Bank pays out after refusing customer
A BANK which refused a woman a €3,000 withdrawal from her account has settled her €38,000 defamation claim with an undisclosed payout of damages.
Judge Alison Lindsay heard that staff at the Trustee Savings Bank in Dublin's O'Connell Street in 2006 had been in a state of particular vigilance against identity fraud following two hits the previous year.
Assistant manager Sarah Slattery told the Circuit Civil Court the branch in 2005 had been hit for significant amounts of money and staff had received a circular warning them to be extra vigilant in establishing customer identity.
Counsel for Noreen O'Neill told the court she had been refused payment of the €3,000 when she presented her savings pass book to staff at the bank, now owned by Irish Life and Permanent. He said Mrs O'Neill, of The Bungalow, Sylvan Avenue, Kingswood, Co Dublin, had her mortgage, savings and Visa card accounts with the Tallaght branch and on March 16, 2006 had visited the O'Connell Street branch to make a withdrawal.
Mrs O'Neill told the court she produced her pass book, two forms of photo identity and her Visa card but was told that since her savings book did not bear her signature she would have to produce her passport to satisfy bank regulations.
She said Ms Slattery had become impatient and had "shouted from one end of the bank to the other" that she would be escorted out of the building. Mrs O'Neill said she became upset and distressed as she had been in view of a large number of customers and staff. She had produced her CIE privilege card and social welfare card, both with photos, and her TSB Visa card.
She said her savings book was a replacement one and she had never been asked to sign it. After two hours she had been obliged to leave the branch without her funds.
Mrs O'Neill claimed she had been so traumatised by the incident she had to attend her doctor and had been prescribed sedatives and sleeping tablets.
Cross-examined by counsel for the bank, she denied having been abusive and aggressive.
Ms Slattery said the savings book had not contained a signature which would have shown up only under ultra violet light. Mrs O'Neill would not have been aware of this unless asked to sign the replacement book when it had been issued.
Following an adjournment, the court was told the case had been settled and could be struck out with an order for Mrs O'Neill's costs.