3 On Your Side

Phoenix woman says ATM cheated her out of $660

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(Source: KPHO/KTVK) (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
(Source: KPHO/KTVK) (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
(Source: KPHO/KTVK) (Source: KPHO/KTVK)

Celine Brito lives in a tiny, two-bedroom Phoenix apartment with her kids and said that when it comes to money she barely survives. 

"In here is where after I go and do homework with my kids. We come in here and watch TV," Brito said as she was showing 3 On Your Side around.   

Brito said that although money is tight, the one thing that keeps her going are her three children, ages 5, 6 and 7. In fact, their pictures and artwork decorate nearly every wall. 

"You know every time my kids come home they have some beautiful artwork, and I'm like, you know, we're going to put them all on the wall," Brito said.   

Brito and her kids are in jeopardy of losing their apartment altogether after recently getting an eviction notice for failing to pay rent this month.   

The problem started at a Wells Fargo bank located near 55th and Northern avenues in Glendale. Brito said she and her sister pulled into the drive-up ATM to get some cash to pay rent. However, after inserting her debit card and imputing her PIN, the ATM malfunctioned and never dispensed the cash. It even displayed a message on the monitor which Brito snapped a picture of with her cellphone. The message said the machine was unable to process the transaction.   

However, according to Brito's ATM receipt, the machine did give her the money, and it even deducted $660 from her account, leaving her with a $17 balance.   

Brito said she and her sister panicked because not one dollar ever came out. 

"I was shocked. Did I just hear the machine do that? Like, I never had that happen before," a tearful Brito said.   

It's important to note that the debit card Brito was using is furnished by the Social Security Administration and each month the agency deposits a $733 disability check into that account. The money was certainly available, and although it was taken off Brito's card, the cash was never dispensed. Without that money, Brito can't pay her rent.    

"It's $733 a month, and it's livable. It's enough to pay for a roof over our head so we don't have to live in a shelter or the streets," she said.    

Brito immediately reported the problem to Wells Fargo management. She said they referred her to the Social Security Administration. She said this went on for a couple of days, and her rent needed to be paid.

"You're not going to give me my money?  What do you mean you're not going to give me my money?  I've been a nervous wreck," Brito said, crying.   

Wells Fargo told Brito it could take up to 45 days to investigate and get her the cash, but by then she'd be on the streets.   

So, 3 On Your Side got involved, and after speaking with Wells Fargo managers, they changed their minds and immediately issued Brito a cashier's check for $660.  

Brito said she's thrilled and couldn't have done it without 3 On Your Side's help. 

"I cried all night and prayed that this was going to happen. My baby asked me, 'Mama, are we going to lose our home?'  And I said, 'Don't worry, let me worry about that.' And then I got that call, and I was just like, 'Wow, thank you,'" Brito said.    

3 On Your Side would like to thank Wells Fargo for resolving this issue for us as quickly as it did. 

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