Sample Complaint Letter to Bank and Banking Ombudsman about a Failed ATM Withdrawal

Looking for sample letters to write a formal complaint letter to the bank about a failed ATM withdrawal? This article explains what to do when an ATM transaction fails due to a faulty ATM machine and how to write a letter to the bank/banking ombudsman to get refund of money not given by the ATM.

Now, more than at any other time, the ATM card you have is your most vital possession! The Government having demonetized old Rs.500 and Rs.1000 currency notes, aiming to curb black money and encourage cashless economy, you will be heading for that all-important Automated Teller Machine (ATM). It is just a machine, but a most valuable one, spitting out those precious currency notes which you need to buy essentials.

Now imagine the nightmarish experience of not getting the full amount from the machine of what you requested. In such a case, your first and immediate step is to fill a complaint form and submit it to the nearest branch of the Bank. You can simply fill up the form and not need to write a separate letter. You should also lodge a complaint directly by calling the Helpline contact number of the Bank. This article provides Sample complaint letter to Bank and Banking Ombudsman about a failed ATM withdrawal.

Guidance for filling up complaint form of Bank branch

The complaint form given by the branch is generally like this:

To: The Branch Manager
[Name of the Bank will be printed already]
Name of the Branch:______________ [this should be the name of the Bank branch where card holder account is maintained which is linked to the ATM card]
Name of the City: ________________

Customer Information:
Name: ____________________
Account No.:________________
Debit Card/ATM Card No.: ________________________________
ATM Information:
ATM ID/Location, if ID is available: __________________________
Name of the ATM Bank: _________________

Nature of the Complaint:
[Here, fill in the details of (a)]
(a) Complaint relating to Cash withdrawal:
Amount requested for withdrawal: Rs.________
Amount actually disbursed at ATM: Rs.________
Amount debited to the account: Rs.___________
Date of transaction: ________________
Time of transaction: ________________
(b) Card captured by ATM: _________________________
(c) Other Complaints: ______________________________

Signature of the Card holder [put your signature above these words]
Contact No: ________________________
Date: __________________

Note: Generally, at the bottom of such a complaint form, the Bank's Helpline number will also be provided. You can call up that number if the bank rejects your complaint. In case the bank does not have such a complaint form, write a letter in the exact format as given above and hand it over to the Manager of the bank.

What to do after the complaint is rejected

Now it will likely happen that the Bank refuses to accept your complaint on the grounds that the ATM transaction was indicated to be successful as per the EJ statement (meaning of EJ explained at the end of this article). In this case, you need to direct your grievance against the bank with a complaint to the Banking Ombudsman within whose jurisdiction the branch or the bank is located. The Ombudsman is the topmost official appointed to deal with complaints that have otherwise not been redressed to the satisfaction of the complainant. For the address of the Banking Ombudsman of your city/nearest to your location, you can simply type in Google "[Name of Bank] Ombudsman".

In your complaint letter to the Ombudsman, you must provide the following information:
(i) Your name & address
(ii) The name and address of the bank branch of the bank against which the complaint is made
(iii) The facts which gave rise to the complaint
(iv) The type of the loss and the relief sought by you.

A Sample Letter of Complaint to the Banking Ombudsman would thus be as follows:

To: The Banking Ombudsman,

Subject: Complaint of faulty ATM and request for refund of Rs.400/-.


On [mention date] I had visited the branch of [name of branch and Bank] to withdraw money from the ATM at the kiosk just outside the branch premises. The amount I entered for withdrawal was Rs.5,000/-. From the ATM I got a total amount of Rs.4,600/- only. The denomination of the currency which was obtained from the ATM was: Rs.500x8 = Rs.4000/- and Rs.100x6 = Rs.600/-. The ATM display screen at the time showed "Transaction complete".

Note that I have a Savings account in this same branch [you should mention this if applicable]. I immediately went inside the branch premises and submitted a written complaint in the prescribed form given to me, with all the details of the incorrect transaction (a copy of the complaint form is attached with this letter). The staff too mentioned that the ATM did give problems. Subsequently, as directed by the staff, I also registered a complaint with the Helpline number [mention the number and the date you called] given to me. The person at the Helpline number assured me that I would be paid the remaining amount. However, the amount of Rs.5,000/- was debited from my Savings account on [mention date] (copy of the Passbook page showing this debit attached with this letter). The Bank branch staff refused to give a refund of Rs.400, stating that they would check their records. Subsequently, they said that the computer generated email statement of the ATM EJ (a copy of which is attached with this letter) showed the status of the transaction as "Successful" and "Customer Received Money". Hence, I was denied a refund of Rs.400/-.

