ING Decides To Care You Never Got Your $1400

Last week we told you about Rob who never got a $1400 wire transfer when he was a Netbank customer, and then after ING acquired the bank when it failed, their customer service never fixed the transfer despite 8-months of calls assurances. We gave Rob the phone number for ING executive customer service (302-255-3005) and now he happily reports:

Within a few hours of my initial contact, Laura got back to me via phone to let me know exactly what happened. It appears that the initial wire transfer paperwork was filled out incorrectly by the sender and the money hadn’t ever made it to Netbank or Ing Direct but only got to American Express Bank (who as acting as an intermediary in this transfer.) I contacted American Express Bank and in a few minutes they were able to confirm that the wire was incorrectly setup and the funds had been returned to the sending back on August 10th…

I do not know whether a the paperwork was filled out incorrectly as a result of incorrect wiring information I received from the Netbank CSR or a simple clerical error on the part of the sending bank, but in either case, the mystery is resolved. An 8 month delay was resolved in a matter of hours with the right phone number. Thank you very much for your help. I can confirm that ING Direct was very helpful and responded in a timely fashion when this information was brought to their attention in this way.

That’s awesome. Executive customer service for the win. Obviously lots of things can get lost when one bank acquires another, but there’s obviously some kind of internal bottleneck if Rob kept making requests for the matter to be investigated and all the reps could tell him is that they were once again submitting it to “Netbank research agents.” ING needs to review this department and see if agents are closing research trouble tickets without actually solving the problems.

(Pictured: ING CEO Arkadi Kuhlmann in fetching company fleece)


Edit Your Comment

  1. cashmerewhore says:

    Couldn’t the person who wired the money originally just confirmed that: “Oh yeah, they didn’t do the transfer? The money is back in my account”

  2. bsalamon says:

    @cashmerewhore: you would think so

  3. B says:

    @cashmerewhore: He doesn’t have an account with American Express bank, they were acting as an intermediary between the sending and receiving accounts. Ao to answer your question, no.

  4. darkened says:

    @cashmerewhore: Read the article, the transfer was completed to a bank that acted as an intermediary between the originating bank and Netbank. The fact the money was holed up in that bank would have been most likely impossible to know as the customer.

  5. bonzombiekitty says:

    @B: But according to the article, American Express sent the money back to the original bank. If they sent it back to the original bank, then whoever sent the money to begin with should see that the money is still there.

  6. IJReilly says:

    I think it’s great when people run to internet companies… and totally forget that brick and mortar relationships are actually worth something. Yeah, you got an extra 1.2% on your savings account… and had to wait 8 months for your money to be returned.

  7. bonzombiekitty says:

    Granted, there would be a period of time during which the money would be in limbo, but I doubt American Express would hold onto the money for more than a couple days had they not known where the money was supposed to go. As of August 10th, the sender should have been aware that the money was not sent

  8. javi0084 says:

    I hope American Express pays him interest on those $1,400.

  9. B says:

    @bonzombiekitty: Oh, good point. I guess I need to learn to read. Still, the originating account wasn’t necessarily his account.

  10. backbroken says:

    @IJReilly: Right. We never (Bank of America) read about customer service problems (Best Buy) with brick and mortar (Wal-Mart) companies. Good (Sears) point.

  11. johnva says:

    @IJReilly: There’s no real reason to believe that “Internet” banking is inherently any worse for customer service than “brick and mortar” banking. The only real difference I’ve noticed is that the B&M banks rip you off more often. That “face to face” service costs money, and doesn’t guarantee better service. Plus, ING is a HUGE multinational bank, not some obscure Internet company. (Netbank, admittedly, was not as well known).

    @bonzombiekitty: I’m wondering whether there was some dishonesty on the sender’s part. Maybe they were hoping either Rob or the bank wouldn’t notice they got the money back. We can’t really know what happened without knowing some more of the backstory. You would have thought that he would have been in touch with them, wouldn’t you have?

  12. IJReilly says:


    Yeah, we read about those problems – but no company can make everyone happy – of course there are consumers who make unreasonable requests then get mad when they aren’t given exactly what they want. At least in those cases, at brick and mortars, you have PEOPLE to talk to and work out disputes. Tell me this- when is the last time a brick and mortar back “disappeared” with someones money for 8 months?? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

  13. IJReilly says:


    Your point is exactly what I’m talking about – of course customer service costs money. Yet this “blog” is filled with stories of people trying to get the cheapest price possible (or highest possible rate on a savings account) with no regard for customer service. Then they whine when something goes wrong and there is no decent customer service department.

