Someone Bought A House Of Card-Fraud

, , , , | Working | April 11, 2018

(My friend is 16, with a specific bank account which does not allow card transactions or payments over £250. She rarely uses the account, and has about £100 sitting in there. She gets a rather nasty letter from the bank one day, stating she’s £900 overdrawn and will incur high fees with it potentially going to court. She’s extremely upset. I go with to the bank to try to get it sorted; I’m only a little bit older, but I look like I’m in my early 20s and people genuinely listen to me more because of it.)

Friend: *to the bank teller* “I want to know how I’m £900 overdrawn.”

Bank Teller: *condescendingly* “When you buy something, it uses money from your account. You have to make sure you have enough in there, or you owe us money.”

Friend: “But I didn’t buy anything.”

Bank Teller: “Well, you obviously did.”

Friend: “But I didn’t! I had £100 in it a couple of days ago.”

Bank Teller: “Which you obviously spent, and then some; otherwise, you wouldn’t be overdrawn. Get lost so I can do my job.”

(I step in.)

Me: “This is your job. Your client has stated that there is an unknown transaction, which means there’s possibly fraud involved. You have to look into it.”

(My mum works in banking, so I know that if I mention fraud, the teller has to look into the account. The teller scowls at me, but brings up the account.)

Bank Teller: “On [date a couple of days ago], there was a transaction of £1,000. Is this transaction familiar?”

Friend: “No!”

Bank Teller: “You’re a liar.”

Friend: “I’m not; my bank account doesn’t allow transactions over £250.”

Bank Teller: “Well, obviously it does, as you did.”

Me: “She has your student account, meaning it’s a cash-only card. Cash-only cards can only be used for taking money out, and you can only take out £250 a day. It has also been set up so you can only do payments of £250 via bank transfer. Who’s the money to?”

Bank Teller: “Erm… [Real Estate Company].”

Me: “It’s a deposit for a house?”

Bank Teller: *now looking sheepish* “Yes?”

Me: “Do you really think a 16-year-old is putting a deposit on a house?”

Bank Teller: “Well… She could.”

Me: “Not with a student account that has only had a £100 in it from when it was first opened, they don’t. How would she pass the credit checks, firstly?” *to my friend* “[Friend], we probably should also contact [Real Estate Company], as I reckon it’s their error, or a digit in the wrong place.” *to the teller* “You need to get the £1,000 refunded and make sure the overdraft fees are taken off, and you also need to issue some kind of statement of apology explaining how you could let a thousand-pound transaction go through on an account without £1,000 in it, and why my friend shouldn’t just cancel her account with you, period. You also need to apologise to her personally for being so bloody rude.”

Bank Teller: *meekly* “I’m very sorry. I’ll get this refunded and make sure any fees are removed. I’ll talk to my manager, too.”

(We did also contact the real estate company, who were extremely apologetic for the account error. They gave my friend £500 for the inconvenience! The bank also contacted her, putting £100 in her account as an apology for letting the transaction go through and for the nasty letter.)

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