Friday, October 9, 2015

Dodgy banks do not inform customers of problem only once it's fixed

Think banks are dodgy?

Think they have your best interests (pun intended) at 'heart'?

Can you really trust Australia first bank?

This is quite simply put as misinformation by the bank.

If your banking transaction failed, as a result of Westpac and this happened in a place of business / trading maybe entertaining the idea of defamation of character should be followed up?

They don't tell you they stuffed up, only that they fixed a problem..... 

From the headline of 6 October 2015:

Internet banking finally restored after long weekend meltdown

St George customers were unimpressed by the long weekend internet banking outage.
CUSTOMERS of Westpac-owned St George Bank, the Bank of Melbourne and BankSA can finally to access internet banking after a frustrating outage that threw southern long weekend plans into disarray.
All three banks’ online and mobile phone platforms are up and running today, although some customers have been confronted with an error message when they try to login.

The banks have said on their Facebook page that this can be resolved by force quitting out of the mobile app and logging in again. Another option is to delete and reinstall the app.

“Some mobile banking apps may still appear not to be working after our recent outage,” St George Bank posted on Facebook.

“Rest assured, our mobile banking has been restored.”

Customers breathed a collective sigh of relief at being able to pay their bills, including those incurred in embarrassing “card declined” incidents over the weekend.

These scenarios prompted furious customers to vent on Facebook yesterday after being stranded at petrol stations and unable to pay their bills.

It is not known when the problem arose, but one customer told their St George Bank their account issues began on Friday.

Many complained that the bank had not alerted them earlier to the meltdown, which happened when data was corrupted on the mainframe computer powering core banking systems during a routine IT maintenance upgrade.

The banks only alerted customers yesterday, via Facebook, that there was a problem.

Those who tried to logon were greeted with an error message stating that customers could still use their credit cards and withdraw cash from ATMs and EFTPOS.

However, several customers contacted stating that they had been unable to get money out.
“When attempting to withdraw cash this morning, several St George and Westpac ATMS were down and not accessible — and I was also unable to withdraw through Commonwealth Banks ATMs,” said a customer, who did not wish to be named.

And the prospect of ATM access was little consolation to those who needed to transfer money between accounts to pay for essentials such as bills and rent — not to mention those who are on holidays interstate and overseas.

The bank’s branches were closed for Labour Day yesterday in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, and the ACT, making it even more frustrating for those who could not access funds.

Customer Naomi Cantale deemed the outage “utterly disgraceful”, writing on St George’s Facebook page that she was left stressed and exhausted after being stranded at a cafe.

“Stuck not able to pay for our lunch and unable to leave,” Ms Cantale wrote.

“Lucky a friend came to the rescue and paid half our lunch bill over the phone ... We are not happy.”

ATM access is no consolation to those who need to transfer funds.
ATM access is no consolation to those who need to transfer funds.Source:AFP

Families travelling overseas saw their holiday plans severely curtailed, with a lack of cash forcing them to downgrade their dream holidays.

“We are in Hawaii on our honeymoon and missing out on stuff,” wrote Queensland’s Chris Buckley.

“It’s been like this for days now. Not happy, this shouldn’t be happening — we have been patient, we have been eating hot chips for days. I want a steak!”

Others faced the dire prospect of bring unable to buy food, such as Jane Malins, who wrote to

“I was meant to be paid today, went and did my food shopping and when I got to the check out my card was declined,” Mrs Malins said.

“I had to walk out of Aldi with out my shopping to check what was going on. It was very embarrassing and frustrating.”

She said her husband, who banks with Westpac, was due to get paid on Wednesday.

“I hope it’s fixed by then, because if not we are stuffed and will be staying at my in-laws just so we can eat.”
Ian Rinebarger told he was stranded in Vietnam with no way to access his funds.

“I transfer money over when needed only, as using one’s card overseas can be risky, so I keep my balance low in the account attached to my card,” Mr Rinebarger said.

“How do I access my money now that internet banking is down? There should be a backup system in place to prevent this from occurring.“

Another family faced the prospect of having to check out of their hotel without cash to settle the bill.

“We are thousands of kilometres away from home, leaving to fly back into Sydney tonight with three children,” Michelle Meehan wrote.

“Need to check out of our hotel before 5pm today, return a hire car etc. How do you suppose we do that if internet banking isn’t up? We have everything with St George, time to shop around! If we were at home it wouldn’t be so bad — but we are on holidays with children! So it’s not just a little inconvenience.”

Mrs Meehan told that the family had travelled interstate for a wedding and were left stressed and out of pocket by the meltdown.

“Instead of enjoying family holiday time that’s cost us a small fortune to get here we are stressed, constantly checking for updates and limiting our expenses to help minimise the stress and anxiety of what it will cause if we can’t pay,” she said.

“Since Friday have been trying to pay for things and it gets declined on and off. Our 13-year-old daughter was in a hair salon having a wash and blow-dry yesterday, for a wedding that we have paid $3000 in airfares to attend — and couldn’t pay for the service after it had been completed. I had to drive back to the hotel rummage through bags to find the cash so then exhausted all of our cash.”

Then, unable to pay for a cab ride to get to the wedding, the family had to keep their hire car for an extra day — a bill they are unsure if they will be able to settle before boarding their plane home, or fill up the tank to avoid a costly fuel surcharge.

“Our kids and their cousins who they never see — and haven’t since my mum passed away three years ago — aren’t able to go with their cousins to an event today,” she said.

“This wedding is also like a family reunion, people have flown in all over for this and as a whole family it is very rare, and we can’t join in on activities that cost money ... A day I can tolerate and understand, but three days I cannot accept. And to think my story isn’t even the worse, there are others that are in more of a pickle then we are.”

When users attempt to login to St George internet or mobile phone banking, a message stated: “The problem has arisen following a regular upgrade to the bank’s computer systems over the weekend. We are currently working to restore banking services as quickly as possible and apologise to customers for the inconvenience that this incident has caused.”

The Westpac-owned banks were the latest hit by a string of IT meltdowns that have also affected the Commonwealth Bank and NAB.

A Westpac spokeswoman said online, mobile and telephone banking was progressively restored last night.
“Customer transactions undertaken over the weekend should be processed by Tuesday,” the spokeswoman said.

“We are very sorry for the inconvenience that this has caused many customers. The bank will waive fees and other charges for those customers needing to access emergency funds through their credit card cash advance facility.”

* No 'heart in a bank.

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