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View Full Version : Frustrating Buyer on Trade Me - Can banks screw up transfers?



Agent_24
04-10-2010, 06:01 PM
'Sold' an ink cartridge just over 2 weeks ago.

They claim to have paid on the 18th of September - money should have shown in my account by the 21st but nothing came through then and nothing has since then.


They claim to have used the correct account number, but when I tried asking them more direct questions eg:
"Have you actually called your bank and verified that you used the correct number?"
They stopped replying to my emails.

The number I gave them is the one on the automatic "payment instructions" email and is 100% correct with no previous issues with any other buyers.

However they had no problem replying to TradeMe when I asked for a success fee refund (1 hour ago), telling TradeMe that they had paid.

I asked them to call in at their bank and to get proof of the transaction, that was 2 days ago, nothing was sent in reply since then. I did of course give them an alternate email address in case emails were getting lost somehow.

Would call them up but don't have their phone number, they're not in the phonebook and while I do have their address it's too far away, the cost of getting there would be nearly the cost of the item.



When I called my bank they said if the money didn't go through then it means the person never paid or didn't use the right number.

This person does have a fairly good feedback record, and has been buying things since their purchase from me, so they may indeed have actually paid.

I am wondering if it's possible for an internet banking transfer to fail somehow? Of course without proof from their bank I cannot get my bank to look into this possibility, and that isn't happening since they refuse to talk to me! :mad::mad::mad:

lakewoodlady
04-10-2010, 06:05 PM
Normally you would get their email addy somewhere along the line?

LL

Oops, I guess that is how you have been in touch with them............

Metla
04-10-2010, 06:11 PM
Everything has the possibility of failure....

Erayd
04-10-2010, 06:13 PM
An internet banking transaction won't fail without leaving a record of the failure.

If it appears on their statement, they have proof of what happened and can get the bank to fix it (although a failed transaction is *very* unlikely). If it doesn't appear on their statement, then the transaction never took place, and should be retried.

At the end of the day, if they paid you (and the account they paid was actually yours, rather than someone else's), it will show up on both their bank records and yours, and the money will be in your account and missing from theirs. Anything else, and it's almost guaranteed they're taking you for a ride.

Agent_24
04-10-2010, 06:14 PM
Everything has the possibility of failure....

Surely banking systems are designed to withstand weird glitches, power outages, system crashes etc...

You'd think reliability would be very high.
But I guess you're right, that doesn't make failure impossible, just very improbable.


An internet banking transaction won't fail without leaving a record of the failure.

If it appears on their statement, they have proof of what happened and can get the bank to fix it (although a failed transaction is *very* unlikely). If it doesn't appear on their statement, then the transaction never took place, and should be retried.

At the end of the day, if they paid you (and the account they paid was actually yours, rather than someone else's), it will show up on both their bank records and yours, and the money will be in your account and missing from theirs. Anything else, and it's almost guaranteed they're taking you for a ride.

They said "well the money did go out and i did use the correct bank account number so im not sure what has happened here"

What I am trying to find out is if that's just the conclusion they came to from looking at their internet banking, or if that's what their bank told them. But we don't know because they won't even tell me if they have contacted their bank at all. :waughh:

Erayd
04-10-2010, 06:17 PM
The point of transactional systems is to prevent such failures from occurring. Things like money transfers should be atomic; either the entire transaction will succeed, or none of it will. You shouldn't ever end up in a situation where a transaction has been half-completed - the whole point of a transactional architecture is to make such events impossible.

Agent_24
04-10-2010, 06:21 PM
The point of transactional systems is to prevent such failures from occurring. Things like money transfers should be atomic; either the entire transaction will succeed, or none of it will. You shouldn't ever end up in a situation where a transaction has been half-completed - the whole point of a transactional architecture is to make such events impossible.

So assuming the banking system is perfect, they've either buggered up the account number or never paid?

Erayd
04-10-2010, 06:23 PM
So assuming the banking system is perfect, they've either buggered up the account number or never paid?
Yep. Unless they are able to offer you some very convincing and extraordinary proof that shows otherwise, it's safe to assume that the bank transfer system is infallible.

Metla
04-10-2010, 06:25 PM
Pity the fool who thinks any system is infallible.

(not that Bletch is a fool of course)

pctek
04-10-2010, 07:03 PM
'

They stopped replying to my emails.


When I called my bank they said if the money didn't go through then it means the person never paid or didn't use the right number.

This person does have a fairly good feedback record
That means nothing.
What you do now, is give them bad feedback and relist your item.
If they really did pay they'll get their act together abut I doubt they did.
Probably changed their minds and are too pathetic to confess.

mikebartnz
04-10-2010, 07:20 PM
So assuming the banking system is perfect, they've either buggered up the account number or never paid?
To bugger up the account they would also have to bugger up the name on the account as well as the account number.

