Cancer Patient's 'Disgusting' Treatment By Commonwealth Bank After Alleged ATM Bungle
A young mum fighting bladder cancer said she was made to feel "like a thief" after an ATM allegedly swallowed $1400 she needed for chemotherapy, and she claims her bank did little to help her.
Katrina Chivell, from Scoresby in Victoria, was diagnosed with bladder cancer five months ago. She's been undergoing aggressive and expensive chemotherapy and treatment ever since, shelling out nearly $40,000 on medication, scans and appointments.
The 30-year-old mum of two young children said she went to a Commonwealth Bank ATM at her local shops a fortnight ago, and tried to withdraw $1400 for her next round of chemo. After inserting her card and punching in her PIN, Chivell claimed no cash was distributed, although it was recorded as a debit on her account.
"I called the bank and they told me to go to the branch that owns the ATM. I went to three different branches, and they all said they didn't own it," she told 10 daily.
"I had to fight with them for four hours on the phone and two hours in branches."
Chivell said there were security cameras at the ATM location which would have showed that no cash was distributed from the machine. After being asked if she had mistakenly pocketed the money and forgotten about it, Chivell said she emptied her bag and pockets in front of bank staff.
10 daily has contacted CBA for comment.
Desperately needing cash to pay for her treatment -- and not having any credit cards or loans -- she was given an overdraft payment by CBA for the amount she claimed to have lost, and given 28 days to pay it back.
But on Thursday, just two weeks later, Chivell claimed the bank called her to say it had closed its investigation into her claims of missing money, and was calling in the overdraft.
"They said the dispute is closed, and that's it. I asked what happened to my money, they said they couldn't explain in detail but there was no case there," she said of the phone call.
"I was pretty upset, I said that I'd just had treatment that day, and the woman said that that's not Commonwealth's problem."
Despite being told she would have 28 days to pay the overdraft back, Chivell said that $1400 was debited automatically from her account on Thursday.
She also claimed that a transfer from her husband's bank account, of a similar amount which has been transferred to her every fortnight for seven years, was held up for several days due to the bank flagging it as potentially 'fraudulent' activity.
When Chivell again contacted CBA to say she needed the money for a medical appointment that day, she claimed a customer service representative suggested she simply reschedule her appointment for a few days later.
"What hurts the most is they don't give a shit about my situation," Chivell said.
The young mum said she is still working two jobs -- one in community services and aged care, and one marking vocational assignments -- in between her medical appointments.
"I’ve got two kids under age two, I'm, still trying to work and pay for chemo, and this is how I'm treated," Chivell said.
"I haven't been sleeping, I'm so stressed. They were insinuating like I was a thief. They said maybe I forgot I put the money in my bag, so I opened my bag and threw it on the table for them to see."
A Commonwealth Bank spokesperson could not immediately comment on Chivell's claims, but told 10 daily a situation such as this would be unusual. The spokesperson outlined an accounting system in ATMs which would pick up a discrepancy such as someone not being given cash they had withdrawn.
Nonetheless, less than four hours after 10 daily contacted CBA for comment, Chivell was called by a customer service representative and offered her a payment of $1400 as "good will".
In later written correspondence seen by 10 daily, CBA said the $1400 was offered "to resolve the dispute".
In addition, she was also offered an extra $500 as "additional compensation", noting "your concerns that you have experienced an unusual amount of stress and inconvenience as a result of this matter."
In total, Chivell said she has now been credited $1900 by the bank.
"When they called and offered $1400, I said I didn't think it was fair, considering the amount of time I wasted, and I wanted something more," she said.
"It was extremely stressful the whole time. I still want an apology, but the person on the phone said they will try to train their staff better."
She said she and her husband will be closing their accounts with CBA.
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