The ATM Stole All My Money

Ever felt so lonely in this world that it made you cry? Ever felt powerless, frustrated, angry, bitter? Ever felt wronged in such a way that you just didn’t know what to do?

Well… this happened to me yesterday.

Went to an ATM to withdraw some money (so I could pay bills, the rent that was due, and pay for my gym membership.) All in all, about one thousand dollars in Romanian currency.

I use Payoneer in order to withdraw funds via PayPal or Patreon, because they are about three times faster than any Romanian bank. The downside being that they charge a hefty (by this country’s standards) commission, which means I rarely withdraw money, and only when I need to pay cash for rent and bills…

So, I went to this shopping mall close to where I live, went to the nearest ATM, and tried to withdraw the money. The ATM started counting the money, then it stopped. Then it started counting again. Then it stopped again. And then it gave me a piece of paper that stated the following: “We’re sorry, but we could not disburse the funds. The transaction was settled.”

I thought that the ATM was either short on cash or there was some issue (I do encounter issues with certain ATM/POS with this card).

The thing was… my money was gone.

All I had left was about $15 dollars.

I called the bank who operates the ATM, and they told me to contact my bank (in this case, Payoneer). I did that. They told me they couldn’t help me until the pre-authorization on the transaction expired (9th of June), and that I should call the Romanian bank (again) and tell them that it’s they who have to work on getting this issue fixed…

Long story short, I spent 3 hours on the phone with both the Romanian Bank and Payoneer (including a supervisor of theirs), and they can’t do anything.

The real troubling news?

That I could lose the money. At least that’s what the lady over at the Romanian bank told me in our last conversation: that if the money got stuck in the damn vent, the next person to withdraw money from the ATM got it, so there’s no money missing from their point of view, and money was disbursed, in which case I’d have to file a police report, and the police would have to chase down the person who got the money in my place… the odds of that ever happening are close to impossible.

Has anyone ever encountered such a situation?

I am thinking of pursuing legal action against the bank that operates the ATM here in Romania.

I do mention that I am currently in the situation of being evicted, and all my utilities being cut off (internet, electricity, etc.).

If anyone can help me in any way, I’d much appreciate it.

I read that such issues are usually solved within 90 days, during which both banks try to hold on to the money, or get the money back, and present all sorts of “documents.”

I do not have 90 days. I barely have enough money to eat today…

Also, given the situation, if you can help me by purchasing any product from my e-store, I’d be incredibly grateful.

My balance is currently $5.72.

You can also donate via PayPal here.

Rent and bills need to be paid ASAP, and I can’t because an ATM stole my money…

Any help would keep me off the streets. And enjoying actual food. And electricity.

And do advise if something like this has ever happened to you.

UPDATE #1: My home Internet was disconnected earlier. I am now relying on the data on my phone. Might be difficult to get back to you.

Do help me out if you can, you can find a ton of cool stuff on my e-store here.

UPDATE #2: I’d like to thank Jen for her donation through PayPal.

If you wish to help me out, you can do so here.


31 thoughts on “The ATM Stole All My Money

  1. Damn they should really fix the situation sooner rather than later. I would take all the steps to present this to the police, also speak with the landlord regarding this situation. Possibly set up a GoFundMe and explain your story. Prayerfully, you will get help with what you need.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your bank is really telling you that they could possibly not refund that money? That’s simply outrageous. I’m not familiar with law outside of the US, but that definitely doesn’t sound correct to me. I had my account drained once ten years ago, but I was fortunate that my bank worked with me to get back the money.

    I don’t know what to advise except to call and call and call. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, as they say. Put up a big enough fuss, threaten legal action, and a thousand bucks won’t seem like such a big deal to them then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Payoneer (my bank) is telling me that they can’t do anything as long as the transaction is on hold (the money is in pre-authorization). That’s until the 9th, by which time I’ll be homeless (landlady not that permissive). Also, they just disconnected my home Internet, and I am struggling with a cold that I caught two days ago. If I do not get the funds by the 9th, they can file a complaint to the bank that operates the ATM.

      Now, the bank that operates the ATM has told me, during our four different chats, that they can’t “trust” that the piece of paper that says I didn’t receive any money (issued by their own ATM, with their bank’s logo and all that) means that I didn’t actually receive any money. Apparently there are some issues (the opposite of what I am having) where the same error gets printed, but the money is disbursed, while the funds never get taken from the accounts. So folks just drain an entire ATM, and still have the same amount in their accounts. And then the bank has to sue those individuals.

      But that’s not what happened in my case.

      And the customer service lady here in Romania told me I could do anything I wanted, including going to the police, taking legal action, etc. because they were covered by banking laws that work the same way everywhere on the planet, and their protocols with Mastercard/Visa…

      And I cannot afford to eat tomorrow, let alone go and see a lawyer and file a lawsuit (which would take a long time too).

      Liked by 1 person

        • The thing that bothers me most is time. Or the lack of it. Don’t know how to describe it.

          And it’s sheer bad luck. I didn’t mention that I thought about withdrawing from a different ATM, but that one wasn’t working, and I even thought about withdrawing less than I did (which meant I’d still have a bit of money left, so I could pay some of the bills, and maybe convince my landlady to wait a bit more.)


            • It is.

              Sometimes it’s just bad luck. It happens. But as the Stoics taught us (or tried to) it’s how we choose to interpret and act on those events that truly matters.

              What is done is done, and even though it could have happened in a million different ways, it didn’t.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Christian. I sent a small donation on PayPal. I wish I could send more.
    This is a really scary story. Most of my life was lived without ATM’s and needing to go to the bank to withdraw money and it seems like maybe that was ‘safer’. Yes ATM’s are convenient, but the frightening thing is that a situation like this can happen.
    I hope you are able to sort things out.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.