The Banco de Oro ATM outside the new SM Sucat Building, the machine near Starbucks, ate P5000 of my hard-earned money last 28 November and has not given it back until today. I am not a BDO depositor, which makes me doubly-damned. Our payroll account is with Unionbank EON.
Granted, accounts debited without dispense are usually resolved between 10 to 15 banking days. That may mean almost a month, perhaps even more considering the coming holidays. Five thousand pesos is no joke to lose. I did not misplace it, I did not gamble it away, I did not spend it on stuff I did not need. No, Sam just tried to pull it out (at my request because I was in Masbate at the time) from Banco de Oro’s ATM which charges me P12 per transaction for doing so. I do not know if BDO still charged me the P12 for eating my money.
Sam reported the incident to BDO’s customer service center (he made the phone call from within the BDO branch inside that same SM building) within minutes. A customer service representative named Giselle told Sam that although the money may be returned within 24 hours, it usually takes between 5 to 10 banking days. Giselle also told Sam that she could not give him a reference number, since the card used was not a Banco de Oro card.
My co-worker Abi called Unionbank immediately after Sam reported the incident to her on the same day that it happened. Unionbank gave Abi a reference number that I can quote whenever I wanted to followup on the status of the money-eating incident. I called Unionbank a few minutes ago stating the Reference number, and I was informed that there has been no feedback from BDO at all since the reported incident.
With rising blood pressure I called BDO’s customer service at 631-8000. I repeated my concern to a Customer Service Representative named Allan. He said incidents like this usually took 10 banking days to resolve. I asked him if he knew why Unionbank has reported no feedback from BDO. He said he couldn’t help me. I asked him if Giselle was around, but he said she was on morning shift. He recommended that I call in the morning at 11am so I can catch Giselle.
I dislike the cavalier manner by which these customer service representatives treat incidents like this. This is not a matter of the depositor being careless, this is a machine failing under their responsibility. In fact, guards at the BDO branch were Sam filed a complaint reported that four other people had reported a debit without dispense on that day on that same ATM. It took them that long to post an Out of Order sign on the machine. It is an endless bout of finger pointing as to who should be responsible for returning my money (BDO says Unionbank will return my money, Unionbank says BDO has not told them to return it as of yet).
I have heard no apology from any BDO representative that we spoke to since this incident occurred, no “Pasensiya na po sa nangyari”. We are being made to feel that the ATM’s failing was our fault, and that we should have stuck to withdrawing from our own bank’s ATM machine. If that is so, then what is Bancnet and Megalink for? What is the P12 transaction fee for? What is the P2 charge every time we make a balance inquiry via other banks’ ATMs?
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(Update: Dec 9) Shortly before 10am today I called BDO again and spoke to Jason this time. I told him about my conversation with Allan last night.
Jason gave me a Case Number, contrary to Giselle’s report that I could not be given one since I was not a BDO depositor. Jason also asked for all my contact numbers, because BDO will call me as soon as there is a resolution to this incident. This is better news than the one Giselle gave Sam more than a week ago. However Jason said that resolution time is 10 banking days maximum. If it came to that, I don’t think I’ll see my money back before Christmas.
However, the helpfulness extended by Jason brings me a bit of hope. Will BDO come shining through for me this Christmas?
Let’s wait and see.
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(Update: Dec 10) After more than five calls to both Unionbank and BDO this morning I have been informed of the following:
- There is no record of my ATM Card number having done business with the BDO ATM at SM Sucat. This is what has been reported to me by at lesat three different BDO Customer Service representatives this morning who looked at my case number on file. They did say this could be because the ATM lost communications with their bank during transaction, when it came offline.
- Unionbank reports that they have been in contact with BDO ATM Center since the day the incident was reported, but there has been no feedback from BDO on the incident.
- BDO says they have not been contacted by Unionbank regarding the matter. BDO also says since there is no record of my ATM card having done business with that particular machine they are under no obligation to initiate communication with my bank.
This is pure b.s. If there is no record of my ATM card having transactions with their ATM machine how come I have in my hand a balance inquiry receipt from the same ATM machine that ate my P5,000 reflecting the balance of my account? I am sure they have a record of that transaction, as they also charged me two pesos for the balance inquiry, as well as P12 for the withdrawwal transaction which they say also does not exist.
Unionbank claims that their ATM center is in touch with BDO’s ATM center and that the matter is being expedited. Why does BDO customer care say there has been no feedback from Unionbank? Because that’s what the call center agents see on their system. In other words, the system isn’t worth the current it runs on. In simpler words, BDO’s system stinks.
This morning I spoke to Joey, Camille, Rommel, Reth and Me-ann of BDO Customer Care. None of them offered any token of apology for the incident, all succeeded in raising my blood pressure and distress by telling me the transaction I was claiming is not recorded for that particular ATM. This is unacceptable. If there was no record of the transaction why was there a transaction fee? I made two transactions on that machine, a withdrawal (debit without dispense) and a balance inquiry shortly after, both charged with the corresponding transaction fees. Why are they telling me that those transactions were not recorded?
Is it something to do with the four other victims of debit without dispense that the BDO guards told Sam about, just as they were putting the “Out of Order” sign on the machine? I’m sure the BDO Branch that handles that particular ATM has a record of the machine being reported as out of order, as they did put the sign on the machine. Can’t BDO trace that and confirm that the machine was indeed malfunctioning on that day?
BDO owes me more than just the P12 transaction fee to a failed transaction that has brought more inconvenience to my family that they can imagine. My daughter had to be taken to the ER that same week because of suspected dengue or UTI and we needed that money, money that a BDO ATM terminal ate because of a malfunction and which BDO is now claiming did not happen.
The case is still open and I am still hoping that BDO as well as my issuing bank Unionbank will come through for me before Christmas. Otherwise I may be saying good-bye to P5,000 of my hard earned money, but I’m telling you now I am not going to let that happen without a fight.
I’ll keep you posted.