Use of two ATMs leads to investigation mix-up

Ali went to an ATM of another bank to withdraw $100. After she entered her PIN, the ATM appeared to shut down, and ejected Ali’s debit card without any cash.
November 2006

It was a public holiday, so Ali was unable to go to her bank in person. Instead, she phoned the bank and was told the transaction would be corrected within 24 hours of the following working day. Ali waited 24 hours, but no reimbursement appeared on her statement. On the following day, she went to her bank and submitted a written report about the incident. Hearing nothing, she went back to the bank in person. It had no record of the earlier contact. A staff member called later that day to say the ATM’s bank had advised that the ATM had balanced and was functioning normally.

Ali was not satisfied with this response, and her bank said it would make further enquiries. When Ali heard nothing further, she complained to us.

Our investigation

We found that a misunderstanding had arisen between Ali and her bank about which of two ATMs she had used that day. Having failed to withdraw $100 from the faulty machine, she used a second ATM from the same bank to check the balance on her account. It was this ATM the bank had investigated, which was why no fault had been found with it.

At the faulty ATM, $100 was debited from Ali’s account, but the transaction was later reversed. Ali had used the same ATM two days earlier to withdraw $100, and had confused this transaction with the transaction she later complained about.


Ali accepted our explanation and withdrew her complaint.

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