British Columbia

Bank teller's mistake causes reputation headache for handyman

Scott Belway, a Richmond handyman, says CIBC double-deposited cheques he had submitted from customers. Some suspected it was him, causing damage to his reputation, while, he says, others knew it had to be the bank.

Scott Belway knew something was up when customers started calling

Handyman Scott Belway says he deposited 15 cheques at a CIBC branch in Richmond. He says the bank deposited the cheques twice. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

A Richmond handyman squared off against one of Canada's major banks this week with his reputation on the line — and he claims it took going to the media to clear his name.

Scott Belway went to his local CIBC branch at Garden City and Blundell Roads in Richmond on May 13. He deposited 15 cheques totalling just over $9,600 with a teller.

A few days later, he started getting calls from unhappy customers who said their cheques were deposited twice.

"They said, 'why are you trying to double dip into my account?'"

Belway says customers began emailing him after he deposited the cheques saying their banks thought he tried to deposit their cheques twice. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

They told him their bank was alerting them to a double withdrawal attempt. And some were suspicious about whether he was behind it.

He says one of his customers was told by their branch that he must have photographed the cheques for deposit and then deposited them in the ATM for this to happen.

"I am old school. I don't do things that way," said Belway.

'Unfortunate processing error,' bank says

He says he called the bank for answers but didn't get anywhere until after CBC News called CIBC's head office.

Belway says the bank was then quick to get in touch with him to explain it was a teller error.

"It was a teller that scanned cheques through the machine, went on break and decided to deposit cheques manually.

In a statement to CBC news, CIBC described the situation as an "unfortunate processing error" and said it's working to make it right with Belway and his customers.

The bank has also written a letter that Belway can forward to his clients explaining what happened. It has also offered to reimburse any service charges and out-of-pocket expenses his clients may have incurred.

Belway is thankful, but wonders if the situation would've worked out if he hadn't gone to the media.

"Pay attention to your customers and pay attention to your accounts," he said.

Belway says his business relies heavily on trust as he handles keys, alarm codes and clients often leave blank cheques.

He says any question about his integrity would be bad for his business.

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