Westpac customer calls out bank after teller's alarming question and claims they are 'punishing' him for using cash

Cautions used to prevent scams make sense but it is hard to see how the actions described below help anyone or anything. Bureaucratic stupidity would seem to be the best descriptions of them.  Banks should clearly have a better appeal process for such instances

In the circumstances, I am mildly surprised that when I recently transferred a sum in excess of  $10,000 to someone else I experienced no friction at all from CBA.  But I did put in the note field "school fees" so that was probably calming.  Expensive private school fees are well-known

An outspoken bank critic claims Westpac froze his accounts when he tried to withdraw $2,000 and would not allow the transaction until he told them what the money was for.

Author Crispin Rovere said it was only by showing the branch manager the publicity his previous run-in with Westpac generated that he was allowed access to his money.

'She then visibly panicked,' Mr Rovere told Daily Mail Australia.

However, he said he still had to wait 45 minutes before the manager came out and said the accounts were unfrozen.

'There is no conceivable explanation for this continued trespass other than seeking punish me for using cash,' Mr Rovere said.

A little more than a year ago Westpac froze his accounts when he tried to make a substantial cash deposit that was considerably less than the $10,000 threshold banks must report to the federal government. 

Mr Rovere said Westpac's 'anti-fraud team' were the stumbling block on both occasions and acted dismissively when he challenged them on their right to stop him using his funds the way he wanted.  

'The teller was in communication with the Westpac fraud team to get an explanation,' Mr Rovere said about the more recent funds denial.

'The fraud team demanded to know what the money was for. 

'When I said it wasn't any of their business the fraud team simply replied "if you are not willing to disclose what you want the money for we will not unfreeze you accounts. Thank you for contacting us, goodbye".'

It was then that Mr Rovere had to call in the manager. 

'I have since submitted another internal complaint regarding this incident but have yet to receive Westpac's reply,' Mr Rovere said. 

'Last time Westpac said that it was because the deposit was made from a state other than where it was opened. 'However, this time the freezing occurred when I was physically standing in a branch in the same state as the account was opened.'

Mr Rovere accused the bank of not being truthful when it issued him a statement about the block which read 'we've detected unusual online activity on your account'. 

'Westpac are straight liars,' he said.  'There was no "online activity" - I was literally standing in the branch in-person.' 

Mr Rovere is promoting a petition to federal Parliament that declares 'access to banking is a human right'.

'Banks must not be allowed to deny financial services to customers unless explicitly required by law,' the petition states.

Westpac said that 'due to confidentiality obligations we are unable to comment on individual customer matters'.

'In response to the high number of scams and fraud cases, we apply extra care to ensure the safety and security of customers,' a spokesperson said.

'This might include temporarily blocking an account when unusual activity is observed so relevant checks can be carried out.'

Last week TV personality Prue MacSween told Daily Mail Australia she had a similar experience where her 100-year-old mother was denied a substantial withdrawal unless she could answer questions on what she would be doing with the money.

'It's none of their God-damn business what she wants to do with it!' MacSween said.

'It's the Spanish Inquisition if you want to go in and take out a few grand you need a letter from your blasted mother telling you why you should be allowed to have the money. 

'It's just disgusting. It's your money and they are using it to make these huge profits and you have to justify why you are spending your money.

'I am offended we are all treated like we are money launderers for the simple act of wanting to take out money out.'

As further evidence of the control banks are asserting over their customers money last week Daily Mail Australia reported the Commonwealth Bank will limit customers from transferring more than $10,000 to crypto exchanges and associated websites.

A CBA spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia the move is to protect customers from scam risks by reducing the amount of money lost by customers. 

The spokesperson said the bank was trying to find a balance between keeping customers safe and minimising inconvenience. 

Other banks have used the same justification to impose similar blocks on certain sites, although without blanket transfer limits, and this has enraged Australia's crypto community.

Digital currency enthusiasts accused the banks of 'running scared' from a competitor that threatens to muscle in on the traditional financial industry.

'How does this actually help stop crypto scams? Blanket rules don't help anyone. Disgraceful,' crypto trader Ben Simpson posted online.

Daily Mail Australia also reported in June that the Commonwealth Bank reserves the right to stop transactions 'that in our opinion' are 'offensive, harassing or threatening to any person' or 'promotes or encourages physical or mental harm of any person'. 

A bank spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia the terms were to prevent 'to address the issue of financial abuse in the context of domestic and family violence'. 



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