The Banking Ombudsman has required a bank to refund an elderly client $7,000 of stolen funds and pay $250 for inconvenience.

The client was shopping when their debit card was stolen. Over the next few days, $7,000 was withdrawn from their account. When the client became aware of the missing card they went to the bank to report it.

The bank employee advised them of the stolen money and advised they make a police report. The bank accepted no liability for the loss.

The Ombudsman noted several problems with how the bank had handled the complaint. When the client told the bank about the theft, it had a responsibility to advise her of their internal complaints process, and how to recover the stolen money.

Additionally, the Ombudsman determined it was most likely the thief had watched the client enter their PIN and subsequently stolen their wallet as they loaded their shopping into the car. This meant the client has not been negligent in losing the money and had not breached the terms and conditions on their card.

Given these findings, it was suggested that the bank reimburse the stolen $7,000 and provide $250 for inconvenience. The client accepted the findings.

When providing services, banks have a responsibility to advise their clients of complaints processes and other options that may be available in recovering lost money. If you believe your bank has neglected their responsibilities toward you, it is advisable to speak with an experienced professional in the area.

Alan Knowsley
Litigation Lawyer