Kelmeny Fraser The Sunday Mail (Qld) September 23, 2012
A QUEENSLAND man has spent six months battling to recover $1000 after it vanished following a simple typo during an online banking transaction.
Lee Hayter, of Withcott, near Toowoomba, thought he was helping his son out with some extra cash when he logged on to transfer money from his Westpac bank account into a Suncorp account last January.
Now Mr Hayter, who accidentally typed in two wrong digits when entering his son's bank account number, has spent much of the year in a futile hunt for his missing money.
It has taken months of emails, letters, calls and meetings with banks, solicitors and the police to track the money down after discovering the error in March.
It was only when police got involved that he was able to trace the money.
By then, though, the funds had been withdrawn by the West Australian account holder, who had failed to comply with requests to pay it back.
Mr Hayter is now facing the possibility of having to fly to Perth after the matter was referred to West Australian police.
The case has raised concerns over a lack of safeguards by the banks to stop money disappearing, as reported in The Sunday Mail last week. "If it were their money, they (the banks) would find a way to get it back," Mr Hayter said.
A Suncorp Bank spokeswoman said it was essential all customers ensure the BSB and account number were correct.
"The number of cases of online payment errors are minimal," she said.
Mr Hayter said it was his "fat-fingered" mistake.
"But why haven't they got a safeguard in place that if the BSB and the account number and name don't match, then there is something wrong?"
Suncorp has a single BSB number for all branches and accounts, which Mr Hayter believed opened the way for more mistakes.
But Suncorp said there was room for error regardless of whether the BSB was standardised or not.