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Thread: ATM issues

  1. #1
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    ATM issues

    I currently live in Guatemala while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer.

    This morning I went into a nearby city to withdraw some money using my Wachovia/Wells Fargo debit card. I attempted to withdraw 1000 Quetzales (or about $133) from an ATM that I have used countless times over the past year and a half. Everything seemed fine until it became apparent that no money was going to be dispensed. Stupidly, I repeated this process only to again not receive any cash.

    I then called to check on my balance and soon found out that the funds had been withdrawn from my account. This was not a good feeling. I went to the local Guatemalan bank whose name is on the ATM and they simply told me this was an issue I needed to take up with my American bank.

    I called Wells Fargo and was told that the only thing I could do at this time was to file a complaint and wait 10 business days to see if the funds can be reimbursed. The representative said that Wells Fargo will investigate the problem. I am obviously quite worried about this. $266 is a considerable sum to me at this moment.

    I would like to think that in this day in age Wells Fargo will know exactly where this ATM is located and can get in touch with its operator who will realize he is holding an extra Q2000($266). I have my doubts however.

    Anyway, I was wondering if anyone at RZ has had a similar problem and what if any results they had with their bank. Also, would be interested to hear what you think my chances are of recovering anything from this ordeal.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by zacharync; 01-20-2012 at 02:11 PM.
    "Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical."
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  3. #2
    Member Spazzrico's Avatar
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    Re: ATM issues

    I haven't honestly had this issue before....I'm willing to bet though that you will probably get your money in the end, but it may be awhile. My own experience is more in the area of credit theft (someone stealing my number and using it). In those cases I have quickly gotten reimbursed, but I had to sign and affidavit swearing it was fraud. I'm guessing something like this can be done for you. It isn't an enormous amount of money and your story would most likely be corroborated by your attempting to retrieve the same amount of money twice in a row.....also I'm assuming that your record otherwise is pretty good so they will tend to give the benefit of the doubt. In any case you need to be very persistent. One thing thing I have learned in the course of time is you have to be your own advocate. Refuse to take no for an answer when your finances are at stake and you are in the right. If they give you crap turn yourself into a headache for them (while being very polite).

    Good luck in any case!

  4. #3
    Member jimbo's Avatar
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    Re: ATM issues

    My grandmother and aunt, both from Florida, had $600 withdrawn from their Fifth Third accounts a few months ago. The bank traced the transactions to somewhere in Mexico and Canada. After investigating, it was found that they had both used their cards at an eating establishment and that an employee there stole their card information and sold it to a third party.

    To Fifth Third's credit, they immediately refunded their money once they discovered what had happened. I think you should really push your bank into doing the same, they are at fault for not flagging and denying a suspicious transaction.

  5. #4
    Vavasor TRF's Avatar
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    Re: ATM issues

    Demand WF get someone to audit the machine.
    Suck it up cupcake.

  6. #5
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    Re: ATM issues

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    Demand WF get someone to audit the machine.
    Will do, that's a good idea. Thanks.
    "Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical."
    - Yogi Berra

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    Re: ATM issues

    My main concern is that it's not a Wells Fargo machine. Furthermore, the Guatemalan bank claimed ignorance. I am hoping someone from WF can get a handle on what the ATM situation is in Guatemala. I hope there isn't a third party involved that manages the ATM. Like I said, it's an ATM of the Guatemalan bank which makes me hope they handle the books.
    "Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical."
    - Yogi Berra

  8. #7
    CELEBRATION TIME RBA's Avatar
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    Re: ATM issues

    I banked with Wells Fargo for three months. Never again.

  9. #8
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    Re: ATM issues

    Quote Originally Posted by RBA View Post
    I banked with Wells Fargo for three months. Never again.
    Thanks for the support and vote of confidence.

    I would think a large bank like Wells Fargo would have the resources to investigate a matter such as this, while a credit union or smaller operation would not.
    "Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical."
    - Yogi Berra

  10. #9
    We Need Our Myths reds1869's Avatar
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    Re: ATM issues

    Quote Originally Posted by zacharync View Post
    Thanks for the support and vote of confidence.

    I would think a large bank like Wells Fargo would have the resources to investigate a matter such as this, while a credit union or smaller operation would not.
    Bigger banks may have bigger resources, but they don't have more motivation. A small bank or credit union will bend over backwards because they can't afford to lose your business; you are nothing but an account number to Wells Fargo (I've had very negative experiences with WF for what it is worth). I hope everything works out and you get your money back. I think you will but I also don't think you should expect a fast turn around.

  11. #10
    Danger is my business! oneupper's Avatar
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    Re: ATM issues

    Quote Originally Posted by zacharync View Post
    My main concern is that it's not a Wells Fargo machine. Furthermore, the Guatemalan bank claimed ignorance. I am hoping someone from WF can get a handle on what the ATM situation is in Guatemala. I hope there isn't a third party involved that manages the ATM. Like I said, it's an ATM of the Guatemalan bank which makes me hope they handle the books.
    Your situation is not uncommon or unique. Here's another instance.

    http://www.elliott.org/blog/foreign-...-bank-lets-it/

    Problem is you have at least two parties involved. The culprit is the local ATM owner (the Guatemalan bank), which has already charged Wells Fargo for your withdrawal (and Wells Fargo has debited your account). See, you're not out $266, you're out 2,000 Quetzals.

