ATM Dispute/Claim Was Denied

Oct 20th, 2008, 11:57 AM
  #1  
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ATM Dispute/Claim Was Denied

Hi, is there anyone who ran into this situation?

When I was in Barcelona a few weeks ago, I cancelled two ATM withdrawls in succession in two different banks because they both were going to charge me fees.

When I came back I found out my account was debited. I called to dispute both withdrawals. The first one was reversed, and there was a provisional credit on the second withdrawal.

But I just got a letter saying the claim was denied, and the only recourse I had was to dispute again.

I'm very sure that I didn't get the money. Has this ever happened to you?

Basically when I reviewed my statements I made four withdrawals in Barcelona. The first one was fine. The next two were done within one minute of each other (for the reason I explained above) and then the last one was done about ten minutes later when I walked to a different ATM down the street. That's why I'm really sure that I didn't get any money from the two withdrawals.
111op is offline  
Oct 27th, 2008, 11:11 AM
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I'm confused about one thing. Where did you get the idea that the Barcelona bank was going to charge you a fee to use their ATM? European bank ATMs simply don't do that! Or were you using a non bank ATM, like one at a convenience store? I'm confused because you specifically say "in two different BANKS" so I can't understand what made you think they were going to charge you.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Oct 27th, 2008, 11:55 AM
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I was wondering about that, also, so it must not have been a bank? I've never been charge an ATM fee by a bank ATM in Spain, but I haven't been there in a couple years so who knows. I presume there was a message saying there would be a fee, that's what ATMs in the US do if you are not in their network and are a US customer, they tell you there will be a fee.

I have cancelled some ATM withdrawals in Poland, or something similar, I forget the details -- and I was not charged the withdrawal as I was a little worried so made sure to check that I wasn't charged.
Christina is online now  
Oct 27th, 2008, 12:24 PM
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The Bank of Santander is or had been charging a hidden conversion fee when using a non-Euro based Bank ATM card in their ATM machines, similar to the DCC (Dynamic Currency Conversion) scheme. The transaction was done in Spanish, but the printout was in English, listing the transaction in both Euros and USD, which was strange. When we checked, the exchange rate was nearly 5 points higher that the official bank rate for that day. This was on top of the standard ATM foreign exchange fee charged by VISA and our own bank.
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Oct 27th, 2008, 04:17 PM
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I am pretty sure one bank was Barclays and the other was Santander, but I really can't remember for sure.

In one case, I believe that there was a screen message that said that I'd be (or could be) charged a fee. In the other case (actually the first transaction I cancelled, I believe, but I can't remember), it was evident to me that the exchange rate was poor -- well over 1.50 at that time. I think the ATM didn't explicitly mention a fee, but it was clear to me that there was a very severe markup in the exchange rate, so I cancelled the transaction. Basically there was a screen that specified the equivalent in dollars, and since I was withdrawing 100 euros, it was clear that the exchange rate was bad.

I made two withdrawals that day. One was at an ATM in the tourist info office by Plaza Catalunya. After I cancelled the two transactions, I withdrew money from a Deutsche Bank.

When I checked the transactions online, the two cancelled transactions had time stamps within one minute of each other. The two withdrawals that went through both logged the same exchange rate, which was 1.43+.

Anyway, I've asked Citi to dispute the charge again. But I really don't know what to do if the dispute fails again. It seems like I have no recourse. I'm pissed off about this.
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Oct 27th, 2008, 04:22 PM
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Reading what Robert wrote, I'd guess that Santander was the one that was charging the exorbitant exchange rate.

I just checked my records online. The exchange rate was 1.5783. The exchange rate for the transactions that went through was 1.4348. It's insane what that bank did -- that's a fee of around 10%!

This charge was reversed by Citi, no questions asked.

I guess the other one was probably with Barclays. Is it possible to see if there's a Santander right next to Barlcays on Passieg de Gracia? I don't know how this can help Citi resolve my dispute though. The letter in the mail claimed that the ATM records were reconciled that day and the bank found no discrepancies. I'm quite sure that I didn't take out any money there. I'd not have withdrawn another 100 euros from a Deutsche Bank down the road later if I had withdrawn 100 euros 15 minutes earlier.

