stephen’s Inexperienced Centre, and tried to take out €100 from the machine by the door. “And then it mugged me,” he writes.
He put his card in after which he keyed in his quantity and chosen the quantity he wished. All was going effectively. “The ATM made its whirring sound but no cash came out, and as there was another man on the phone near the machine looking a bit anxious, I had a sudden bad feeling. I whipped out my phone and started filming, and the man then told me the machine had withheld cash from him,” he writes.
“No cash came out of the machine for me either and then the ‘out of service’ sign popped up on the screen.”
Davin despatched us a video of this unwelcome improvement so we are able to see clearly that occasions unfolded as he mentioned. He was nonetheless fairly relaxed about all of it.
“This can happen occasionally, but usually no money is withdrawn from your account,” he continues. “However, I just had a bad inkling about the whole thing, so I checked my Ulster Bank app and the money was indeed gone from my account. I called Ulster Bank immediately and they assured me the money would be back in my account within 48 hours. I went about my business in the Stephen’s Green Centre, but passed by again about 10 minutes later. The other victim of the ATM was still there, looking very distressed, and a member of Stephen’s Green Centre security was there too – he’d just cordoned off the ATM and said someone from Bank of Ireland was on their way, but that we had to contact our own banks for a refund.”
“You can probably guess where this is going,” our correspondent writes. Sure, sure we are able to.
This ATM mugger was caught red-handed on digital camera
The cash was not refunded to him after 48 hours. “So I called up Ulster Bank again, a bit vexed, and they opened a ‘retail dispute’ via Visa. While that dispute was pending, the €100 was refunded to my account,” he says.
He thought that will be the tip of it however then on St Patrick’s Day as all of us waited to listen to Leo’s deal with to the nation – that looks like a very long time in the past now, proper? – Davin received an e mail saying that the retail dispute had been present in Bank of Eire’s favour. “It seems the ATM’s log recorded the cash being dispensed,” he says.
So he referred to as up Ulster Bank once more and defined that he had video proof of the machine not giving him any cash “which they eventually acknowledged might be useful. Furthermore, whatever sort of technical malfunction occurred (or possible fraud, I guess), I imagined there was some corroborating evidence, such as the claim presumably made by the other man, a record of the call-out to a technician, or more money being allegedly dispensed by the machine than it possessed, that sort of thing.”
He figured that will be the tip of it. “This ATM mugger was caught red-handed on camera, after all – but alas no.”
He mailed us final week after he received one other e mail.
That is what it mentioned.
“We do sympathise with your predicament but it is with regret that we are not able to continue your dispute through Visa dispute resolution. We have taken into consideration the details of your claim and the response from the retailer. Under the Visa dispute rules we have no further line of enquiry.”
As he wrote, the refund was about to be deducted from his account once more “and they advise me that ‘the Trading Standards Authority or Citizens Advice Bureau they may be able to advise you further’. Better yet, I thought, why not send this to Pricewatch,” he says.
He identified that “at this stage, with a pandemic forcing unwelcome perspective on us, the €100 is hardly the point – but I do wonder how often these incidents occur, and how many people are being ripped off like this”.
For the sake of full disclosure, Pricewatch wish to level out that Davin is a former colleague of ours and we’re fairly certain he wouldn’t go to those nice lengths to attempt to extract €100 from his bank.
An Ulster Bank spokesperson mentioned: “We take all customer ATM disputes very seriously and follow a standard industry process to investigate what happened. We acknowledge the specific circumstances of this dispute, which involved another bank’s ATM, and we are in the process of resolving it for our customer.”
We additionally heard again from Davin who mentioned he had been advised the €100 was his to maintain. We perceive that Bank of Eire – which owned the ATM – maintains that it disbursed the cash.
Golden yearsThen there was a reader referred to as Peter who lately launched into a quest to search out better-value banking, lately having been prompted to take action after getting an e mail from the price-comparison web site Bonkers.
What occurred to him when he did that may, appropriately sufficient, be described as bonkers.
“As a Bank of Ireland customer I looked into my options on their website,” his mail begins. He discovered a promising lead – a web page which contained this nugget: “As you enter a new chapter in your life, we can help make financial and digital tasks easier.” The identical web page requested readers a simple query: “Are you or your partner 66 years or older? If so, you can apply for a joint Golden Years account and save on fees and charges.”
So, since Peter is over 66, he logged on to the bank’s 365 On-line system to see what he may do to avail of this provide.
“There was no help obvious there, so I submitted an online question asking what I needed to do to convert my account to a Golden Years account. The reply duly came back saying I must go into a branch to do this. So that’s my first gripe right there – why in this day and age and especially in these Covid times must I travel to a branch to be told there that I need to fill out a form?”
However after leaping by the hoops that the bank insisted upon, he was left feeling much more irritated. “Having spent about 30 minutes in the branch queuing to get the form and fill it out, I was told that both parties to a joint account must be over 66 to avail of Golden Years. Now clearly that is not what is stated on the website and when I subsequently queried online whether the person I was dealing with was mistaken, I was told that was not the case.”
He was then directed to not the user-friendly web page however to the dreaded phrases and circumstances the place it says: “Two people may have a joint Account, if both people are 66 years of age or older and you apply to us for it.”
He factors out that Bank of Eire “certainly didn’t ‘help make financial and digital tasks easier’ for me! From my very first query it should have been obvious, if they cared to look, that my joint account did not qualify under their rules and whilst it may well be in the terms and conditions, nothing in the website blurb on Golden Years makes that clear.”
We contacted Bank of Eire and it held its fingers up and mentioned sorry to our reader. “We would like to apologise to Peter for his experience and for the lack of clarity on our website, which we will fix,” a spokesman mentioned. “We generally upgrade current accounts to Golden Years accounts annually in a batch. Customers can also do so in branch but we will review this process in light of Covid-19 to ensure customers don’t need to come in.”