Belfast Telegraph

I'd be too afraid to double my money at dodgy bank machine

By Gail Walker

It's the big question: what would you do? An ATM in Dundee was giving out "double money". Soon up to 60 people were queueing.

Now its operators are saying they will not be pursuing the missing cash but will leave it up the consciences of individuals.

Well ...? As I found out in conversation after conversation, there are many nuanced circumstances to consider. Some found it simple. "Banks? **** 'em". Others turned into young George Washington, proclaiming: "I cannot tell a lie. I chopped down the ATM ..."

I'd hand the money back - not because I'm a moral champion, but a coward. But there are so many complicating factors. No, I wouldn't have joined the queue. That would be clear theft. But if I wasn't aware of the malfunctioning machine and, having asked for £10, got £20 back?

Hmmm. If the ATM was at a bank and it was open, I'd probably hand it back. But if there was a huge queue to do so ...? What if was at night? Going back the next day would be hassle ... ? And what if I asked for a £100 and got £200? No, that crosses the line. But where does that leave my £10/£20 conundrum?

The Dundee ATM was a standalone at a shop. Another complication. With standalones called things like CASH 24, how would I know which bank to return it to?

It's hardly surprising if many see it as a little windfall, reckoning it all balances out in the great ledger book in the sky. After all, who pursues unfair bank charges with vigour?

Ultimately fear of the dawn raid by the ATM police would get the better of me. I'd hand it back, glad to be out of my own moral maze. But maybe it's not my own MM? After all, it was the bank's mistake... Sometimes, there's a lot to be said for being a big scaredy cat. Easier on the old brain cells ...

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