7 On Your Side: Hungry ATM leaves customer out nearly $6,000

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Nina Pineda helps find where that cash deposit disappeared to.

One man was out nearly $6,000 after an error led to his bank misplacing thousands of dollars he attempted to deposit.

It came down to his word against theirs, with Carlos Alcantara -- a father of four who works the early-morning shift delivering soda -- against a giant international bank who said, "sorry we can't prove you put your money in our machine."

"I was scared," Alcantara said. "I was scared."

He doesn't scare easily, but then he found that his $5,900 cash deposit had disappeared.

"That's when my nightmare really started," he said.
It was early April when he was putting a stack of hundreds into his his bank's ATM, money intended for his parents who were buying a house in Puerto Rico.

Carlos says he put two stacks into the machine at the Citibank in Paramus, but then there was a problem.

"One of the bills, it was getting jammed in the machine," he said. "I was trying to return the bill, but then it was sucking it back in."

Eventually, he said the machine took in all his cash. But instead of getting a normal deposit receipt, he got a notice that said, "I'm sorry, because of technical problems, I can't return your cash right now."

So the ATM ate almost $6,000, but Alcontara had zero proof. Instead of going to a teller inside, he called the 800 number on the receipt -- admittedly a big mistake -- and reported what happened.

Citibank began investigating, issuing a temporary credit of $5,900. But weeks later, after completing an investigation, the bank took it all back and sent Carlos' balance $2,400 into the negative.
"I feel stressed and frustrated," he said. "I was overwhelmed, I started calling everyone."

So we called Citibank, and days later, we delivered for the a very grateful deliveryman.

A Citibank spokesperson would only say, "We're pleased to report that we were able to resolve this issue for the customer. Addressing customer concerns is very important to us."

The big takeaway is that if you have a problem with an ATM, go into the bank if it's open and ask for a manager for help. Take some cell phone pictures, especially if there's an error message on the ATM's screen. And open an investigation and follow up with emails, not calls. That way there is documented proof of your correspondence.

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