The NZ Herald reported how a woman accidently transferred $850 to the wrong Bank account because, as she freely admitted, she had typed in a wrong number, has been given $250 “compensation” by her Bank.
This arose after she complained to the Financial Services Complaints agency that the Bank had promised to “refund” her within 7 days but hadn’t done so. For a start it couldn’t “refund” her as it had not been the recipient of the mistaken payment. What it had promised was to try and get her money back, a generous gesture it was not obliged to offer, and that if it succeeded, she’d have it inside a week.
In the event the Bank had been unable to retrieve repayment from the accidental payee, thus her complaint.
The Bank had absolutely no obligation to this woman. However, it had generously tried to help by approaching the payee who’d refused to return the accidental payment. There was nothing more the Bank could do.
I imagine usually in such cases of accidental payments the intermediatory role offered by Banks works as most people on the receiving end of mistaken payments would readily return the money. Not to do so constitutes theft.
Here’s what bothers me about this. The woman freely admitted she made a mistake. However, she wants someone else to pay for it. It’s so very contemporary New Zealand. In making this token payment the Bank erred badly as it simply encourages others as half-witted as this woman to try and make someone else pay for their blunders.
Banks have always been popular whipping boys, most recently for alleged excess profits. Analysis showed that by normal criteria their profits here are not excessive. It’s time they took a tougher line and simply stuck to their depositary and lending business.
Banks act as depository for people’s money and as a financier to the public with loans. Yet some stupid people persistently demand things of them outside these roles.