ATM Windfall
January 13, 2005 1:23 PM   Subscribe

I just went to my corner credit union ATM and made a $15 withdrawal. The machine gave me $80. Reflexively, I went into the branch, and reported it. They were appreciative. Two people virtually raced over to the back of the machine to shut it down.

At the time, it was a no brainer. But I am wondering if, since the receipt I got indicated a $15 withdrawal, and the cameras usually focus and faces, what would the traceability of it have been? I wonder if Diebold might have been stuck with the mistake. . .Maybe my honesty could have been turned into a political act, if Diebold would have lost out on the money. . .
posted by Danf to Work & Money (15 answers total)
In all likelihood, the bank would have realized the error eventually and adjusted your account accordingly.
posted by Cyrano at 1:40 PM on January 13, 2005

Your bank machine dispenses 5-dollar bills?
posted by bshort at 1:44 PM on January 13, 2005

Response by poster: Well maybe. That scenario was in the back of my mind. ..when they came for the $65 and I had already spent it. But I am wondering how long it was malfunctioning, and people were simply walking away thinking that it was their lucky day.

On preview, bshort, yes. . .this machine dispenses fives, tens and twenties.
posted by Danf at 1:48 PM on January 13, 2005

I had this happen to me once, machine was giving out $40 for every $20 withdrawn, but only, if you requested $20 i.e. taking out $100 at once would not get you $200.) The machine was broken for at least 18 hours, in a college town. There was a line for this atm the entire time. I kept every receipt showing $20, had a great time with the extra $300, and my bank never adjusted my account.

Felt like the right thing to do when I was 19, not sure if I would do it now though.

A previous bank I had an account with allowed $5 and $10
withdrawals. Was very nice as you don't always need $20, and the extra usually gets spent.
posted by efalk at 1:50 PM on January 13, 2005

I got an extra $20 from a bank machine when the bank was closed once. I called the bank's 1-800 number and told them. I figured they would make the appropriate deduction from my account.

They told me to come into the branch and fill out some forms. I told them I would, but really that's a lot of trouble for them to expect me to go to to correct their mistake.

Anyway, I never went in and they don't seem to have cared.
posted by duck at 2:06 PM on January 13, 2005

Your bank machine dispenses 5-dollar bills?

Uncommon but not unheard of. There's one machine not too far from where I live that even dispenses $1 bills. Whenever I go there I get a non-multiple of $5 just for the novelty of getting $1 bills out of an ATM.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:10 PM on January 13, 2005

happened to me once (machine was spitting out an extra two twenties with every withdrawal). my account (and the account of my friend in line who immediately got cash he hadn't intended to get) was never adjusted. but then, this is why all of us get socked with ATM fees. theoretically, it covers these sorts of losses.
posted by crush-onastick at 2:19 PM on January 13, 2005

I was with a friend when the reverse happened. He withdrew $200, the machine pushed the bills out, but then it just as swiftly sucked them back into the machine before he could grab his money. At the same time, it DID record that he had withdrawn $200, so he was unable to get any cash at all, that being the withdrawal limit. Which sucked because we were on our way to New Orleans.

Anyway, he had to fill out some forms, and then they traced the transaction and of course found the overage in that day's balance.
posted by Miko at 2:28 PM on January 13, 2005

To answer the original question: no, Diebold will not take a hit for the overage (I wish). Your bank would have eaten it.

Though it's been a few years since I worked in the ATM field, I don't ever remember a time where reimbursement for errors was negotiated into the contract.
posted by frykitty at 2:43 PM on January 13, 2005

Diebold would not have been "stuck with the mistake" -- they've make far larger screwups and it seems to work for them.

But they would have turned around and screwed you, your family, your friends and that guy who held the door open for you last week.
posted by krisjohn at 2:51 PM on January 13, 2005

It seems like this could be caused by the condition of the bills it's dispensing, which is the bank's responsibility anyways.
posted by smackfu at 7:02 PM on January 13, 2005

Happened to me at a deli in Hell's Kitchen, NYC. Asked for $60, got $160. I called it my lucky day...

Not far from that ATM is a bank whose ATM will distribute CHANGE. I took out $20.13, and received a 20, a dime, and three pennies. Only time I've ever seen THAT.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:12 PM on January 13, 2005

Once I had to get $100.00 - the machine spat out $60, the third and final bill being a bit scrunched, and spat out my card, but no receipt.

I tried again, and it gave me a full $100.00

Concerned, I went to my bank to make sure that I hadn't been billed a total of $200.00, and they had NO record of the transaction.

Fortunately for me, my bank was not the owner of the ATM. The manager said that there was nothing he could do, and advised me to keep enough money in my bank account so that the other bank could withdraw it if they traced it to me. `What if they don't?' I asked.
` Then you're lucky' was his reply.

I was never billed for it. It's nice to get a little something back from the bank.
posted by tomble at 9:39 PM on January 13, 2005

These stories are all so inspirational. I'm thinking I'm going to hit up some ATMs after work today.
posted by recursive at 10:07 AM on January 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

I hit an ATM once that was giving out US$20 bills from the $5 slot. When I went inside (it was open), and told them, I was yelled at for causing them work by telling them and giving back the extra money.

I switched banks. Figured they didn't want honest customers.
posted by QIbHom at 9:30 PM on January 14, 2005

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