A Western Australian man is terrified he has lost his life savings – a whopping $580,000 – after he received two unexpected emails from his bank that the entire amount had been withdrawn and his account closed.
Yet Bruce, who did not want his surname used, never authorised any transaction and has no idea where his money has gone – adding he can’t get any answers from the “space cadets” running the Ubank customer service line.
Ubank has confirmed to news.com.au that the emails are legitimate and are not a scam.
Bruce is worried the stress of the experience could have serious health consequences as he has spent at least 20 hours on the phone to Ubank trying to get an answer.
“I could have a bloody heart attack over this. I’m generally a relaxed sort of guy but I’m freaked out and it’s sure not doing my health any good,” he told news.com.au.
The nightmare began when Bruce received an email on November 24 from Ubank that stated: “Just want to let you know that we’ve processed a debit on your account for $578,759.53.”
Just four seconds later a follow up email revealed that Bruce’s account was now closed.
“That is my life savings. I’m a self-funded retiree and … if I had to go into hospital or have an operation it could well have been my living fund and I’m totally screwed as I have no access to it, wherever it is,” he said.
“It’s freaking me out. Anyone I’m speaking to they just can’t believe it.
“No one from Ubank has told me or assured it’s a glitch, the money is safe, it’s all OK. No one has been able to confirm that to me.
“There is nothing concrete and there are no emails, no apology, no admission that there is a problem that they will attend to in the next 24 hours and its been eleven days and it’s doing head in. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, my wife is freaking out and the kids are on my back.”
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The 73-year-old said when he initially got the emails he didn’t “panic” but logged into his account to discover his bank balance sitting at zero.
He jumped on to the phone to Ubank and was initially told the emails shouldn’t have gone out and it would be fixed in the morning.
But 11 days later, nothing has changed and Bruce has no idea where his money is, despite spending between 15 to 20 hours last week on the phone to Ubank’s customer service.
“It’s like a black hole. I can’t get hold of a sensible person who knows exactly what is going on,” he added.
The dad-of-two said he has held an account with Ubank for around eight years and had been given no new details about a new account – despite the bank undergoing a huge change.
Hundreds of other customers have vented how “disgusted” and “frustrated” they over upgrades, which have made it difficult to access their money – although reported cases have not been as severe as Bruce’s experience.
Ubank, which started in 2008 and operates under NAB’s licence, has been slammed by several customers who have been forced to get a new BSB, account numbers and debit cards, as part of a merger with another bank.
For Bruce, who spent decades working as an engineer, he just wants some answers.
“You work for 40 years and think you have enough money to live with and do what you want to do and then a big portion of it is gone – bang – and you have no access to it,” he said.
“I’m at my wits end and no one should be treated how I have been treated, it’s unbelievable.”
A Ubank spokesperson could not say where Bruce’s money had gone, adding they can’t talk about specific customers due to confidentiality requirements.
“Ubank is however working with customers who have been impacted,” they said.
It comes as another Ubank customer suddenly found herself “overwhelmed” with stress and in tears after access to her $40,000 account was suddenly cut off.
They Sydney woman said she through an “absolutely awful” experience that made her feel like a “criminal”.
She has been left her “with not even a dollar” to her name and forced her to set up a new account with another bank.