As you’re likely aware, bank aren’t perfect. Sometimes they make mistakes. And sometimes those mistakes actually favor the customer. Over the past week I’ve been dealing with a fairly significant bank error in our favor – as they say in Monopoly – and thought I’d share the story.
A week ago this past Wednesday, I made a transfer from Bank A to Bank B. For a variety of reasons, none of which are very interesting, I had to do this by phone. So… I called Bank B, gave them the Bank A routing and account numbers along with the amount, and went merrily on my way.
The next day (Thursday), I decided to do another transfer in the same amount, so I again called Bank B, talked them through what I wanted to do, and once again went merrily on my way.
On Friday night, I checked both accounts. Much to my surprise, there were three deposits into my account at Bank B. Uh oh. It looks like one of the transfers got duplicated. Concerned, I checked Bank A. Two withdrawals had hit – was another one lingering out there in the ether?
Of course, we were heading into Labor Day weekend, so I’d have to wait extra long to find out. Isn’t that how it always works out?
Untangling the mess
Concerned that we’d get hit with a third transfer out of Bank A, I called both banks. Bank B said that they were only showing two transfer requests, and couldn’t explain the third deposit. Regardless, they promised to cover any fees that we might incur.
Over at Bank A, they were only showing two withdrawal requests so far. They further stated that, since there wasn’t enough in our account to cover the third transfer, it would simply be refused. We’d get hit with an NSF fee but, given the circumstances, they’d go ahead and waive it.
As of this writing, our banking situation still hasn’t been resolved. The third deposit is showing at Bank A, but the third debit has yet to hit Bank B. In other words, we’re currently sitting on a bunch of extra money. Great new, right? Well…
Resolving bank errors
As it turns out, even if a mistake such as this is entirely the bank’s fault, you’re not allowed to keep the misdirected funds. And if you try to do so, you might wind up getting yourself arrested. Seriously.
Here are three examples: one, two, three
When your bank figures out their mistake – and they eventually will – you’ll have to give the money back. Either that, or they’ll take it. Perhaps without warning. Thus, your best defense is to simply notify them of the error and leave the funds in place until things get straightened out.
Have you ever dealt with a bank error such as this?