TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: An Exciting Weekend With a Sneak Thief

Re: An Exciting Weekend With a Sneak Thief

Dan Lanciani (
Sat, 20 Aug 2005 04:28:07 EDT (DevilsPGD) wrote:

>> (John McHarry) wrote:

>> I had a rather large ACH transfer executed in the wrong direction a
>> while back. The company that screwed it up managed to straighten it
>> out, but the bank that was supposed to receive funds, and instead
>> disbursed them, didn't do squat.

> What was the bank's response when you asked them to reverse the
> unauthorized disbursal?

>> Apparently there is no security in that system beyond trusting
>> those who are admitted, which is pretty much all the big corporations.

> Proponents of the system claim that no further security is required
> because the paying bank is obligated to unwind the transaction upon
> the account owner's statement that the payment was unauthorized. On
> the other hand, some people report significant problems getting their
> money back after unauthorized ACH debits. They can't both be right;
> hence my question. (I realize that unwinding the transaction would
> have solved only half of your particular problem, of course.)

> Just because the bank is obligated doesn't mean they'll make it easy
> or fun. Ultimately you'll get your money back, but the hassle makes
> it sometimes not worth the pain.

That's an easy way to resolve the apparent conflict in stories, but I
would still like to hear the details on one or more specific incidents
from the actual participants.

Again, defenders of the system claim that all you have to do is affirm
to the bank that the transaction was unauthorized in order for it to
be reversed. It isn't obvious how a bank can make an affirmation
_that_ painful. I can see them requiring a particular form and maybe
a notary and/or having you swear before a witness or such. But if
they require much beyond that then the proponents' assertion is
clearly false. In particular, if by "ultimately" you mean after the
consumer has taken the bank to court and won and the bank has
exhausted all appeals then as a practical matter I would say that the
bank is not so obligated. :(

On the flip side, people have complained about losing significant sums
to ACH scams (such people may be making up these stories, of course)
and one would assume that it would have been worth at least some
hassle for them to get the bank to reverse the transaction.

Something just doesn't add up, so I'd still like to hear how the bank
responded in this case.

Dan Lanciani

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