Bank makes spectacular error, not in my favor

This saga began today when Mrs. J. stopped at the Great Speckled Midwestern Bank’s drive-thru to make a deposit in our joint account. The aged clerk seemed a bit confused but took care of the transaction.

Later, checking the account online, Mrs. J. finds that, instead of the positive balance she was expecting, we seem to have incurred a slight overdraft. To be exact, our account is in the red to the tune of

ONE POINT EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS.

Holy crap! I know I went a little overboard with the flower and vegetable seed orders this past week, but I think I would have remembered spending that much.

A fast call to the Great Speckled Midwestern* ensues, and after they "look into it’ we get an apologetic callback. It seems that there was, er, a bit of a computer glitch which has been fixed, and we no longer are threatened with going to debtors’ prison.

It might be a good idea to keep a close eye on things for awhile, though. And if you hear a news report that says “Ohio Doper Arrested For Multi-Billion Dollar Embezzlement Scheme”, don’t believe a word of it.

*not its real name.

About forty years ago, a friend suggested to me that I should keep my money in two (or more) separate accounts at different banks, just in case some fuck-up happens. Granted, it could probably get straightened out – eventually – but in the meanwhile, you don’t have use of your money.

I’ve never had a problem like that. But, with my money in more than one bank, I’ve never had to lay awake at night worrying that some such thing would happen either.

I always assumed banks were pretty much fool-proof - they have to be with all that money they deal with. Now that I’m getting into the field of accounting, I learn they screw up plenty. Not scary often, but enough that part of my job will be to argue with the banks when their records don’t reach mine. The accountant frequently wins.

In 1977 I opened my first checking account. I was extremely careful, but a few months later I received a letter saying that I’d bounced some checks.

Went to the bank with all my cancelled checks and the last statement. The customer service person couldn’t find a problem either. She ordered a printout of my bank account (remember this was 1977 and a rural bank).

The next day she called and said it was a computer error. For some reason it deducted $100 from my account to pay for someone else’s Savings Bond.

My bank makes mistakes scary often. It’s the bank we use for business so switching takes a bit of work, what with the loans and all the accounts etc. The thing is, the branch I go to, from what I can tell, is where they train everyone. I probably average a mistake a month. I know have the teller supervisor’s phone number and she gets a call each time they mess up. These aren’t little errors either. I’ve had three times where I’ve had to drive back to the bank because they only handed me $200 of my $350 change order. I told the supervisor that next time I’m going to make them drive it to me (it’s the teller that usually calls to tell me they didn’t hand it to me). She said I should do that since it’s not my fault, I shouldn’t have to count the money they hand me.

My favorite was when I found $50 missing from my account, listed as MISC DEBIT. After they spent a few hours trying to figure out what happened it turned out that at the end of the night their vault/tills/computers were off by $50 so they randomly grabbed $50 out of my account to make it work…like I wasn’t going to notice that. I very nicely said “Could you please put a note in my account that says if you need to randomly take money out of someones account to not use mine”. They did put it back, how nice of them. I’m always surprised they told me the truth about that. Instead of basically telling me that a teller stole it, why not tell me it was supposed to be debited from another account and they straightened it out now.

Most recently, several deposits I had made the previous day where nowhere to be found…literally. Turns out that teller hadn’t ‘batched out’ her computer. How they balanced everything that night with one computer not batched out, I don’t know. I think at least three people fucked up that day, possibly four or five.

I opened a checking account in the early 80’s. About a year later a $200 deposit showed that I did not make. I contacted the bank, they said they would look into it. I never heard back from them. The next month it happened again. I went to my local branch and tried to clear it up. They said they would check into it. This happened for 8 consecutive months. I left the money in the account and never touched a penny of it. I closed the account about 6 years after I opened it and was given the $1600. Don’t know where it came from, all I could say was thank you.

