||Ask Dr. Don
When a bank loses a deposit
Dear Dr. Don,
My bank lost a deposit that I had made with a branch teller. I have
the deposit receipt, and the bank admits to losing the deposit,
but so far has refused to make good on the funds in question. The
amount is $350.
They claim they need time to "research"
the loss, and have not even committed to reimbursing me at some
later date. I am very frustrated with this situation, and I am astounded
that a procedure does not exist to promptly resolve such an error.
What legal recourse do I have against the bank if they continue
to delay resolving this problem?
The deposit was a rent check from a tenant. The tenant
says that since they have a paid receipt from me, they have no further
responsibility in this matter.
The bank's request for time to research the loss isn't unreasonable,
but by now they've used up their research time and should provide
you with an explanation. It's possible that your bank collected
the funds and lost track of which account should be credited with
the deposit. If that's the case, the check has cleared your tenant's
You shouldn't depend on your tenant or me for legal
advice. However, the tenant's responsibility for paying rent doesn't
end with a receipt marked paid from you. For example, if the tenant's
check bounced, they would still owe you the rent even though they
have a receipt.
All three parties have a vested interest in finding
out what happened to this check. Your tenant can help by researching
whether the check cleared his account, and, if it has cleared, by
requesting a copy of the canceled check.
If the check has cleared, the bank can stop researching
the issue and credit your account for the deposit. If it hasn't
cleared yet, you can ask the tenant to stop payment on the check,
reimburse the tenant for the stop payment charge, and ask the tenant
to issue you a new check.
If none of this works, your financial institution
is a federal savings bank and is regulated by the Office of Thrift
Supervision. You can file
a consumer complaint with that office.
-- Posted: June 28, 2002