Me (with the aid of CONDUSEF) vs Banamex

On the folio (file folder) was written in big bold letters




Now that’s a little unnerving


Here’s how it started:

Back in November of 2013 during one of Tom’s pilgrimages to Home Depot his debit card (I am the account holder, but Tom and I each have debit cards on the same account) was rejected.

As you can well imagine he was quite confused, and then livid.  He called me, I called the bank, they couldn’t see any reason why it would be rejected, I called him, no good, still wouldn’t work.

The next day we headed to our bank and met with our account exec. He checked the account on his handy dandy all seeing computer, no issues,  we even did a 100peso withdrawal just to be sure it was all ok.  phew!

Later on, the same day, at the supermarket, Tom’s card was once again rejected.  This prompted a personal gaze in to our account via our own personal all seeing computer.

Unfortunately what we found was not ok.   Three days prior someone had used our, well Tom’s debit card and NIP (PIN) to make 5 separate withdrawals one after the other totaling just over 19,000.00pesos.

We immediately called the bank in DF (Distrito Federal) and made the report.  Amazingly we were told it could take up to 45 days to get their reply/determination.  Almost exactly 30 days later (26 December) we received an email informing us that the bank had no responsibility since our personal NIP/PIN was used.  We of course felt we had no recourse but to wait until after the holidays; our account exec, the guy assigned by the bank to help us,  would not return from holiday till 6 January.

We called Luis on 6 January 2014 and made an appointment for 7 January.  We asked to see him AND the Branch Manager.  No way, the Branch Manager can’t do anything, our Account Executive can’t do anything. ONLY DF can do anything.  We went and met with Luis, we outlined what we thought had occurred, why we weren’t to blame etc.  The outcome of our meeting with  Luis and after several phone calls to DF was that we should send a letter contesting the determination.  I was given the specifics of what the letter should say, etc, etc.

8 Jan and all the required info was scanned, saved to hard drive, attached to an email and sent off.

Within 24 hours, 9 January, I am informed the explanation letter needs to have the word REDICTAMEN on it.  OK, no worries, I make the adjustments and once again send it all off.

10 February, and we get the same form letter denying our claim.  Included in this documentation were printouts of each transaction. The withdrawals, which were made at a machine in Malaysia were our responsibility because it was our card, and and our NIP.  Seems unimportant that we can prove we were not in Malaysia.

13 February we go to CONDUSEF, (Comisión Nacional para la Defensa de los Usuarios de las Instituciones Financieras).  This is a completely free service offered by the Mexican Government to help the citizenry against financial institutions; banks, loan companies, etc. This should have been a pretty good clue, when the Government pays to have a Bureau to protect the citizens against financial institutions, we are screwed.

So, we have copies of everything we think we’ll need, but there are always the exceptions.

We return 14 February, Happy Valentines Day, and submit our paperwork.  What this does is force a representative of Banamex to come to a meeting with an arbitrator/conciliador to answer, and/or respond to our concerns.  And to offer justification for their decision.

This meeting was this morning, 21 April, 10:30am.  It was a joke, and extremely frustrating.  We had a bilingual friend along for this, and although I was able to explain, and understand most, it was so helpful, and quite vital to have her there.  So what this representative does, and he represents a multitude of banks, not just Banamex, he comes in with the same information that Banamex has already sent us, and just repeats it.  He is unable to answer any specific questions we have posed in our correspondence.

    •  When we leave the Country, heck, even the State, we are told we must call DF and advise them of the dates of our travel, and where we will be else we can’t use the card.
    •  When we travel, we are allowed 1 withdrawal per day. The amount of the withdrawal is determined by the atm machine.

1.  So how was someone in Malaysia able to make not 1, but 5 separate transactions when no advice was given?

2. How is this our fault?  How can someone, unknown to us acquire our NIP.

All parties agree, unofficially, that our card was probably cloned, although it was hinted at a possibility that we could have given our number and nip to someone…

So 2 hours later, nothing is being accomplished – We draft up a set of very specific questions to which Banamex MUST reply, else they get a multa, a fine.  Now the fine is just a bit more that the thieves got from us, so maybe to save a few pesos, Banamex will pay us.                                     I don’t know who gets the multa; us? CONDUSEF?

