A customer notices cash withdrawals she doesn't recognise

Fraud and scams Banking Disputed Transactions

Jacinda contacted us after getting into a dispute with her bank over cash withdrawals she said she didn’t recognise.


What happened

When Jacinda noticed two large withdrawals on her monthly statement, she called her bank to report them as fraudulent. But because she hadn’t been able to explain how they’d happened, the bank had said she must have made them herself or given someone her PIN.

Jacinda says she never withdrew that much cash in one go – and she hadn’t been at a cash point at the time the transactions happened. She said she couldn’t afford to lose that much money, which was a significant chunk of her monthly pension. She said she’d changed her PIN a few years ago from the one she was issued with, and had never told it to anyone.

Jacinda also said she’d been to the police and tried to get CCTV footage of the cash point, which she thought would prove she hadn’t made the withdrawals. But the bank had initially directed her to the wrong footage – and by the time they’d realised their mistake, the correct footage had been deleted.

How we helped

We explained to Jacinda that CCTV footage can sometimes be an important piece of evidence – and that it should form part of a business’s investigation when it’s available. But we also explained that isn’t always helpful in resolving disputes like hers – as it can sometimes be unclear and so not take us any further forward in understanding what’s happened. We told Jacinda that because the CCTV footage wasn’t available, we’d look closely at the bank’s records of her transaction history – and weigh these up against everything she’d said.

The bank provided evidence to show Jacinda’s genuine card had been used for the withdrawals. They’d been made 30 miles from Jacinda’s house, at separate cashpoints a mile or so apart – just before and just after midnight. Looking at the pattern of spending on Jacinda’s account, it seemed she’d made smaller cash withdrawals – which she said she recognised – after the transactions she was disputing. So the card would have had to be removed and replaced from Jacinda’s possession.

However, having considered the relevant rules and regulations – in particular, the Payment Service Regulations 2017 – we didn’t think the available evidence was enough to suggest Jacinda had authorised the transactions. And it was more likely than not that someone else had made the transactions using her card. We considered what Jacinda had told us about where she kept her card, and about how no one else knew her PIN. We found her account of what had happened, including what she’d said to the police, to be consistent and plausible.

Putting things right

Taking everything into account, we didn’t think the bank had shown Jacinda had been grossly negligent with her card or her pin. We recognised that there was a limited number of people that could have made the transactions. But on balance, we didn’t think it was more likely than not that Jacinda had made or authorised the transactions – or that she’d been grossly negligent. So we told the bank to refund the two disputed transactions.