Re: ATM warning story

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Posted by Fred Metcalf on December 02, 2013 at 09:51:18:

In Reply to: ATM warning story posted by Fred Metcalf on November 29, 2013 at 14:49:46:

Yesterday (Sunday, Dec. 1), the motorcycling neighbors finally got off to the ferry. Since they did not return last night we assume all went well in boarding the ferry to Mazatlan. Their last stop in La Paz was to be Walmart in order to make a last check on the HSBC ATM machine. The record of HSBC did not hold out much hope that the ATM would have been serviced after 10+ days of being shut down.

One of the issues that kept them here for so long was that the swallowed ATM card was one of only two they were traveling with. They were very hesitant to continue with only one ATM card, although HSBC kept telling them their swallowed ATM card would be destroyed when (if ever!) the machine is opened.

While Baja California was just a small part of their trip, it turned out to be the major problem, at least so far. This is a Dutch family who had just spent seven years living and working in Australia. Their return to the The Netherlands is following a long route: the two islands of New Zealand, shipping their motorcycles to Vancouver, riding to Alaska and then south through Canada and the U.S., down the Baja California Peninsula and by ferry to the Mexican mainland, and south to the tip of South America at Ushuaia, Argentina (followed by the ride north to Buenos Aires to have the motorcycles shipped home).

While I have described the ATM problem with the HSBC bank, I should also mention the other problem, although it's not one that would be commonly encountered. This involved obtaining the vehicle permits required for driving in mainland Mexico. When taking the ferry across to the mainland you have to acquire the permit before you can get tickets for the ferry. In this case the son was 17 years of age and his motorcycle, plus the Dad's motorcycle, were both in the Dad's name. Both the age issue and the double ownership created obstacles in the mind of the agent they dealt with - so much so that she refused to even enter the data into her computer to see if it would complain. It was only after returning to the office with Mary Lou Adcock in hand that they managed to deal with someone who thought it might not be a problem, and was willing to enter their data into the computer. Presto! The applications were accepted and the three vehicle permits issued.

: The past week we've had a family of three on motorcycles camping next to us. They're on a trip-of-a-lifetime biking the north-south length of the Americas. They have been stuck here for two reasons, one of which offers a warning about ATM usage.

: I'll put the link to their full ATM story below, but in summary they had a credit card "swallowed" by an ATM in the La Paz Walmart. While the Walmart people have been helpful, the bank people have not (HSBC is the bank). It appears that the bank will destroy the credit card when they finally choose to send someone out to open the ATM (the credit card has been in the ATM for over 10 days at this point, and the ATM has an "Out of Order" sign put on by Walmart).

: One lesson to be taken from this experience is to use only ATM machines which do not "ingest" the card to read it. Since this "card swallowing" possibility has always been a lurking concern of mine, once I found at ATM in La Paz which did not require that I let go of the credit card, I stuck to that ATM and avoided all others (I use the Banamex ATMs on the SW corner of Abasolo and Colima - diagonal from the old CCC, now Chedraui, supermarket).

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