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Oct 27th, 2008, 04:33 PM
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i have spanish credit cards and if i do not use the atm my bank supports, then i ALWAYS get a message that says " you will be charged a fee for this transaction. Do you still want to continue? YES or NO."

I would be livid. what i am not sure is if you cancel a transcaction if you also receive a paper receipt. i know you do when you finalize one. seems hard to prove. how can a machine make that mistake TWICE?

unless it was one of these scams where the professional thieves have a way to get your number from that machine, (they install something or are sitting in cars with some amazingly unbelievable equipment).. maybe this is what happened?

it is VERY common, unfortunately. they are finding these groups all over and warning people about street ATMs, although i have to admit i haven't heard anyting this month, but it has been on the news a LOT this year.

good luck.

lincasanova is offline  
Oct 27th, 2008, 04:34 PM
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But I'm still confused why you would have canceled the transaction before taking place. None of these would have informed you that they were going to charge you, would they? And I've never heard of an ATM that tells you what the exchange rate will be -- that is determined by your own bank back home, not by the bank where you withdraw the money from. Is that something brand new? How can a European ATM tell you the rate your US bank is going to charge you?
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Oct 27th, 2008, 04:37 PM
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When I was in Madrid last year, I clearly remember trying one ATM and they did charge a fee. It asked if I wanted to accept the fee and continue. I thought it was strange so I canceled the transaction, walked down the street and used one that did not. I can not remember the bank name and it was on the street not in a convenience store. When I got home, I checked my account and was not charged.
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Oct 27th, 2008, 04:42 PM
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NeoPatrick, I don't know why you are confused. I'm telling the story as I remember it. Perhaps it was what lincasanova described -- i.e. that there was a screen that said I could be charged a fee. Since I didn't want to run a risk, I cancelled the transaction.

I've seen these messages in Paris ATMs as well.

With the other transaction, yes, the ATM did specify the exchange rate or the equivalent in dollars. Again, I don't remember the specifics, but it was enough to prompt me to cancel the transaction.

And no, this is not something brand new. When I withdraw money from a Citibank ATM in Europe -- or I should withrew, as the number of Citbanks in Europe seems to be shriking rapidly -- I was always told what the exchange rate would be. For example, this applies at the ATM near Gare Centrale in Brussels.

It's really quite simple, Patrick, and I hope this clarifies it for you.

Now, lincasanova, I doubt that there was a group that operated behind the scenes. If they had my number, they would be doing a few charges, but there was only one charge that I'm disputing. Also as I mentioned, the time stamps of the transactions were logged in my records. And I was able to review them online. Someone else would have to take out the money right at the time specified, and I believe the time stamp was correctly specified. Since it wasn't me, and I didn't see anyone else taking out money from the ATM at that time, then the ATM must have made a mistake.
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Oct 27th, 2008, 04:45 PM
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And no, I didn't get any receiptes that indicated cancellations.

Actually sometimes I don't even get receipts for withdrawls. I always get one if I can, but occasionally I can't because the ATM in question doesn't allow it.

This is the first time I remember having trouble with a foreign withdrawal. They credited my account initially, but then denied my dispute. So I had to redispute. As I said, this really pisses me off.
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Oct 27th, 2008, 04:47 PM
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Sorry -- a small clarification. I'm not sure if the Citibank ATMs tell you the exchange rate -- I think they do, but they will always tell you what the dollar equiavlent is.

But I don't know if this only works if you have a Citibank ATM card. I don't think so, as I believe the Citibank ATMs in Europe are not regarded as Citi ATMs anyway (for a US Citi account holder).
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Oct 27th, 2008, 04:51 PM
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OK, It has been almost a year since I've been to Europe. I was unaware that ANY European banks now charge a fee to use an ATM -- that IS brand new news to me (since summer of 2007), as it was always totally forbidden.

And it is also news to me that somehow a bank in Europe knows what rate of exchange your bank back in the US will charge you. I guess that's a new miracle of modern technology. All I ever did was withdraw X number of euros. I never had a clue how many dollars that would be. But I did that dozens and dozens of times over the years.

