Tuesday, November 15, 2005

flames of fury 9

Maybank lied about ATM withdrawal SM Mohamed Idris Nov 14, 05 4:50pm

A premier bank (Maybank) lied and the complainant almost lost his RM500. The bank had informed a Mr Tan (who had complained about the non-dispensation of his RM500 by its ATM ) that according to its records, the money was successfully dispensed. It advised him to refer the matter to the Financial Mediation Bureau if he wanted to pursue the matter further. However the bank’s own video recording showed that the money was not dispensed by the ATM. We believe that this case is only the tip of the iceberg because we at the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) regularly receive complaints about ATMs. Except for the rare occasion, the banks concerned would smugly reply with the same standard letter. The gist of the letter is that their ATMs were functioning perfectly. Below is an extract of the letter that Tan received. “Based on our records and investigation, the transaction was successfully carried out and cash was dispensed accordingly. Our ATM system was operating normally during that period and no irregularities were detected. “Our branch has performed a thorough check on the ATM and confirmed that the cash position is balanced.” Now we know that the reply is not worth the paper that it is written on. In the above case, Tan’s request to view the video recording on the day of the incident (Oct 11, 2005) was turned down. He was told by a bank officer that he could view it only in the presence of a police officer. He made a police report and went back but was still denied a viewing of the recording. About two weeks after he lodged his report, he received the above standard reply from the bank. He then approached CAP and we arranged with the bank to let him view the video recording. After viewing it, the bank agreed to refund Mr Tan his RM500. When we questioned the bank on how the ATM records could have got it so wrong , the answer was that it was a technical matter which needed to be looked into further by the head office. When questioned how the cash in the ATM could be balanced when the RM500 was not dispensed, the answer was that investigations would have to be carried out, again by the head office. This case has wide repercussions for the millions of ATM cardholders in the country. Firstly, how many other complainants have lost their money because the banks denied liability based on their “irrefutable” ATM records? Secondly, the Financial Mediation Bureau has been rejecting claims based on the flawed ATM reports from the banks. We have another complaint against the very same bank regarding the non-dispensation of RM1,500 by its ATM. The complainant lost his case because the mediator based her findings solely on the report from the bank. Thirdly, it is clear that the security measures taken by the banks are clearly inadequate. Either there is something inherently wrong with the ATMs, or the procedures used when balancing the cash in the ATM are seriously flawed. To protect ATM consumers, we therefore urge the Ministry of Finance and Bank Negara Malaysia to implement the following:- • Instruct banks that they can no longer deny liability by stating that the ATM is operating normal and that cash in the ATM balanced. Unless collaborated by other evidence the complainant has to be reimbursed. • Instruct the Financial Mediation Bureau to review all cases involving ATMs where the decisions went against the complainants because they were based solely on reports from the banks. Since the banks’ ATM reports can no longer be relied on, the cases should be ruled in favour of the complainants unless the banks can come up with new evidence • Instruct all banks to put notices near their ATM machines that customers have the right to view the video recording once a complaint is lodged. • Allow the complainant to be present when the cash balancing of the ATM is carried out. • Make it compulsory for close circuit televisions (CCTVs) to be installed wherever there are ATM machines (and cash deposit machines). The CCTVs should be able to record consumers carrying out their transactions (but not their pin numbers).
The writer is the president of the Consumers Association of Penang.

I dont believe in ATM cards. I had heard so many stories about it. The banks are always right not to admit liability. The consumers can't win with its standard reply. In fact the consumers have no chance of winning because they can't view their records maintained in the banks. The banks always find fault with the ATM users. To me I opt for the traditional route. A passbook and a banking slip, now who can dispute that?

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