Thai ATM Horror Story

So today turned out to be a big bummer because of the stupid Thai banking system. In short, I tried to withdraw 20,000 Baht from my Japanese bank with an international (PLUS system) bank card, which is something I’ve done many times before with no real problems. This time, however, the ATM (Thai Commercial Bank) flashed an error, “Communication Error,” and spat out my card but no cash and no receipt. I figured it might be an error with this particular bank and mine in Japan (Mitsui Sumitomo), so I tried again with the ATM to the immediate right of the first one (Thai Military Bank). Same error message, same exact result: No cash, no receipt.
Then I figured I’d try a little bit later so I pulled up to a Krung Thai Bank ATM at a gas station and tried again to withdraw 20,000 Baht. This time I got an “insufficient balance” error, and a sinking feeling in my stomach (and again, no cash and no receipt). Sure enough, when I rushed home to look at my balance online, it showed that 20,000 Baht had been withdrawn today.
I immediately called my bank in Japan and explained the situation. The man on the other end was sympathetic and said I needed to talk to the banks here in Thailand first, but that if nothing could be done on this side, he could probably launch an investigation into the matter which would take weeks to find anything (if at all), but sounded much better than nothing. At this point, I was pretty sure that appealing to the banks here would end in squat.
Sure enough, both Thai banks claimed since I wasn’t sure which bank had actually made the transaction, it absolved them both of responsibility until I found out this info from my Japanese bank. Of course, by the time I received this happy reply (via Nam, who went to go find the contact info on the ATMs while I watched sleeping baby at home), my bank in Japan had already closed for the day.
20,000 Baht (68,000 yen or around $600) just disappeared into the ether, and, as of now, I have fuck all to show that this is what actually happened.
My question: At times like this is it more appropriate to hate computers, the third world, or banks in general?
UPDATE: I called my bank in Japan to tell them that the Thai banks are not accepting responsibility (big surprise!) since I don’t know which one caused the problem, and they insist that the Japan side must initiate action of some kind. The guy at my bank who is following the case advised me to wait seven working days to see if the problem is corrected automatically, then to contact him again so he can initiate an inquiry which may take a couple months to finish. This blows.

4 thoughts on “Thai ATM Horror Story

  1. In a word, we are all hostage to the computerized banking system and reliance on what is, as in what you experienced, unreliable. But I have never heard first hand, of such a sickening account of vanishing funds like that! Now what?

  2. T?p ?oàn A-Z
    Websiter: (removed by admin, BAD SPAMMER!)
    Telephone : (almost left in for fun by admin, BUT ALSO DELETED)
    chúng tôi chuyên phân ph?i hàng tiêu dùng trên toàn mi?n b?c.
    hi?n t?i chúng tôi mu?n h?p tác v?i công ty ?? phân ph?i s?n ph?m t?i th? tr??ng vi?t nam do công ty s?n xu?t

  3. I agree with Mr. Nguyen. That really sucks. Show them the rage of Justin. That usually works, no?

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