  14. johnva says:

    @IJReilly: There are people you can talk to and work out disputes with at Internet banks, too. You just aren’t talking to them in person. And the fact that you haven’t heard of a B&M bank doing this does not mean it doesn’t happen all the time. It does, especially when the receiving bank is in the middle of going bankrupt and getting acquired. The “Internet” thing has absolutely ZERO to do with this story.

  15. crabbyman6 says:

    I guess that interest he would have gotten is gone then? Sad, as that’s quite a bit of money in a high yield account.

  16. johnva says:

    @IJReilly: My point is that paying customer service drones to sit at bank branches all over the place is a less financially efficient way of providing customer service that doesn’t really mean you’re going to get better service. It costs them more money (leading them to pass on more costs to you) and doesn’t have any real advantages except for letting you go talk to them in person. Most of the time local bank branch employees don’t know any more about what’s going on with a bank error than phone CSR’s would, and have to phone someone else to look into it anyway while you wait (banking is all computerized these days anyway).

  17. Rectilinear Propagation says:
  18. NoWin says:

    @javi0084: AmEx has no stake; they were just the transfer agent between the European Bank and NetBank. They have no way to verify the authenticity of the “crediting” account, nor have any authorization to verify it. They just attempt to electronically transfer given the data provided from the initiator.

    If it came back from NetBank to AmEx as an invalid acct, or invalid Netbank swift code, all AmEx can do is wire the funds back to the Euro Bank.

    Again: they have no legal authority to “assume” what any swift/aba/customer acct “should be”. They must only use what was originally provided: ergo: garbage in – garbage out.

    Thennnnn, I agree with the other poster: why didn’t the wire initiitor contact the OP to say the information bounced back. Or, was the initiator “saying” it went “OK” all along in order to keep the 1400.

  19. clevershark says:

    @IJReilly: The lure of brick-and-mortar banking would be something understood by more people if real-life banks were open with better hours than the usual “10 to 4”. That’s not very convenient for people who have, you know, jobs. Sure, you have the ATM and internet banking, but given that at least 90% of your interactions with your bank will be through those machines — nowadays any human teller interaction will cost you a fee — it’s getting harder and harder to justify doing business at a place that has additional overhead costs which you will end up paying for one way or another.

  20. backbroken says:

    @IJReilly: We should only expect good customer service when we are paying a premium for it? Did I just read that in a Consumerist comment chain?

  21. bonzombiekitty says:

    @B: Not saying it was his account, just that he should have been able to contact the original account holder and see if the transfer was successful.

  22. cashmerewhore says:


    Yeah, that would have been my first plan of action after not seeing the money in my account. Seems fishy that whoever was wiring him the money couldn’t spend five minutes to send an email or call him and say the money was returned.

    Even if it was a business, many have people that work unlocated and returned funds to try to get them to the proper individual.

  23. FLConsumer says:

    @IJReilly: search for Bank of America on the Consumerist pages… I’m sure they’ve done that by now. If not, expect it to happen soon.

  24. rob_ says:

    @NoWin: “Or, was the initiator “saying” it went “OK” all along in order to keep the 1400.”

    The sending bank indicated in a FAX in July 07 that the money had left their account on Aug 7, 07 and had gone through correctly. They sent me the “proof of transfer” documents. The sending company confirmed it as well. I expected to find the problem to be on the Netbank side but that wasn’t the case so now I’m following up with the sending bank and company.



  25. B says:

    @rob_: Wow. Sounds like the sending bank was dicking you around, and covering for their own mistakes. I’d consider legal action against them, as that sounds more like fraud.

  26. NoWin says:

    @rob_: At least knowing it left the account is but half the research. That just proves “their account” was correct. The critical info is what did the sender (account holder) list as the “receive account, and SWIFT/ABA”.

    Remember, Wires are sent with info based entirely on the data provided by the initiator (the account holder making the wire).

    If sending a wire “from” a US bank, a failed wire “must” be reported back to the initiator via telephone, electronic message, or by mail. That is the extend of the banks involvement in that transfer. Can’t say if that policy is in play for any Euro or any other non-US bank.

    If the sending bank, or the person/company, sending the funds is on the Fed OFAC Block list, it’s blocked and returned “no reason given”…but then again, the initiator more than likely was apprised of the return.

  27. dweebster says:

    Hey – it’s only money. As McCain sez: that was the past… we are here now.

  28. BigElectricCat says:

    Given this:

    “It appears that the initial wire transfer paperwork was filled out incorrectly by the sender and the money hadn’t ever made it to Netbank or Ing Direct but only got to American Express Bank.”

    And this: “I can confirm that ING Direct was very helpful and responded in a timely fashion when this information was brought to their attention in this way.”

    Then would it be out of line to point out that the title is a bit misleading? Albeit unintentionally, I’m sure.