Reader Kristina from Arizona has a problem. Well, some might not see it as a problem, but here it is:
On December 7, 2007, I had $2,802.00 deposited into my business checking account at Wamu. A chunk of change I must say. I called the bank to ask them about it and said they would put in search and see if there is a match in the system for anyone with missing funds. They told me that it was a counter, CASH deposit made in Georgia. I live in Arizona and have never been to Georgia. The bank said they would call me when they found something.
So a week goes by and I hear nothing. I call the bank again and ask them about it. Still nothing. Then another week goes by. I call the bank a 3rd time and still nothing and tell me they will do another search. I called today and asked them if they could send me a copy of the deposit slip. So they will be sending it out soon.
I really don’t know what I should do. I know the money is not mine, but what if I never caught the deposit in the first place and used that money? Would I get in trouble for using that money that is in MY account?
The bank has made an error. I think the bank should have to fork out the money back to the person who made the deposit and let me keep the money. OK OK maybe that is a little to greedy. But who wouldn’t want some extra money!
It’s been over 2 months and still waiting.
So what I did with the money for now is put it into my IngDirect Savings to earn a little money on it for the time being.
I would love everyones thoughts on this. Please help!
So a bit of ethics, and a bit of legality. My non-lawyer, non-ethicist opinion is this: It was correct to contact them about it, both in terms of ethics and to avoid any future legal hassles. But I would also document that contact somehow, either through a letter, saved e-mail, or signed acknowledgment by a bank employee. Otherwise, I’d probably do what you did. If someone claims it correctly, they can have it, but in the meantime there is nobody to actually give it back to, so I’d keep it.
Any other viewpoints or suggestions for Kristina? Has a similar bank error happened you to you, or perhaps one not in your favor?