A few months ago I made the mistake of transferring the rent into our Bpay electricity account. I immediately rang our bank to see if they could reverse the payment. They said they could but it would take six weeks to reach my bank account. We're talking hundreds of dollars here, a fortune for people on low income. The different between being able to pay the rent or not.
The bank person told me I would be better off contacting the electricity company and getting them to refund the excess. So, I rang them and they said they could do and I'd have the money back in my bank account in ten business days. Two weeks without that money. Luckily, our rent wasn't due during those two weeks.
It was an ordeal and I could not understand how it would take two to six weeks to have funds refunded when we live in a technological age and in the end it's just numbers on a computer. Actually, while I'm on the topic, why do transfers between banks take so bloody long as well? Or cashing cheques?
Skip to this morning. I made the same bloody mistake. Now, I have savings so it's not as dire as before, but still it's a lot of money and hassle, and especially with the Easter long week ahead of us. We're probably talking more than three weeks now to get a refund from the electricity company.
And you know WHY they take so long - I bet I do! I bet they hold onto the money to get more interest on it. If this happens a lot (and it probably does because people, like me, get distracted by trying to remember how to spell the word electricity, then we're talking thousands and thousands of dollars in interest accruing.
The difference between last time and this time is that in the meantime I changed banks. I ditched Bank of Melbourne in favour of ING. On a chance, I rang my bank this morning and asked if they could reverse the transaction. They said they could. And then they did. And it was instant. The money was back in my bank account within seconds. They said as long as I ring back within an hour of making the incorrect transaction, they can reverse it.
To be completely clear here, I had rung my previous bank immediately after making the wrong transfer, I mean within minutes of the transaction, and they said they couldn't reverse the transaction for six weeks.
I was so relieved this morning, I was actually laughing over the phone.
And then I got angry... Angry that my previous bank had screwed me over like that. Angry that they were probably screwing lots of people out there like this. Angry that they were getting away with it.
With my new bank account, I pay no fees - no fees. With my old bank I paid hundreds of dollars a year in fees - true story. These big banks are getting away with murder because they can - no one is holding them to account.
This is not a sponsored post and I would wholly recommend anyone reading this to change banks. Leave the big four. Screw them - because right now, they're screwing you! Go to ING, do it now! Seriously, I'm just amazed at how easy it was to get MY money back.
Do yourself a favour.
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