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Woman forced to wait nearly two months for bank refund

On Saturday September 26, 2015, St Thomas resident Tonia Deane stopped at the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) at FirstCaribbean International Bank in Warrens, St Michael for what she thought was a simple transaction.

What happened next was an exercise in frustration and deflected responsibility by two financial institutions, as Deane came to realize she could not bank on their support.

Deane told Barbados TODAY that she withdrew $600 from her Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) account at the CIBC FirstCaribbean ATM and while she received the correct amount from the machine, a check of the receipt revealed that twice as much had been deducted from the account. In addition, she said, ATM fees were debited twice.

She said that after she was advised of the procedure to have the funds returned to her account, she filled out a dispute form from her bank three days later and sent it in.

Almost two months later, the issue had not been settled and she was being bounced from bank to bank as the two financial institutions sought to pass the responsibility on to each other.

“I thought it would have been a smooth process, but I had not heard back from either bank for a few days. I went to FirstCaribbean and spoke to someone there that I know and the person told me ‘that is an issue for your bank because the money came from your bank account’,” said Deane, who stated that she kept in contact with an RBC official who told her they “had to wait on FirstCaribbean”.

Deane said she became frustrated after she went back to the FirstCaribbean and she was told, “the issue is one for your bank” because the money came from her RBC account.

“So now I have reached the point of total frustration . . . This is the point where I am at and I have decided now is the time to take my story to every media house in Barbados and anybody else who is willing to listen and publish it because I think it is nonsense and unfair,” said the mother of one.

Deane added that she returned to FirstCaribbean last week Wednesday and Thursday before she was assured that the funds “should be refunded” to her account “within 24 to 48 hours”.

Yet by Monday there was nothing but another excuse by RBC which informed her it had not received the “authorization to indicate the credit” to her account.

“So I decided I am going to call CARIFS [the ATM network provider], and . . . I spoke to someone who asked me for certain information that would give them access to see exactly what was going on regarding the issue.

“When the person got back to me they told me that from what they saw FirstCaribbean had not responded,” said Deane.”

Senior manager of corporate communications at RBC Nicole Duke-Westfield told Barbados TODAY this afternoon she was “aware of the client’s situation” and the bank had been in contact with her.

“We are also in contact with the other bank that is involved in the matter, with the intention of bringing this matter to a close as quickly as possible,” said Duke-Westfield.

“It is important for us to be able to connect with the other party, which is the other bank, and make sure we have all the information before we can make a determination. We wouldn’t want to go back to the client and we don’t have all the information.”

Meanwhile CIBC FirstCaribbean said it regretted that “the customer has been kept waiting for the return of her funds”, adding that there was a process “which all banks” go through in such instances.

“And in this particular case the resolution of the matter took longer than we would hope. Such occurrences do not happen often, but when they do, understandably they are upsetting to the affected customer,” CIBC FirstCaribbean acknowledged in a response emailed to Barbados TODAY.

The bank also gave the assurance that “the matter has now been rectified and the funds returned to her financial institution”, and promised to conduct a review “of how this particular instance unfolded” with a view to preventing a repeat.

Deane told Barbados TODAY late tonight that the money had finally been returned to her account.

11 Responses to Frustrated

  1. Tonia November 13, 2015 at 2:47 am

    Thank you for taking my story and publishing it.

  2. Jeffrey Boyce November 13, 2015 at 5:40 am

    The same thing with those two banks happen to me some years ago and i got the same run around and up until this day none of the two have ever gotten back to me,i got so frustrated that i forget them and that.

    • Donild Trimp November 13, 2015 at 11:47 am

      Are you being honest? How much funds were you out?

      With persistence, such matters are always resolved in favour of the customer.

  3. Justin November 13, 2015 at 5:50 am

    Such occurrences do not happen often, but when they do, understandably they are upsetting to the affected customer…….????
    …. These things DO happen often. It’s jus like Deane said, bajans are to timid to speak out. Which is also my argument. The have;what we would call; TO MUCH DAMN PRIDE! I’m glad u spoke out Deane and got what was rightfully yours

  4. Freeagent November 13, 2015 at 6:14 am

    Sis, you will be refunded but you will have to wait for another few weeks before that happens.

    Only in Barbados!

  5. Sean Willoughby November 13, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Tonia I’m glad this finally worked out for you and you still have some of your sanity left!

    As I was telling you on Facebook I had a very similar problem with a CIBC First Caribbean ATM machine. On Sept 22, 2015 at 11:30am I withdrew $200 Barbados dollars from a bank machine at the First Caribbean bank machine at the location on Broad Street. I entered my password but the transaction was canceled and my card returned, without any cash.

    I went to another machine within the Bank, repeated the process and this time I got the cash. This wasn’t the first time I had to use 2 different machines to get the cash at this location, so I didn’t think anything of it.

    It wasn’t until 2 days later when I was checking my account that I noticed that $400 was taken from my account not just $200.

    I immediately went to the CIBC First Caribbean location on Broad Street to have the problem resolved but since my account was based in Canada, I was told they couldn’t do anything for me.

    So I contacted my CIBC bank in Canada and after spending an additional $100 in phone charges trying to resolve this and an investigation by the CIBC in Canada I was told that there was nothing they could do and my $200 has disappeared!

    As Tonia mentioned, this process has been extremely frustrating and I’m happy things finally worked out for her. I’m not sure if anyone at CIBC First Caribbean will be reading this, but this but if there is anything you can do to help me with this situation it would be greatly appreciated.

    I will be taking this up with CIBC when I go back to Canada in a few weeks, but if anyone at the Broad Street location can help that would be great.

    I will keep everyone posted as to how this turns out.

    • Sue Donym November 13, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      Don’t be surprised if Canada tells you that it is B’dos that should rectify your problem since it started here. The good news is that you can almost always count on a higher level of customer service outside B’dos and your bank will likely pursue it vigorously on your behalf. Hope the local bank is made to pay a penalty to you as they should to Tonia Deane.

      Once they completed the task of reconciling their cash on hand against withdrawals and making allowances for any other discrepancies, they should refund promptly, not hope that you get frustrated and go away. They know that most people are reluctant to ‘fight’ big business. Good luck.

  6. Watchman November 13, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Similar levels of disservice are why I moved my business from one of the above mentioned banks. Nothing says I dont like how you treated me as loudly and clearly as ceasing your patronage and nothing is as unpleasant to them as knowing that they are no longer making money off of someone.

  7. Small November 13, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Same thing happen to me since last year and have not receive my funds as yet……….swiped at FCIB warrens and the amount came off twice but only receive the amount i swiped for

  8. Friendly November 13, 2015 at 8:59 am

    CIBC FirstCaribbean -this process took very long. This is not a transaction that is to be done overseas, hence it should not take so long. Very,very poor service in my opinion

  9. Charles November 14, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Seems to be a regular issue with ATM transactions between these two institutions. I had the same issue some months ago, same run around. Luckily I only lost $20 so did not bother with the stress of persisting in trying to get it back.
    My transaction was a withdrawal from my FCIB account using a RBC ATM so the problem seems to go both ways.
    My advice is…withdraw from ATMs from the institution where your funds are lodged…Especially in instances where significant amounts are involved, at lease if there is a problem there is much less of a run around.


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