Ontario man accidentally transferred $19,000 into a stranger’s account leaving it for weeks with no resolution
An Ontario man says he struggled to get his $19,000 back for months after making a “simple mistake” while trying to transfer money between his two bank accounts.
Milton, Ont. Roberto Guardado man said he had just bought a new home and in September he was trying to move money from his Bank of Montreal (BMO) account to his CIBC account so he could pay up front. .
He said he called the BMO to arrange the transfer, thinking it would be the easiest way to get the money to CIBC.
Guardado said he has two bank accounts with CIBC, a personal savings account and a business account. He is trying to transfer money to a savings account.
He said that while transferring, he correctly read his CIBC savings account number, but mistyped the transfer number of his CIBC business account.
The five-digit remittance number helps the bank determine which branch the funds are being sent to.
The mistake, he said, resulted in Guardado’s money being sent to a stranger’s CIBC account.
“I noticed the money was gone but it wasn’t in my CIBC account,” Guardado told CTV News Toronto. “So I went home that day and I started searching on my computer and then I realized I had given the wrong transit number.”
He said he immediately called the BMO, who told him they would open an investigation.
Although he called the bank every few days to update his information, he said it took 5 weeks before he received any answer.
Guardado said he was informed that his $19,000 had been deposited into someone else’s account and that person withdrew it.
He said both the BMO and CIBC told him nothing more could be done to get his money back.
“I couldn’t believe I made a mistake,” Guardado said.
Guardado said he called the police, but was also told that because he initiated the transfer, there was nothing to investigate.
“The police told me that because it wasn’t considered cheating there was nothing they could do,” he said.
‘JUST A SIMPLE MISTAKE’
Guardado said that while he fully admits it was his fault, he doesn’t understand why the bank couldn’t help him quickly reverse the transfer.
“It was just a simple mistake and my money ended up in someone else’s account,” Guardado said.
Because of the money lost, Guardado said he had no choice but to back out of the sale of his new home.
Shortly after CTV News Toronto contacted CIBC and BMO about Guardado’s situation, he said he received calls from banks informing him that his $19,000 would be returned to his account.
CIBC spokesman Trish Tervit confirmed on Saturday that they have resolved the issue with Guardado.
“It is important when transferring funds between financial institutions that senders ensure the recipient account numbers are correct as misdirected funds can be difficult to recover,” Tervit added.
Guardado said the CIBC told him this was a “unique situation” that was being resolved on a one-off basis.
Meanwhile, a BMO spokesperson said they had a “fun conversation” with Guardado, but could not comment further for privacy reasons.
While this tense two-month chapter is over for Guardado, he said banks “have to come up with a better system” in case people make mistakes.
“It was a stupid mistake on my part, but the process to fix it should have been easier,” he said. “I was so stressed that I lost weight and couldn’t sleep. It bothered me a lot.”