British Columbia

TD Bank agrees to refund $600 to defrauded art student

A Vancouver man is relieved that TD Canada Trust has now agreed to refund him  for fraudulent cheques cashed on his bank account. Preston Buffalo lost $600 from his account in July after losing his chequebook.

'A weight has been lifted,' says Preston Buffalo

Preston Buffalo, a student at Emily Carr University, is relieved TD Bank is refunding him $600 lost to cheque fraud. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

A Vancouver man who had fraudulent cheques cashed on his account is relieved that TD Canada Trust has agreed to refund him for his loss. 

Preston Buffalo lost $600 from his account in July after losing his chequebook.

TD had refused to reimburse him, telling him he hadn't used "due diligence" in protecting his cheques — despite the fact that fake signatures were used.

Now, following coverage on CBC, Buffalo is getting his money back.

"I feel like a weight has been lifted" said Buffalo, 39. 

TD first denied his claim

Buffalo, who is an art student, reported the loss to his bank as soon as he discovered it in late July.

He says that his bank manager was sympathetic, but ultimately TD's loss prevention office refused to reimburse him.

TD denied his claim in a letter August 27, writing that, under the terms of its product agreement, "you are responsible for exercising due diligence in protecting your card, account information (including cheques)."

Chequebook went astray

Buffalo acknowledges he doesn't know what happened to his chequebook. He moved at the end of June, and isn't sure if he left it at his old apartment building, or perhaps threw it out by mistake. 

Two of six fraudulent cheques bearing different signatures. (Submitted by Preston Buffalo) (Submitted by Preston Buffalo)

Six cheques of $100 each, in Buffalo's name, were cashed on his account between July 15 to 27.

But Buffalo hadn't written them and the signatures weren't even close to matching those on his bank signature card.

"It was nothing like how I sign my name," said Buffalo. He said bank staff told him "clearly, this is not your signature."

The bank indicated the cheques had been deposited through an ATM. Buffalo understood that after the bank reviewed surveillance video, the footage would confirm that he was not the culprit depositing the cheques and he would get his money back.

'Wouldn't have felt right just letting it go'

Buffalo appealed the refusal to the TD's ombudsman, and also shared his story with CBC. 

"I wouldn't have felt right just letting it go and rolling over", he said.

TD Canada Trust building in Vancouver on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC) (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

TD calls

Buffalo says a TD representative called him after the story appeared Thursday to let him know he would be refunded in the next few days. He was reminded to be careful protecting his cheques in the future.

"I feel like I can breathe again" said Buffalo. "There are some expenses coming from school that now I have the money for".

With files from Belle Puri

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