San Luis Obispo County

NewsChannel 3 Investigates: Pismo Beach Man Battles Bank of America to Recover $1,900

Tipline Investigation: Tracking Bad Bank Transfers

PISMO BEACH, Calif. - Sometimes the smallest errors can turn into the biggest headaches. A viewer in Pismo Beach called us about several bad bank transfers that left him $1,900 in the red.

Robert Brown is determined to find his money. His daughter, who lives in Santa Cruz, sends him money every now and then.

Robyn Brown transfers the money through her payroll department at work to Robert's Bank of America account. It's never been a problem until now.

Last year, several transfers just vanished. The money was taken out of Robyn's paycheck, but never made to Robert's account.

"Somewhere, the serial number on the account got mixed up, some letters where missing or extra letters or numbers and the money was put into someone else's account at Bank of America," said Robert Brown.

"I could have done it, I'm sure I could have done it," admits Robyn Brown.

Brown said she might have made a mistake, but no one really knows. One thing they do know, someone else got their money and Bank of America tracked it down.

"What they told us was, it really wasn't a big deal. They would get the money back, but they couldn't do it right away because that person had taken the money out of their account," said Robert Brown.

He said several months went by and different people at Bank of America kept promising to get their money back.

"We'll automatically put that money in your account, don't worry about it," said Robert Brown giving one example of the bank's assurances.

By now, five months had passed and still no money. The Brown's said bank officials told them the people who mistakenly got the money refused to give it back.

"I think they're pretty (bleep). I'm sorry, but they know it's not their money," said Robyn Brown.

To make matters worse, Bank of America told the Brown's it had taken too long and there was nothing the bank could do for them now.

"This has been the biggest struggle for me. No one wants to talk with me on the phone and I'm not anybody as far as they're concerned," said Robyn Brown.

That's when Robert Brown called the NewsChannel Three Tipline. The Brown's provided the documentation and we went to work. NewsChannel Three called Bank of America and within days $1,900 showed up in Robert Brown's bank account.

"I got the money and I have to thank C.J. for this because he used the horsepower that he has and it worked really quick. I'm amazed," said Robert Brown.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you and I'm giving his name to everybody," said Robyn Brown.

Bank of America officials declined our request to explain what happened. A spokeswoman did explain that it was a simple error and the people who had the money cooperated.

But we also asked, if it was so simple, why did it take so long to resolve it and why did NewsChannel Three have to get involved? We did not receive an answer.

If you have a problem and need help call our NewsChannel Three Tipline at (805) 882-3903.

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