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95 Westpac customers have complained to the Banking Ombudsman about payment processing glitch

Customers lodged complaints to the Banking Ombudsman after problems at Westpac left people in overdraft, and an inability to purchase basic goods.

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Customers lodged complaints to the Banking Ombudsman after problems at Westpac left people in overdraft, and an inability to purchase basic goods.

Almost 100 Westpac customers have lodged complaints with the Banking Ombudsman after technology problems left people with less money in their account, and an inability to purchase basic goods.

Last weekend multiple Westpac customers woke up to overdrafts after MasterCard credit and debit payments made on December 22 and 23 were not processed correctly and were instead put through on January 6.

One customer said she discovered on Saturday morning her account was $600 overdrawn for pre-Christmas shopping that she thought had already been deducted.

Many customers ended up with overdrawn accounts as a result and said they were put into a situation where they could not afford food or essentials for their children.

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On Wednesday the Banking Ombudsman said it had received 95 complaints from Westpac customers about the issue.

Banking Ombudsman Nicola Sladden said if Westpac did not resolve the complaints to the customer’s satisfaction, her office would investigate the specific concerns.

“Where an account has gone into unarranged overdraft or excess credit limit due to a bank error, we expect the bank to reimburse any associated fees and interest,” Sladden said.

If customers experienced distress, embarrassment, disruption to financial planning or financial difficulties, they may be entitled to compensation for stress and inconvenience from Westpac, Sladden said.

Westpac

Earlier this year, Westpac released an audio recording of a scammer pretending to be from the bank’s fraud prevention team to help people spot the red flags.

A Westpac spokesperson said the bank had been in contact with the Banking Ombudsman and will work with it to address any complaints.

“We are continuing to work with our customers to resolve any outstanding issues that arise as a result of the delayed processing of transactions,” the spokesperson said.

On Monday Westpac advised customers who thought they had been double-charged for their transactions to go back through their statements.

While the bank said it was only a payment processing issue, some customers said they had been charged twice.

One man told Stuff he had woken on Saturday to a $303 overdraft.

“The money was taken out of my account at the time of transaction and has been taken out again. I know the money left my account on the days of the transaction as I transfer money from my savings to my everyday for the specific transaction.

“This has added a massive amount of stress over the Christmas period for me and my wife. What’s also unacceptable is the only correspondence from Westpac on this issue was a single Facebook post that is factually incorrect as many, many people on the post have pointed out. No emails or calls or anything to warn people they would be in overdraft over the Christmas period.”

Westpac sent an email to customers on Monday morning.

A spokesperson said on it was likely that people who believed they had been charged twice had seen the transaction when it was still processing.

It would have then dropped off again before being reprocessed last week.

The spokesperson said people who were worried should check their statements for the 22nd and 23rd to see what had gone through.

Anyone who was worried should contact the bank.

Westpac said it would waive fees associated with overdrafts resulting from the error, and some customers may be able to access a refund.

The bank has refused to say how many customers were affected.

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