ATM did not issue (dispense) cash - bank has charged me though

Before starting, just like to say, in over 25 years of using ATM's, this has never happened before. So, It's in no way a regular run of the mill occurrence.

Anyway, here goes. Last Monday, I used a Vietnamese bank ATM to try and withdraw 10,000,000₫  with my Halifax Clarity card. I've withdrawn this amount from this particular ATM in the past without any issue. This occasion however, the machine just spat out the card and gave an error on screen.

I tried to withdraw 5,000,000₫. This time the ATM displayed a different error. Something like 'transaction not allowed'. It was definitely a different message to the first attempt. I tried 5 million again. Same error ‘transaction not allowed'.

The next day I called my card issuer, Halifax Bank. The customer service (CS) agent said he cannot do anything until the transaction has gone through (it was still in the 'pending' state). He said, monitor the account tomorrow, if the transaction appears in recent transactions then give a call back and a dispute can be raised. If it drops off from pending transactions then nothing needs to be done. He checked the account and said the reason for the second and third attempts to be refused was because it would have taken me over the daily limit of £400.

Anyway, the next day I checked the account using the Halifax app and it was showing a transaction for £347 in recent transactions.

Called Halifax again, spoke to a different CS agent, who raised a dispute. He said it will take 7-10 working days to be resolved. He explained that the ATM owning bank has to investigate. I asked if the interest will also be refunded. He said both the transaction amount and interest will be refunded if the ATM bank finds that there was an imbalance.

I was wondering if anyone has experienced similar?..how long did it take for the money to be refunded to your account?

HenryJo :

I was wondering if anyone has experienced similar?..how long did it take for the money to be refunded to your account?

It has never happened to us in Vietnam, but similar occurrences happened quite often when we lived in Italy. 

The procedures to file a complaint with the local bank was much more complicated than just picking up the phone.  One of us had to guard the ATM while the other immediately reported to the ATM's hotline number, then waited for hours until someone from the bank or the nearest carabinieri (national police) to seal the ATM.  The next day, we would be the first persons entering the bank when the door opened to request a receipt pulling and money counting from the ATM.  Then the bank would write a statement on the result of the count to determine whether the ATM truly ate our money.  If it didn't, then a vague explanation was given so our bank could start an investigation on the other end. 

After that, the wait usually took 5 days.

ATM snafu is the reason expats should have 2 accounts and 2 ATM cards with enough money to live on for at least one or two weeks while waiting.

Ciambella :
HenryJo :

I was wondering if anyone has experienced similar?..how long did it take for the money to be refunded to your account?

It has never happened to us in Vietnam, but similar occurrences happened quite often when we lived in Italy. 

The procedures to file a complaint with the local bank was much more complicated than just picking up the phone.  One of us had to guard the ATM while the other immediately reported to the ATM's hotline number, then waited for hours until someone from the bank or the nearest carabinieri (national police) to seal the ATM.  The next day, we would be the first persons entering the bank when the door opened to request a receipt pulling and money counting from the ATM.  Then the bank would write a statement on the result of the count to determine whether the ATM truly ate our money.  If it didn't, then a vague explanation was given so our bank could start an investigation on the other end. 

After that, the wait usually took 5 days.

ATM snafu is the reason expats should have 2 accounts and 2 ATM cards with enough money to live on for at least one or two weeks while waiting.

Ironically, the OP's post might give some of us pause who prefer larger withdrawal limits.

I prefer MB bank with ₫5,000,000 VNĐ limit per withdrawal.

However, if this happened to me on an ACB bank ATM, I would only be out ₫3,000,000 VNĐ (their per withdrawal limit).

I stopped using Vietinbank because of the  ₫2,000,000 VNĐ per withdrawal limit, but that would be a safer option when it comes to ATM dispensing failure.

Ciambella :
HenryJo :

I was wondering if anyone has experienced similar?..how long did it take for the money to be refunded to your account?

It has never happened to us in Vietnam, but similar occurrences happened quite often when we lived in Italy. 

The procedures to file a complaint with the local bank was much more complicated than just picking up the phone.  One of us had to guard the ATM while the other immediately reported to the ATM's hotline number, then waited for hours until someone from the bank or the nearest carabinieri (national police) to seal the ATM.  The next day, we would be the first persons entering the bank when the door opened to request a receipt pulling and money counting from the ATM.  Then the bank would write a statement on the result of the count to determine whether the ATM truly ate our money.  If it didn't, then a vague explanation was given so our bank could start an investigation on the other end. 

After that, the wait usually took 5 days.

ATM snafu is the reason expats should have 2 accounts and 2 ATM cards with enough money to live on for at least one or two weeks while waiting.

Looks like you had a follow a completely different procedure. My UK bank (card issuer) policy is to report it to them, then they follow-up. I wasn't told to guard the machine or even contact the local Vietnamese bank staff.

