Welwyn Garden City residents sit down protest over cashpoint’s non-payout

A DISTRAUGHT mother and her daughter made a sit-down protest inside a bank and had to be removed by police, after they were “made penniless” for five days thanks to a faulty ATM.

Last Monday 62-year-old Janet O’Mahoney withdrew �200 at Morrisons supermarket’s HSBC cash point in WGC, but no money appeared.

The Archers Ride resident, whose 71-year-old husband Hayden is awaiting emergency surgery for an aneurysm, was told to contact her bank Santander.

After days of battling with Santander with no joy, Janet and her daughter, Kirsten, went to the Howardsgate bank but were told they could wait up to 22 days to see any cash; so they refused to leave.

Kirsten struggled to hold back the tears as the duo were later removed from the premises by police.

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As they were escorted, she told the WHT: “How are my mum and dad supposed to live? I am worried they will run out of food, they use that money to pay off their bills each week, they desperately need that money.

“They are just two little OAPs who have banked with Santander for years, the bank can see their payment patterns are the same every week; it’s obvious they are not thieves, we just want what’s rightfully ours.

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“I just will not let this go, I will come back every day and make a protest every day if necessary until we get the money back, they have credited the account with �50 for goodwill but that is simply not good enough.

“My dad has an aneurysm and a heart condition, I would hate to think what this added stress is doing to him.”

The WHT contacted Santander and within 24 hours the money was back in the account.

Janet, who is now looking for a new bank, said: “I do not understand how if they could give us �50 easily, why they couldn’t give us the full �200. What happens in emergencies like this? What if you are about to go on holiday or if you are a new mum?”

She added: “I cannot thank the WHT enough, we couldn’t have done it without you, it just shows you the little guys can win. It has been awful, but thank God it’s resolved now.”

A Santander spokeswoman said the company’s policy stated ATM claims could take “up to seven working days – and in a small number of cases sometimes longer” and the WGC branch was therefore “following procedure”.

*? An HSBC spokesman said the machine fault was a UK-wide error at Vocalink, the ATM payment intermediary. He added only cards with faulty or unreadable ‘chips’ were impacted.

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