Maria Smith had a Suncorp ATM dish her a $50 note that was cut in half.
Maria Smith had a Suncorp ATM dish her a $50 note that was cut in half. Rob Williams

ATM leaves users short on cash

IPSWICH woman Maria Smith was left short-changed just before Christmas when an automatic teller spewed out half a $50 note.

Mrs Smith said she believed she was not the only victim of the Suncorp-branded machine, which is positioned directly outside the Suncorp branch at Riverlink Shopping Centre.

However, when she went into the branch to report the incident, bank staff were unable to refund her - instead asking her husband to fill out a form.

"They told us other people had complained about similar incidents that day and we saw one man who had several notes that had been split down the middle lengthways," Mrs Smith said.

After filling out the form, Mr and Mrs Smith were told it would take up to 21 days for the refund to be processed.

"We went back a week later to check on the progress but nothing had been done," Mrs Smith said.

"We were given back our half of the note and told to go.

"Where was the Christmas spirit?"

Mrs Smith was only refunded once she took her complaint to her own bank - Bendigo Bank - on December 29.

The branch replaced her half $50 note with a full one immediately without question and the issue was resolved.

A Suncorp spokeswoman said the incident was being investigated.

Chubb, who deliver the cash, had also been notified and the ATM device was being inspected.

According to the Reserve Bank of Australia's policy on damaged banknotes, only half of the face value has to be paid back if a person presents between 20 and 80 per cent of a note.

This is because the RBA has to consider that someone else may attempt to return the other half of the note.

If more than 80 per cent of the note is missing, no value is paid.

A genuine banknote that has sustained minor damage over time can be exchanged for its full face value.

In a response to the QT, the RBA said it was not an offence to use an incomplete banknote.

"Though it is relevant to note that there is no obligation to accept a damaged banknote offered in payment or change," the RBA said.

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