Okay, so ATM really stands for "automatic teller machine,"
not "access to money"--but it's practically the same thing.
Unfortunately, the only way to access money is if you actually
have a bank account with money in it. But if you do, you can
get money out 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the
year (366 in 2000). It's as if the Wizard of Oz just granted
Then again, the Wizard wasn't all that reliable when it came
to granting wishes, so don't think for a minute that an ATM
is infallible either. Here's what to do if your ATM withdrawal
comes up short:
- If you never save receipts, do so now. It may be your
only chance of proving you were trying to make a transaction
at that ATM at the date and time you claim.
- If the bank is open, file a complaint in person right
away--even if you're at the 7-11 and have to drive five
miles to get to your bank.
- Make copies of any receipts you received from the ATM
transaction--keep the originals and submit the copies to
- If the problem happened at a bank ATM where you don't
have an account, ask your bank to let you see the documentation
the other bank is required to submit regarding the transaction.
- If you're a longtime customer, don't be afraid to make
a big stink about it if you're not getting quick results--most
banks would rather see you happy than lose your business.
- If your complaints fall on deaf ears, submit copies of
the ATM transaction along with a letter of explanation to
both your local consumer affairs office and the state attorney