Many many years ago I looked at my online account and saw a $1000 withdrawal, got really nervous and then saw a $1000 deposit right below it. I knew what happened, my dad, who has the same name as me, moved $1000 into his bank account from his business account (all at the same bank), didn’t have the account number and just gave them his name. They moved the money, he didn’t see it online then called back and figured out what happened. They took the money from my account and put it in his. I put that all together in about 10 seconds. Then I thought about calling the bank and demanding to know why $1000 was taken out of my checking account without my authorization. Partially because I was still in shock from when I first saw that withdrawal and partially because I was still young and thought for a second they would say “gee sir I don’t know, I’ll just put it back, can I help you with anything else?”. I decided not to call once I calmed down a little.

If something like that happened to me, I would change banks immediately to a credit union. Oh, wait it did and I did! :slight_smile:

Credit Unions don’t make mistakes and never have tellers in training that make mistakes?
FTR, at least my case it’s just this one bank and their shitty tellers. I’ve had a fee free account at US Bank for 17 years and never had any problems with it. I have no intention of moving it anywhere else.

And if you think similar things don’t happen there, you’re dreaming. It’s really just a matter of catching such things before the customer notices and with online banking, you’ve only got seconds where you used to have days. Leading digit errors (the first digit of the amount field reading as a number) were fairly common for the 20 years I worked in banking, which is why everyone has software that checks for it - the opposite scenario is someone getting an extra million or so, after all.

From a regulation standpoint, you used to be on better footing with a big bank and errors than a credit union - they were less closely regulated. That has, IIRC, changed.

My bank didn’t make a deposit or withdrawl mistake, they unlinked a line of credit from my checking account. Since it isn’t legal to have the arrangement we had any longer - but old accounts were grandfathered in, it was sort of a big deal. They fixed it, but it took weeks and getting to the guy with superpowers to do it.

We got rung up at a little museum gift shop in the amount of $76,410,081,785.00 last May. I kept a souvenir picture. Whatever crap we bought in the shop is nowhere near as memorable.

I wouldn’t pay a penny over 75 billion for Chinese-made knicknacks. You got ripped off.

Changing banks because of one error is stupid, especially if they make good on it. It’s rare to see debits on the wrong account and so forth these days, but mistakes do happen (and it’s the tellers and clerks, not “the computer” - so weigh things in the balance and change only if they’re really found wanting.

My cashiers do that at least once a day. On registers, like ours, where you have to key in each price and then hit a button, what happens is they put in a number (no decimals) then forget to hit the department button, then go onto the next item. So instead of
199 Cheese
799 Wine
299 Produce
For a total of $12.97

You end up with
199 Cheese
799299Produce
For a total of $7994.98

It’s even funnier if they had, say, 2 $2.99 produce items which would have resulted in a total of $15987.97. You should see a brand new cashier go all wide eyed when they do that for the first time.

I learned a similar lesson when I moved across the country and so changed banks (I was satisfied with my old bank, but they don’t have any branches here). I transferred all of my funds over at once. But apparently, banks don’t have any means of securely transferring funds between each other, so I was without access to any of my money for four weeks while they verified everything (and it would have been six weeks, if I hadn’t been going in every day to pressure them about it). If I had to do it again (which I don’t expect I will), I’d make the transfer in halves.

Yes. Never close all your accounts and go to a new bank in one move. Open the new accounts with minimums, and when you have the checks or debit cards or whatever in hand, and they’ve finished with initial-deposit holds, move 90% of your money there. Close out the old account after you get the next statement showing all activity is complete.

looks at seed stash
Ehh, maybe a little high…

Whenever I’ve had to move accounts (personal or business) I do it over the course of a month or two. Start putting money in the new account, update account numbers as I make payments on bills, change account numbers on automatic payments that I can think of and update ones that go through that I didn’t think of etc etc etc. After the old account has been stagnant for a month and I’m not worried about anything attempting to draw from it, then I can move the rest of the money over and close it.

Yep. I work in internet banking at a community bank. These issues come up on a daily basis–sometimes a human’s fault, sometimes a software problem. We always patch things up ASAP, often before the customer even notices, but there’s no way to prevent 100% of them. Too much potential for error at every step of the process.

My wife says the bank thinks we have $7000 more than she thinks we should have – i.e., she can’t find missing deposits – and refuses to acknowledge that money’s presence in our account. I keep telling her if the bank hasn’t removed it by now, it’s real.