A couple who say their $90,000 life savings vanished from their Commonwealth account during a bungled transfer have been dealt a blow, with the bank disputing their claim.
Ellie Houston, 21, and her partner Trae Murphy, 23, say they transferred $90,000 from their account to a Bank of Melbourne account on June 30.
The pair had saved the substantial amount of money for a land settlement in Yarrawonga, a town located near the NSW and Victoria border.
Ms Houston claimed in an interview with the 3AW radio station on Monday that the money initially bounced back into their account – before eventually disappearing altogether.
She claimed that she has screenshots and receipts that show the money moving between the two accounts – but Commonwealth is refusing to refund them the lost money.
Ellie Houston, 21, and her Trae Murphy, 23, say they transferred $90,000 from their account to a Bank of Melbourne account
A spokesman for Commonwealth Bank (CBA) said it had investigated the claims and had since told Mr Murphy that the receipt numbers he provided ‘do not exist in CBA records’.
‘On examination of the images of the receipts provided, the documents differ from genuine CBA receipts and the receipt numbers do not exist in CBA’s records,’ the spokesman said.
The statement added: ‘Mr Murphy contends the balance of his account should be $96,000. Following an investigation by CBA, we have informed Mr Murphy:
‘The account in question (or any other account held Mr Murphy) did not have a balance of $96,000 (or an amount close to it) at the time of the relevant transfers or the 12 months prior.
‘The account from which the transfers allegedly took place is a NetBank Saver which only permits transfers to another CBA account and is unable to process transfers to another financial institution.
‘Subject to receiving additional information from Mr Murphy, CBA is willing to make further enquiries.’
This differs to the account of events provided by Ms Houston and Mr Murphy, who said they were emailed a link to the Beyond Blue suicide line by Commonwealth following their complaint.
‘Our money bounced back into our CBA account because both our names weren’t approved yet on the Bank of Melbourne account,’ Ms Houston told 3AW radio on Monday.
The couple tried again to transfer the $90,000 to the Bank of Melbourne account on July 4, but the money bounced back to their account a few days later.
As they were on holiday in Bali at the time the couple couldn’t transfer the money internationally and were charged a $2,500 late settlement fee.
A spokesman for Commonwealth Bank (CBA) said it had investigated the claims and had since told Mr Murphy that the receipt numbers he provided ‘do not exist in CBA records’
‘We came home from Bali on the 20th (of July), we went straight into Commonwealth to settle this land and transfer the money to the Bank of Melbourne,’ she said.
‘No money in our account. 75c. And they can’t tell us where it’s gone, nothing.’
Ms Houston said the $90,000 had been in the CBA account while they were in Bali but when it came to transferring it to the Bank of Melbourne when they returned home, it had disappeared.
She and her partner took a day off work to sit in the office of a bank employee in the hopes of finding the deposit.
‘We were visibly distressed because we had lost so much money,’ she said.
‘They asked us if we were being held ransom because we were so upset. This was a whole day, then they took five weeks to come back with an answer.’
The couple claim Commonwealth Bank sent a link to Beyond Blue, a suicide prevention hotline, after she described the toll the missing money was having on her and her partner
The couple were finally given a ‘three dot point’ explanation from the complaints team who stated their records did not match those of the couple.
Ms Houston says she has receipts and screenshots from the two occasions the $90,000 was transferred.
She claims the bank sent a link to Beyond Blue, a suicide prevention hotline, after she described the toll the missing money was having on her and her partner.
‘They said ‘we’re really sorry, we’re still investigating this, here are some links if you need some help’,’ she recalled.
The couple have had to increase the amount of an existing loan to keep the land.
‘My partner and I have been together since we were 15 years old, we’ve saved for so long for this land and our goal was always to pay it off before we put a house on it so we could then travel,’ she said.
‘It feels like everything’s been taken from under us.’