Standing in front of an ATM that just ate your cash deposit without crediting your account or issuing a receipt can leave you feeling helpless, even hopeless. Just ask Linda Murray Bullard, who recently found herself in this situation.
“A horrible experience! Says Murray Bullard, who owns a business consulting firm in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Bullard eventually received her credit, but she had to act quickly. If an ATM takes your money, here’s what you can do.
Hold on and contact your bank
Your first action should be to alert your bank or credit union, which will investigate before crediting your account. While it doesn’t come naturally to some people, the name of the game keeps you cool. For Murray Bullard, that meant staying put and immediately contacting his bank.
“When he chewed my money, I refused to move until I contacted the bank and spoke to a live person,” she says.
“I refused to move before contacting the bank and speaking to a live person.“
Linda Murray Bullard, Chattanooga, Tennessee
“The lady assured me that it would be fixed the next business day and that someone would call me as soon as it was corrected. They did exactly what she said, and my deposit was credited.
It’s unclear how common Bullard’s experiment is. The ATM Industry Association does not have data that would show the extent of this problem, according to Michael Lee, chief executive of the group, who says he has “not heard of a single reported case of which happens”. The American Bankers Association did not respond to requests for comment when asked about such incidents.
Murray Bullard, however, is certainly not the only one: According to dozens of discussions online on the subject, money-hungry ATMs are not a completely new phenomenon. And given that 68% of Americans use ATMs at least once a month, according to a 2014 Nielsen study, it’s worth knowing how to react to this potentially frustrating situation.
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Confirm that your bank is carrying out an investigation
Shane Allen, director of media relations for Personal Trainer Food, a Fort Worth, Texas-based company that helps consumers create healthy meal plans, found himself in a similar predicament a few months ago when ‘he attempted to deposit $ 800 in a Capital One cash machine.
“The ATM took the money and printed a receipt saying there had been an error and I needed to call a certain phone number,” says Allen.
His bank assured him that they would look into the situation when he called and credited his account for the time being.
“They warned me that they would investigate all deposits that day,” Allen said, “and if for some reason they determined the deposit was lower, they would remove it from my account.”
A month later, Allen received a letter in the mail saying the bank had completed its investigation and determined that he had, in fact, deposited $ 800.
“Overall, I think they handled it very well,” he says. Capital One did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“All transactions are recorded and we use our logs to research these transactions. If an issue results in account charges, we’ll credit their account with those charges.“
Kristopher dahl, Wells Fargo spokesperson
If an ATM eats up your deposit, you should contact your bank immediately, says Kristopher Dahl, spokesperson for Wells Fargo. This will stimulate a review of the incident.
“I can’t share a lot of information about the investigation process, but all transactions are recorded and we use our logs to research these transactions,” Dahl explains, adding that these cases rarely occur. “If an issue with an ATM results in an account charge, we’ll credit their account for those charges as well.”
Note the time of the transaction, gather evidence
In addition to eating cash, ATMs also swallow checks on occasion, as Natalie Nicole Gilbert can attest.
“If you have to use an ATM and things go wrong, write down the time of the failed deposit,” says Gilbert, a Los Angeles-based musician who recently tried to deposit a check worth around $ 1,000. .
Because she typically didn’t use that particular account to make deposits of this size, the transaction “triggered a security feature that suspected potential fraud,” Gilbert explains. As a result, his financial institution froze his funds while trying to verify that the check was valid.
“It was particularly embarrassing, as I intended to pay my rent that month with this check, and the hold didn’t release until a week or more after my rent was due,” says -it.
Gilbert recommends that customers take smartphone photos of the error screen on the ATM if any of them occur during a botched transaction. She adds that people may want to copy serial numbers to invoices before inserting change into a machine. The more evidence you can collect, the better.
Responding quickly is crucial
While faulty ATMs can make you feel extremely helpless, the ball is well in your court to remedy the situation. Act quickly to get credit for your money.
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