Note that I have been trying to register my complaint online too with the Bank, but without success. It has now taken so long that I am still struggling to recover the amount of Rs.400/- because there is a refusal of the Bank branch to accept the facts that the ATM disbursed less than the amount entered and also generated an incorrect EJ statement.

If you go through the Bank branch records, you can note the numerous complaints about the ATM machine.

I really fail to understand that, when the staff themselves saw and verified that the money fell short of what should have come out from the ATM, and the staff at the Helpline number too stated that I must be paid, then why am I not being given the money owed to me?

Since I have not received the refund of Rs.400 which is owed to me, I am registering my grievance with you. Please look into this matter as soon as possible.

Hoping for an early redress to my complaint,

(your signature here)
[your name, surname]
[your address]
[your contact Phone Number(s)]
[your email ID]

Photo Copies attached:
(i) Complaint to Bank branch in prescribed form
(ii) Response from Bank branch
(iii) Copy of the Passbook page showing debited amount

Additional notes

There is probably a prescribed form provided via a link to the page of the Bank's website where instructions for a complaint to the Ombudsman has been provided. You can use that form and send it by postal mail if there is no facility to make the complaint online. In case you do send by postal mail, I would suggest that you send it by Registered A.D. so that you will get an acknowledged receipt as proof of its delivery.

Your complaint to the Banking Ombudsman must be made within one year of getting a response from the Bank and you should attach the number of copies as stated on the requisite documents to support your grievance. Also, ensure that you mention the relevant dates (time too if possible) and provide as accurate details as possible.

Due to the new slot for the ATM card, the possibility of the ATM machine swallowing up the card is practically nil. However, if you do have a complaint of the card getting stuck and in some way affecting the transaction, or have some other complaint related to the ATM, you can, as per the guidance given above, similarly add the details in your complaint.

What is an EJ in ATM transactions? I have mentioned "EJ" statement in the sample complaint letter above. This is an electronic journal (hence the acronym EJ) record of the ATM transaction. It includes the ID number of the specific ATM machine, the date & time of transaction, the card number used for the transaction, the amount dispensed by the ATM against that transaction and the status of the transaction (whether successful or not).

Further useful resource: Sample application letter to SBI, ICICI or other bank to activate a dormant account

Article by Vandana
Vandana is based in India with over 15 years experience as a freelance writer. Writing, no doubt, is her primary passion! Having learned the art of blogging from ISC, Vandana is enjoying the thrills of blogging, taking pleasure in sharing information & getting good pageviews at her various blogs.

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Author: Juana24 Jan 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 15

Additional information that can be included in the above article –

1. Since mention is made in the letter, of the bank staff being aware of problems with ATM dispensing system at the particular kiosk; it would be prudent to mention the name/designation of the bank employee the complainant interacted with and citing what they said. Connecting a bank employee, using their name and designation, with the episode, would give it more credence and strengthen the complainant's case.
2. Telephonic calls to Helpline numbers for filing complaints are answered by executives, who register them. Each complaint is indexed and is given a number. A word of advice is essential here to anyone filing a telephonic complaint - to ask for the complaint number. This number is important, as it serves as a record of the registered complaint. This number should also be used in follow-up correspondence with the bank, if necessary.
3. Complainants must ask for an acknowledgment of their complaint. If the grievance is submitted on a prescribed form, the staff accepting it must tear off the acknowledgment receipt and hand it over to the complainant. This bit of paper must be signed and stamped, by the staffer. The bank's round stamp is required on such receipts
4. Written complaints submitted to the branch should be made in duplicate (get a photocopy). While the original is submitted to the bank, the duplicate must be acknowledged by an authorized employee, by placing name, designation, date, and the bank's round stamp.
5. Most banks acknowledge complaints made online, through an automated system. The complainant will receive the complaint ticket/token on their registered email and/or mobile number. This number is important and must be saved for future reference.
6. A photocopy of the complaint must be held by the complainant if the same is sent via Registered AD.

The details mentioned above make it easier for customers with grievances to follow-up on their complaints. If the entire history of the event is maintained the ‘battle' with banking giants becomes a lot easier, because they have fewer grounds to dispute the customer's claims.

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