Computer says no at Westpac

Dear Westpac Person,
I am writing as I have been unable to resolve a matter with you over the phone.
To outline the problem for you, I have one recurring payment set up for my rent to be taken out fortnightly. I have had issues cancelling payments and setting new ones for some time – for example, when our rent increased in April, I set a new amount to $R2 to be taken out.  For some reason, this payment did not stick and it reverted back to $R1 for a couple of weeks until I noticed it.
I cancelled this payment, and set a new recurring payment.  This seemed to work , and $R1 was taken out successfully last fortnight.  This fortnight however, the $R1 recurring payment had resurrected itself, and both amounts were charged off my account.
This has resulted in my account to be overdrawn by $XXX, and though it is a small amount ($YYY) that I would have had  left for the fortnight, it pays for basic needs like fuel, food and so on.

I spoke to one of your colleagues this morning, who was able to (but not guarantee) have the money refunded to my account by the 9th of July.
This is not good enough.
Please address the following:

  1. I would like the money restored to my account before close of business today, Thursday, July 2nd.  I will not contact the payee to have it restored. It is your system error, and so therefore your duty to fix.
  2. Your system is broken.  It is a cheque account, without provision to be overdrawn, and so therefore the payment should have been rejected.
  3. I have not misused or misunderstood the online banking facility. I am not intellectually challenged and can use a computer.  Please get your tech guys to check the logs on my account, where they will see the troubles that I have had with it.
  4. Though I have been assured that when the fees kick in for being overdrawn, they will be refunded when I call, I don’t want to call you again.  I would like someone to stop this payment.

“Computer says no” is not an acceptable response.

My husband and I have already shifted a great wad of our money to another bank who had better interest rates on their term deposits, and if this incident is not resolved immediately, we will not hesitate to move our remaining funds away from you. I am used to fairly good service from Westpac, but today’s experience has proven less than satisfactory, and we have both wasted valuable time and energy to no avail.  We are also in the process of contacting the financial ombudsman.

I received an email from them 4 business days after my request.

Dear Miss Cuthbert

Thank you for your recent concern regarding duplication of your rental payment.

This task has been assigned to me and I am pleased to advise the following:

  • I have today refunded $R1 to your account. A recall is in place  and when funds arrive Westpac will reimburse this to its internal account.
  • I have refunded $18.00 in account overdrawn fees charged on 3/7/2015 and 6/7/2015.
  • We confirm that periodical payment for $XXX has been cancelled.

Please note that the fee refund will take place by 9/7/2015 and refund of $R1 will be credited to your  account today.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

I checked my account all day, and the funds did not appear. I suppose it needed to be a close of business thing, to be consolidated in the banks outgoings or something.  Upon checking my account this morning, the refund was in, but with no funds available.

Hi XXXX,

Thank you for returning the money to my account, albeit 4~ working days after my request. Thank you for also working on the overdrawn fees.

I note that the money has been returned to my account this morning, but with 0.00 available.  Why? It has been a stressful few days, as I have not even been able to buy milk and now that the money is technically back in my account, I still cannot buy milk.
Can you please make the funds available in my account?
 I received this response a short time after:

Hi Jenny,

I was to clear the funds this morning but got caught in a meeting. The funds are now available.

Regards,

XXXXXXXXX

Customer Relations Manager

Well, the money was released to my account, some days after the whole incident and now I feel as though I cannot trust Westpac’s banking system to not make this kind of error, nor their customer service people to fix it in a timely manner.  They did not indicate that they would get their IT people to look into this bug, so I can only assume that it will happen again, to someone else.

We ended up moving our savings to another bank – IMB – who we had moved some savings to last year as they had better interest rates.   In retrospect, when we went to open this account, we were given a meeting with a branch manager – unheard of at Westpac, unless, I suspect, you are a customer of Great Financial Importance, and not a pleb. The last time I tried to have a meeting at Westpac about something, I met with a guy (not sure of his position)  who could only answer my questions about superannuation, when I was also interested in how to get a home-loan. I didn’t want one there on the spot, indeed, I couldn’t have gotten one anyway, I just wanted some general insight. But he couldn’t give it.  Anyway, the branch manager at IMB Wynyard was great and she answered all of our questions, of which we had many.  We opened new transaction accounts with them the other day, and we will close our accounts with Westpac.

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