Customer’s behaviour justified closure of accounts

Closing accounts,
Mary complained that branch staff had discriminated against her by asking why she was not wearing a mask when masks were mandatory in banks. Following various interactions with the bank about this, Mary was warned about her behaviour and was then told the bank would be closing her accounts. She complained that the bank's decision to close her accounts was retaliation for her asserting her rights.
October 2023

The bank apologised for her upset, offered her $500 as a goodwill gesture, but confirmed it would be closing her accounts. Mary did not accept the bank's offer. She asked us to investigate and sought $9,000.

Our investigation

At the time of Mary’s visit to the branch, it was mandatory to wear masks inside the bank. When the teller asked why she was not wearing one, Mary presented a mask exemption card, but it did not have her name on it, as such official documents should. The teller pointed this out, but proceeded to carry out Mary’s instruction, which was to deposit funds into her account. Questioning why she was not wearing a mask and querying the validity of the mask exemption card she presented did not amount to harassment or discrimination. We reviewed Mary’s interactions with the bank, including phone calls, emails and text messages sent to the bank following the branch visit, and found her correspondence included what we considered to be offensive language. She was upset and disappointed following the interaction at the branch, but she continued to direct offensive language at the bank following a warning. In such circumstances, we could not criticise the bank's decision to close her accounts. 


We did not uphold Mary’s complaint and encouraged her to reconsider the bank's offer. She did not do so.

Print this page