Sorry, I didn't know that banks in Europe now can charge a fee for ATM withdrawals or tell you what your bank rate of exchange will be. I apologize for my confusion.
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Oct 27th, 2008, 04:58 PM
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I don't know about that. I always get 1% charges on my withdrawals overseas, but it's not clear to me who imposes that -- whether it's Citi or someone else. But oddly for the withdrawals in Barcelona, there were no 1% charges. Not sure why. Maybe Citi has changed the rules. I sort of doubt that, as Citi has been doing so poorly.

I also seem to recall having seen screen messages warning you about fees before 2007. But I don't remember for sure.

And as I said, Citibank ATMs have specified the exchange rate and/or dollar equivalent for withdrawals for me for a while. This I'm quite sure about, as I try to use Citibank ATMs when possible.

Lately I've given up on that idea -- it seems that they have closed their branch on Champs-Elysees, and now the branch on Bond Street in London is closed. I've used all of these ATMs before (when they existed), and also Citibank ATMs near the train station in Munich, and I believe in Milan, and probably in quite a few other cities (Brussels, as mentioned).
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Oct 27th, 2008, 05:00 PM
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It seems the bank MUST know there is more money left in the ATM machine than should be.

i hope by insisting you get this worked out. be persistant.

don't give up.

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Oct 27th, 2008, 05:05 PM
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I know, lincasanova. That's why it's so disheartening when I got the letter saying that they reconciled the ATM records for that day and found nothing.

In the past I've never had this problem. I think that I've even had situations when the bank reverses the charged before I managed to catch on.

I'm just annoyed that I have to spend my time dealing with this. And I wasn't happy that the customer rep I talked to said that all they could do was to dispute the charge again. This just doesn't give me a great deal of confidence.

And it leaves me wondering what I should do in a future situation. Should I be aggressive about saving on a 1% (or x% fee) when I may end up being charged 100% of a withdrawal I didn't do? (Now I know the probability of a false record is evidently larger than 0.)
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Oct 27th, 2008, 05:46 PM
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Re: ATM "fee"

IME, some European ATMs will have a warning saying that I *may* be charged a fee by MY BANK, not the European bank ATM. At least, that's what I've seen using my BoA ATM card.

Re: exchange rate

I have never seen the exchange rate, or US$ equivalent, shown on the ATM screen ever.

I guess every bank's ATM cards are different.
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Oct 27th, 2008, 07:08 PM
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111op: I'm pretty sure you are either confused, or have simply forgotten what happened.

The Spanish ATM will not (and cannot) tell you what the final exchange rate will be. They have nothing to do w/ the "exchange" you get. You ask the machine for € and out comes €. It is not until the € debit is presented to your own bank that the exchange rate is set.

As far as the Spanish bank is concerned - there is no "exchange" happening. It is simply a € withdrawal.

So if you got that part wrong, it is possible you "mis-remembered" some other bits . . . . . .
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Oct 27th, 2008, 07:13 PM
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Janis, thanks for the insinuation. But I can assure that I am still pretty young -- younger than you anyway -- so my memory is quite all right!

I just don't know what it is about some people on this forum. If you were not there, please don't pretend that you know what happened.

And yes, the Spanish ATM told me what the exchange rate was, either implicitly or explictly. So that led me to cancel the transaction.

Why would I cancel it otherwise? Must I fax you a copy of my bank statement to prove this all to you?

And by the way, I got into all that detail about Citibank ATMs to show that they have been doing this for a long time. I wanted to provide this level of detail to show that I know what I'm talking about. Please don't talk to me as if I am an idiot. I am not. Thanks!


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Oct 27th, 2008, 07:17 PM
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And oh, janis, I get the insinuation and your point already with three dots. No need to use six dots for ellipses. I don't like it when people don't punctuate properly either.

I hear what you are saying, and no, I didn't make this up.

Why not check to see if there's a Barclays next to a Santander on Passeig de Gracia, if you have so much time on your hands? I'm pretty sure that I got that detail right. If so, I'm going to remember other details.

Believe me, I'm very detail oriented. And quite intelligent, if I may dare say so.
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