News : Commonwealth Bank Scrambles to Refund Duplicate Charges
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, Aug 13, 2015 -- A disastrous glitch has left Commonwealth Bank customers high and dry, with some left with no cash to buy food or petrol this morning.
The bank charged customers double for purchases on their credit and debit cards and, in some cases, drained accounts completely.
The bank was unable to refund debit card customers overnight and, in some case, customers have woken to find additional charges on their statements.
It comes as the Bank of Queensland scrambles to process a backlog of payments after an overnight system failure left customers empty-handed on pension day.
Customers logging on to the CommBank mobile app this morning were told the remaining overcharged debit accounts would be restored throughout today.
This was not good enough for many, though, with the worst affected venting frustration on the bank’s Facebook page.
"I just had the police at the petrol station and told me they will be giving me a court notice for non payment of fuel, called CBA and they told me they would put a overdraft on my account — they ring me back 15 minutes later and say ‘sorry we cannot put one on your account’," wrote Shayne Trodden.
"I am still missing over $6000, I have absolutely zero funds and I need to be able to get to and from work," wrote Clare Messiter.
While Brant De Roos said: "I have a morning flight, and if this isn’t rectified soon I’ll have to reschedule. It would’ve saved me a lot of grief if you didn’t tell everyone the issue would be fixed overnight, as I could’ve organised this last night. This is just ridiculous!"
The bank’s harangued social media representative apologised profusely to its customers, inviting them to send a private message with contact details so that "we can further assist you".
Call centre staff have also been under the pump, with customers reporting long waiting times.
CBA spokeswoman Melissa Clare told news.com.au that customers in financial hardship were encouraged to visit their nearest branch for emergency assistance.
"If you were left without any cash, go into a branch and talk to one of our staff members," Ms Clare said. "These customers will be helped on a case-by-case basis."
Credit card customers have been refunded, although there was some confusion among some of those using the CommBank app, who misinterpreted the refund as a triplicate charge on their accounts.
Ms Clare said a system error was behind the duplicate charges and that the bank had not been hacked.
The double-charging error is understood to have happened on Tuesday night, with customers alerted yesterday morning.
The bank said, in a written statement, that duplicate credit card transactions had been refunded overnight and duplicate debit card transactions would be refunded today.
"Commonwealth Bank apologies to our customers who have been affected by duplicate card transactions. We can confirm duplicate credit card transactions have been refunded, and duplicate debit card transactions are being refunded throughout today. Both the duplicated and refunded transactions will appear. For more information on how this will appear, please visit the website".
The Bank of Queensland is also experiencing technical issues, with mobile banking down and pensioners unable to access their Centrelink payments today.
The bank said in a written statement: "We experienced a technical issue this morning which affected some services including internet banking and payments processing. This issue has been resolved with payments due today now being processed. BOQ apologises to affected customers for any inconvenience they may have experienced."
BOQ customers responded to a similar statement posted on the bank’s Facebook with a series of memes, which were promptly deleted.
News.com.au has asked the bank why it removed the memes.
Whatever the reason, it’s been a hell of a day so far for Australia’s banks. Let’s hope it all gets sorted soon.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Friday, August 14, 2015