You don't mention the bank and country of your card issuer. But I have a feeling that it may be an Italian Bank.

OceanBeach92107 :

........
Ironically, the OP's post might give some of us pause who prefer larger withdrawal limits.

I prefer MB bank with ₫5,000,000 VNĐ limit per withdrawal.

However, if this happened to me on an ACB bank ATM, I would only be out ₫3,000,000 VNĐ (their per withdrawal limit).

I stopped using Vietinbank because of the  ₫2,000,000 VNĐ per withdrawal limit, but that would be a safer option when it comes to ATM dispensing failure.

Are you 100% sure the same could not have happened had I opted to withdraw 2 x 5,000,000₫. i.e. machine fails to dispense 5,000,000₫ but charges me, then when I try again to withdraw 5,000,000₫, it fails again but charges me.

Remember the CS agent of my card issuing bank did say the ATM didn't process my second attempt (for 5,000,000₫) due to hitting the limit. So, it wasn't a case of the machine detecting there was something wrong and refusing the transaction. I sense that if it was the latter, it wouldn't have processed my initial transaction to begin with.

HenryJo :
OceanBeach92107 :

........
Ironically, the OP's post might give some of us pause who prefer larger withdrawal limits.

I prefer MB bank with ₫5,000,000 VNĐ limit per withdrawal.

However, if this happened to me on an ACB bank ATM, I would only be out ₫3,000,000 VNĐ (their per withdrawal limit).

I stopped using Vietinbank because of the  ₫2,000,000 VNĐ per withdrawal limit, but that would be a safer option when it comes to ATM dispensing failure.

Are you 100% sure the same could not have happened had I opted to withdraw 2 x 5,000,000₫. i.e. machine fails to dispense 5,000,000₫ but charges me, then when I try again to withdraw 5,000,000₫, it fails again but charges me.

Remember the CS agent of my card issuing bank did say the ATM didn't process my second attempt (for 5,000,000₫) due to hitting the limit. So, it wasn't a case of the machine detecting there was something wrong and refusing the transaction. I sense that if it was the latter, it wouldn't have processed my initial transaction to begin with.

Sure, that would certainly be possible.

Me being less courageous and more reactionary than you, I'd likely be running away from the ATM after the first failure, and directly into the associated bank to get them to check the security camera footage ASAP and confirm I hadn't received any cash.

Never bank with ICBC. they gave me a 8000RMB (1000US$) stack of fake notes printed on A4 paper. At their main branch in the central business district of shanghai> Despite receipt, cameras everywhere they refused to refund me the money. It can only be loaded by staff from inside the branch.

Then a few days later I saw ICBC had the biggest IPO ever, and their ATMs in their most important branch in Lujiazui dish out A$ paper money they refuse to re-imburse you for. What a joke!

Also does anyone else have an Agribank VISA card. They give you the four digit secret code and go tell you to change it at the ATM, but u cannot do anything at the ATM without a 6 digit code..............

I've also spent 4-5 hours opening accounts i'm not allowed to deposit money in despite TRC, VN child etc

Wetstern banks r crap but u can see why the commies don't allow the competition.

OceanBeach92107 :

...I'd likely be running away from the ATM after the first failure, and directly into the associated bank to get them to check the security camera footage ASAP and confirm I hadn't received any cash.

I used the ATM at around 9:45 pm. Atm was located just outside the branch (on the side of the front entrance). The branch was closed at that time.

The reason for the 2nd attempt was because then I know the cash won't be issued soon after I had left. Also, the error message on screen was really obscure and disappeared before I could read it properly. (perhaps this should be taken as sign that something is wrong)

The closest similar experience I've had before (I think this was in Vietnam a while ago) was where an ATM would tell me there is a problem and shut down, so no further transactions were possible. I wasn't charged for the transaction on that occasion.

Quick update: Halifax card operations has sent a letter soon after my call on 25 September. I only just received it the other day, because I'm abroad (and it had to be forwarded on to me).

On the letter it says they need 'written communication of the full nature of your claim, detailing the circumstances surrounding your claim (including if you have attempted to resolve the matter with the retailer)'

then it says 'we will review your case in 21 days on 16/10/2019. If we have not heard from you we will attempt to contact you again'

The letter had a phone number and email address. I've emailed them detailing what happened. Also, emailed a picture of the ATM which shows a CCTV camera on top right of ATM.

If the ATM were to magically balance, the CCTV footage should confirm that I did not receive the money.

Anyway, it appears that CS agent who said it takes only 7-10 working days to be resolved, was telling me fairy tales.

Update: Received another letter from halifax bank saying they've temporarily refunded the transaction amount pending further investigation with the retailer (it's actually a bank - seems halifax sends the same standard retailer disputes letter for ATM transaction disputes also). Apparently, it can take up to 45 days to resolve.

They've said 'should further information be received we will contact you at that time'.

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