    If the Guatemalan bank doesn't own up to the mistake to WF, WF would have to take the loss on your withdrawal.

    You need to get pissy with the Guatemalan Bank. They cannot simply tell you to go to the US bank. It's their ATM they have your 2,000 Quetzals.
    You are likely to run into a brick wall. So, put it all in writing. Keep copies of everything. If the Guatemalan bank doesn't give you the 2,000 Qs, THEN take it back to Wells Fargo.

    If that doesn't work, then file a complaint with BBB (against Wells Fargo). (free online...you can do from Guatemala.). If THAT doesn't work, take it to the media when you get stateside.
    Be a nuisance.

    Unless the Guatemalan Bank is part of Wells' "preferred" international correspondents, there is no real incentive for them to make you whole. And the only incentive for Wells to take the loss, is retaining you as a client (your future business may not be worth $266 to them).

    I'd give you better than even odds of getting your money back, if you insist on it.

    Good Luck.
    "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

    http://dalmady.blogspot.com

  12. #11
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    Re: ATM issues

    NM
    Last edited by zacharync; 01-20-2012 at 09:16 PM.
    "Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical."
    - Yogi Berra

  13. #12
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    Re: ATM issues

    Quote Originally Posted by oneupper View Post
    Your situation is not uncommon or unique. Here's another instance.

    http://www.elliott.org/blog/foreign-...-bank-lets-it/

    Problem is you have at least two parties involved. The culprit is the local ATM owner (the Guatemalan bank), which has already charged Wells Fargo for your withdrawal (and Wells Fargo has debited your account). See, you're not out $266, you're out 2,000 Quetzals.

    If the Guatemalan bank doesn't own up to the mistake to WF, WF would have to take the loss on your withdrawal.

    You need to get pissy with the Guatemalan Bank. They cannot simply tell you to go to the US bank. It's their ATM they have your 2,000 Quetzals.
    You are likely to run into a brick wall. So, put it all in writing. Keep copies of everything. If the Guatemalan bank doesn't give you the 2,000 Qs, THEN take it back to Wells Fargo.

    If that doesn't work, then file a complaint with BBB (against Wells Fargo). (free online...you can do from Guatemala.). If THAT doesn't work, take it to the media when you get stateside.
    Be a nuisance.

    Unless the Guatemalan Bank is part of Wells' "preferred" international correspondents, there is no real incentive for them to make you whole. And the only incentive for Wells to take the loss, is retaining you as a client (your future business may not be worth $266 to them).

    I'd give you better than even odds of getting your money back, if you insist on it.

    Good Luck.
    Good grief man. What a headache.

    I am confident in saying that BancoIndustrial(the owner of this ATM) is a legit operation and has perhaps the best reputation among banks in Guatemala. BI is the bank the Peace Corps and the US embassy here uses. It manages literally millions of Quetzales on behalf of the US Government.

    Should I just walk into the local branch and demand that they check their account on the ATM? Maybe I will. No doubt I will get the runaround.

    However, it should be as simple as Wells Fargo giving them a call and them looking at their accounts and balances and realizing they have Q2000 more than they should. Coupled with the time stamps that both banks should have of the failed transaction.

    Did I mention that there was no receipt?
    Last edited by zacharync; 01-20-2012 at 09:22 PM.
    "Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical."
    - Yogi Berra

  14. #13
    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: ATM issues

    Might be a bit of a stretch, but does that ATM have a camera? I know that most do in the US. Might use this as some sort of leverage when talking to the bank. There is evidence and day/time that you were there in their records and a video might show you received no money.

    Good luck. I hope you get your money.
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

  15. #14
    Danger is my business! oneupper's Avatar
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    Re: ATM issues

    Quote Originally Posted by zacharync View Post

    Should I just walk into the local branch and demand that they check their account on the ATM? Maybe I will. No doubt I will get the runaround.

    Did I mention that there was no receipt?
    Yes. You should go to the branch, particularly if it was attached to that ATM and explain your situation. If there is form to fill, fill it. If not leave a letter.
    There needs to be some sort of evidence that you had a problem. You are not the first (or last) person that this has happened to. There IS a procedure for this.

    Understand that things are not quite as automatic as you might think. Each ATM machine has a different "account" at its bank. The amount of cash it disburses should match the withdrawals made. There is an electronic record of those withdrawals. When they reconcile the ATM's cash balance (possibly physically counting) with the withdrawals made, they will notice the difference. If there are claims on that difference (such as yours), they'll reimburse them.
    If no claims are there, someone will pocket that money (bank, guy who fills up the ATM, etc).

    I think you can also presume that you may not be the only one who had this problem today. That helps your case.

    No receipt is not good, but you do have (and can print out, presumably), the evidence of your withdrawals from the WF account, which certainly specifies that it was an overseas withdrawal and possibly could even specify which ATM it was.

    The best solution is if Banco Industrial gives you the 2000 Quetzales, because that ends everything there. If you want WF to credit you, they are going to go to Banco Industrial first (or worse, an intermediary bank) and try to get their money back that way. It will take longer.

    Make sure your claim is in and that it is going through the right channels. Sure it's a pain, but don't get mad, just be persistent.
    "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

    http://dalmady.blogspot.com

  16. #15
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: ATM issues

    zacharync, I can give no other advice than this: oneupper is extremely knowledgeable and trustworthy. If I were in your situation, I would do whatever he suggests.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful


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