Erayd
04-10-2010, 07:22 PM
Pity the fool who thinks any system is infallible.

(not that Bletch is a fool of course)Oh I'm not claiming it's not subject to errors - I'm just pointing out the nature of transactional systems mean that the error is *always* picked up and recovered from. The entire transaction occurs as an atomic unit, either the entire transaction will fail, or the entire transaction will succeed. Either way, the accounts involved are never left in an inconsistant state; it's impossible for money to simply vanish en-route.

As an example of how such systems can work, consider the following:
A customer of bank A requests a transfer of $18 from their account (account 12) to another customer's account at bank B (account 19).
Bank A creates a new, empty transaction log
Bank A logs the current balance of account 12
Bank A logs its intention to deduct $18 from account 12
Bank A actually does deduct $18 from account 12
Bank A checks that the new balance of account 12 accurately reflects the deduction, and logs that the deduction succeeded.
Bank A logs its intention to tell bank B to add $18 to account 19.
Bank A contacts bank B and says "credit $18 to account 19".
Bank B logs the current balance of account 19.
Bank B logs its intention to credit $18 to account 19.
Bank B actually does credit $18 to account 19.
Bank B checks that the new balance of account 19 accurately reflects the credit, and logs that the credit succeeded.
Bank B informs bank A that the credit succeeded
Bank A logs that the credit succeeded
Noting that $18 was successfully deducted from account 12 at bank A, and has been successfully credited to account 19 at bank B, bank A can now mark the transaction as completed successfully.
As you can see, if *any* of the above stages fail, for any reason, there is enough information in the log to restore all accounts to their correct balances prior to the transfer being attempted - it's impossible for there to ever be a situation where money has been deducted from one account, and not added to the destination account, without that error being noticed and corrected.

The reason bank transfers can be considered infallible is due to the atomic nature of those transactions, as illustrated above.

Erayd
04-10-2010, 07:22 PM
To bugger up the account they would also have to bugger up the name on the account as well as the account number.Not necessarily - the number is the important bit, the name isn't always checked.

robbyp
04-10-2010, 07:27 PM
Banks do make mistakes, but they are quite rare these days. I'm with the national bank, and I put through a transfer to occur on a particular day via online banking this year, and it didn't go through till the next day, which meant I lost a lot of interest. They admitted to the mistake, and paid me the interest I lost. They however never provided me with an explanation for the problem, just that it was an online banking problem, and someone would get back to me, which they didn't.

Zippity
04-10-2010, 07:42 PM
Did the payee hit the "confirm" button on their internet transaction?

Chilling_Silence
04-10-2010, 07:52 PM
I'm with Erayd, sounds like they're chickening out. Leave bad feedback, usually gets their act together.

Agent_24
04-10-2010, 08:15 PM
Did the payee hit the "confirm" button on their internet transaction?

I wouldn't have a clue.

As I said, they have managed to buy several things after winning my auction, so at least they don't seem to be complete idiots who don't know how to use their internet banking.

They also have over 1000 (good) feedbacks.

It's all rather odd.


I guess the most sensible explanation is probably what PCTek said, they made a mistake etc and don't want to admit it.


I'm with Erayd, sounds like they're chickening out. Leave bad feedback, usually gets their act together.

I thought that contacting TradeMe for a fee refund and asking them to contact the buyer would do that.

PinoyKiw
05-10-2010, 06:29 AM
Several things come to mind.

They entered the wrong number but right name in which case the receiving bank will bounce the payment.....or should.

They have paid but there has been a failure at one or other of the banks. Possible but.........

Or they have decided they don't want the item now so claim payment has been made which leaves you 2 options, decline to send which suits them or you are such a nice person that you send anyway based on there claim of payment and they get a freebie..

The fact they don't seem to keen to keep in contact with you since losing there money suggests that maybe they have not paid but are stringing you along.

Personally, I always take a screen shot of the payment and send it to the seller as proof that I have actioned the payment at my end. Doesn't get the stuff sent any earlier but at least you know I have played my part and if the transaction does for some reason not appear at your end, I have proof of payment.

I would give reasonable time for the buyer or the banks involved to get the money over, then give them neut feedback of some sort and relist.

Marnie
05-10-2010, 06:58 AM
Several things come to mind.

They entered the wrong number but right name in which case the receiving bank will bounce the payment.....or should.

They have paid but there has been a failure at one or other of the banks. Possible but.........

Or they have decided they don't want the item now so claim payment has been made which leaves you 2 options, decline to send which suits them or you are such a nice person that you send anyway based on there claim of payment and they get a freebie..

