The Banking Ombudsman has recently decided that a customer was not entitled to have her losses of over $15,000 refunded by the bank, as she had broken the bank’s terms and conditions.

The customer received a call from someone claiming to be an employee of the bank. The person told the customer that they had “detected fraudulent transactions” on her account. They requested the customer help them retrieve the funds.

The phone call lasted over two hours. During that time, the customer gave the person two different authentication codes that she had received via text from the bank. The customer also gave the person her credit card details.

The scammer used this information to take over $15,000 from the customer’s account over two separate transactions. The bank could not retrieve the funds but offered to refund the customer half the amount she had lost.

The customer complained to the Ombudsman, claiming she should be refunded the full amount.

The Ombudsman noted that the bank is required to reimburse customers for fraud, if the customer “was not dishonest or negligent, complied with the terms and conditions of the bank, and took reasonable steps to protect his or her banking details.”

In this case, the customer genuinely believed that she was giving her details to an employee of the bank. However, the Ombudsman decided that the bank’s terms and conditions were very clear.

According to the terms and conditions, customers were not to disclose their authentication codes to anyone, including any person that claimed to be an employee of the bank. Therefore, the Ombudsman concluded that the customer had breached the terms and conditions of the bank.

The Ombudsman decided that the bank was not required to reimburse the customer for her losses. The customer accepted the bank’s offer to refund half of her losses.

It is important to be aware of your financial rights and obligations, to avoid losses from scams like these. If you are confused about your obligations or your rights, it pays to seek legal advice from a professional with experience in the area.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.

Alan Knowsley and Hunter Flanagan-Connors