What we all agreed upon, unofficially, was that the bank has no responsibility to protect its clients, and we have basically no recourse.  We could go to a trial, but just how much is that going to cost??

Oh, one little tidbit – Banamex has the worst reputation in responsiveness towards its customers, and Santander has the best.

We have another meeting set, and a very specific set of questions are now a part of the CONDUSEF letter to Banamex, and not just my letter to Banamex.   So the MUST reply to the questions, or be assessed the fine.


Stay Tuned!



About Debi in Merida

I moved from Colorado Springs, Colorado USA to Merida, Yucatan, MX in January 2006. I love to read, garden, travel, and hang out with friends.
This entry was posted in Tramites and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Me (with the aid of CONDUSEF) vs Banamex

  1. Pingback: How do YOU get money from your US bank to your Mexican one? - Playa del Carmen, Mexico forum

  2. Judy Dyer says:

    I really admire your determination. I bet they count on people just giving up.

  3. Pingback: BanaMex 0, Me 1 | Debi in Mérida

  4. Kim G says:

    I’m sorry to hear this. I agree with the comment that it’s safer to have a US card. But that said, you should know that there are a lot of laws that protect you from unauthorized use of your credit card, but these laws don’t apply to debit. For that reason, I don’t use my ATM card for purchases, only withdrawals. Instead I use the credit card and pay it off at the end of the month.

    It seems odd that Banamex allowed your card to be used five times in one day in Malaysia. You can be quite sure that if you tried to use your card even once in Malaysia, that you’d probably be denied immediately. Heck, my credit union won’t even allow an ATM withdrawal in Italy of all places.

    I hope you win. You should.


    Kim G
    Mérida, Yucatán
    Where there’s a lot to be said for using plain old cash.

  5. princesanancy2012 says:

    So sorry you two. I know it could happen to any of us and it’s scary.

  6. Martha Lindley says:

    Another solution is to keep your money in the US (if you are from there), use ATM’s here and then you have recourse to US laws if this happens.
    Sorry for the hassle you guys are facing.
    BTW, when I was in Puerto Morelos in January we were told not to use a certain ATM because everyone knew there was a fake card reader in it that was cloning cards and stealing PINs. Ah what the bad guys will do to make a buck or a million.

  7. Kevin Donegan says:

    I’m sorry to hear this happened to you guys. What a nightmare. I had my home broken into and my passport was stolen. About once a week I get a call from a credit card company asking if I submitted a new credit card application. It’s miserable. When I read your point about “notifying the bank when you travel so your card can be used” I thought you guys had Banamex in the bag … how could the bank approve a withdrawal from Malaysia? Five times!! Good luck.

  8. Steve Cotton says:

    You just got me thinking. I am headed off to Europe with my Banamex card. I had best find out what I need to do.

    • I have now purchased those RFID sleeves for all credit/debit cards and passports. That’s supposed to be very effective. never let your card out of your sight is supposed to be important too! change your nip frequently.
      however, thieves are typically not all stupid, some are pretty savvy. if they want it they’ll get it. I think they go for easy, so we need to try to make it not easy.

  9. Marjorie says:

    Very interesting. Unfortunately banks in Canada aren’t much better and no Govt. body to mediate. When/if we get to Mérida and attempt to open a bank account (that will be a challenge) for sure we won’t go near Banamex!

    • we only got the bank acct for the convenience of the debit card. just don’t get a debit card.

      • Kevin Donegan says:

        The major “to do” item on my next trip was to set up a bank account for the convenience of using a debit card (plus not paying the transaction fees). If you don’t recommend getting a debit card, what do you recommend? I am really satisfied with my home credit union but am trying to get out of the 2% foreign exchange fees.

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