Bank’s offer of $5,000 for communication failures, reasonable in the circumstances

Processing payments,
Gabriel went to the bank in August 2022 to make an international money transfer to pay for medical treatment he had booked overseas. The bank processed the transfer, but an intermediary bank rejected it and returned his funds. His bank asked him whether he wanted the funds returned to his account or whether he would like the bank to try to send the funds again.
December 2023

Gabriel asked why the transfer had failed, but he received no clear answer. The bank was also not clear about whether a second attempt was likely to succeed. By now, the deadline for payment for the treatment had passed, and Gabriel used another bank to make the transfer. However, a change in exchange rates since August, when he first approached the bank, meant he had to pay $10,000 more for the treatment. The bank did not consider it was responsible for the $10,000 difference, but it offered $5,000 in recognition of its service and communication failings. Gabriel complained to us that it was precisely the failure of the bank to provide satisfactory service that led to the extra cost.

Our investigation

We reviewed the bank’s paperwork and found the bank had correctly processed the transfer. The failing had been for reasons outside its control at the intermediary bank. However, we found the bank failed to communicate clearly and effectively with Gabriel about why the transfer had failed and what options he had at this point. In assessing the impact of this service failing, we found the bank's $5,000 offer was fair and reasonable.


Gabriel accepted the bank's offer.

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