The fact they don't seem to keen to keep in contact with you since losing there money suggests that maybe they have not paid but are stringing you along.

Personally, I always take a screen shot of the payment and send it to the seller as proof that I have actioned the payment at my end. Doesn't get the stuff sent any earlier but at least you know I have played my part and if the transaction does for some reason not appear at your end, I have proof of payment.

I would give reasonable time for the buyer or the banks involved to get the money over, then give them neut feedback of some sort and relist.

Good thinking about the screenshot. Where there is any doubt about a payment having been made, then it is usually up to the payer to produce evidence of payment.

user
05-10-2010, 09:25 AM
I had a transaction like you and told them that I would not send the item unless my account confirmed payment, despite them insisting they had paid. Never heard from them after that so they were just trying it on.

Problem will be to get your transaction fee back from Trademe if the other party insist they paid....

1101
05-10-2010, 10:12 AM
Bottom line is your never received payment.
Mention words like Bank Fraud,Internet Fraud & Police to them & see what happens.
Then Ask them for a screendump of their online bank a/c showing the payment.

could be that person asked someone else (their parent etc) to make the payment & it was never made.
Or they could just have terrible memory & thought they made a payment.

johcar
05-10-2010, 05:39 PM
Several things come to mind.

They entered the wrong number but right name in which case the receiving bank will bounce the payment.....or should.

They have paid but there has been a failure at one or other of the banks. Possible but.........

Or they have decided they don't want the item now so claim payment has been made which leaves you 2 options, decline to send which suits them or you are such a nice person that you send anyway based on there claim of payment and they get a freebie..

The fact they don't seem to keen to keep in contact with you since losing there money suggests that maybe they have not paid but are stringing you along.

Personally, I always take a screen shot of the payment and send it to the seller as proof that I have actioned the payment at my end. Doesn't get the stuff sent any earlier but at least you know I have played my part and if the transaction does for some reason not appear at your end, I have proof of payment.

I would give reasonable time for the buyer or the banks involved to get the money over, then give them neut feedback of some sort and relist.

Unless procedures have changed in the last 30-odd (gulp!) years, the receiving bank will only 'bounce' payment back to the sending bank if all avenues of investigation are exhausted at the receiving end.

All banks (in New Zealand) have a default bank account called "Unpaid Items" ("UPI") and the account number is the same at every major bank: 998907-00.

If an automatic match cannot be found, incoming payments are automatically directed to this account. Years ago, it was my job (as a lowly 'junior') to resolve these items or send them back whence they came. I would assume that banks would still have this system in place - but there's probably a lot less paper now!

If your buyer had entered the incorrect bank account number at his end of the transaction it would end up in the UPI account at your bank. Might be worth contacting your bank to see whether they received a transaction for the amount in question in UPIs at around about the time the buyer says they paid.

However at this point (two weeks later), I would be surprised if your bank has still got the amount (assuming they received it in the first place).

Either way, because of the transactional nature of these transfers (as Erayd so eruditely described), it is relatively easy to trace them.

But I guess for the value of one ink cartridge, it's probably not worth the bother...

Agent_24
05-10-2010, 05:57 PM
Very interesting, I contacted them from another email address of mine and this time they replied.

Now I have a photo apparently showing that they did deposit to me on the date they said.

However, there is no record of the account number they used for my account (I don't know of any internet banking that does, mine doesn't either, which is quite annoying) so I have asked again if they could call their bank and ask the bank to find out what has happened.

Hopefully this will be able to get further than last time!

Cato
06-10-2010, 12:19 AM
Banks do make mistakes, but they are quite rare these days. I'm with the national bank, and I put through a transfer to occur on a particular day via online banking this year, and it didn't go through till the next day, which meant I lost a lot of interest. They admitted to the mistake, and paid me the interest I lost. They however never provided me with an explanation for the problem, just that it was an online banking problem, and someone would get back to me, which they didn't.

Well, I know NB does not do immediate transfer (or at least didn't), their transfers go out at 2am the following day, I believe. This has changed for credit cards in that you can make instant payments. You also won't have a transfer going through Saturday & Sunday nighs, or on public holidays.

This is why I don't bank with those clowns.

Also, payments do NOT go through on the next day if you made the payments AFTER 8pm, it will go through the day after.

1101
06-10-2010, 08:48 AM
Ah National Bank.
I well remember waiting 5 day's for my pay to go through their system on a XMAS break.
They allways seem to take the money in on the 1st day thou...

porkster
07-10-2010, 08:16 PM
No banks don't make mistakes ($10,000,000 anyone?)
You still have the item, you don't have the money. Seems to me it's there call.

They may be stalling so the time you're allowed to put feed back on expires (30 days I think).