Money-eating ATM leaves Blue Springs woman unable to pay rent

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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- A Blue Springs woman found herself in the middle of a bureaucratic nightmare when she tried to get her money back from the ATM that ate it.

This problem started at Blue Ridge Bank and Trust about midnight on January 2.

"I went to the ATM to get my money out to pay my rent, my light bill, and my phone bill," said Cassandra Jennings. "All my bills come due on January 3."

Jennings said the ATM showed that $580 in cash was being dispensed, but nothing came out.

Thinking her cash was just stuck inside the machine, she attempted to make a second withdrawal of $20. But again, no money.

Now Jennings was frantic and afraid to leave the ATM because she thought the next person who used it might get her money.

After waiting there more than half an hour, she finally left and returned to the bank early the next morning.

A bank manager, however, didn't offer her much hope.

Jennings said she was told that because she didn't have an account at the bank, she would need to file a claim for a refund with the Social Security Administration, the federal agency that gave her the debit card.

"She said you need to go to the Social Security office to file a claim," Jennings said. But when Jennings tried to get help from Social Security, "they said it was the bank's fault," Jennings said, nearly in tears.

She finally called the number on her debit card for help, but a customer service representative told her it could be as long as 90 days before she could see her money again. Now she was frantic because all of her bills were due, including her rent.

"This is my only income," Jennings said. "I don't want to lose my place. I have been up all night. I have not slept."

That's why she called FOX 4 Problem Solvers.

We were puzzled as to why Blue Ridge Bank and Trust wouldn't help her. We called the bank's corporate office and were impressed to get a call back from the man at the very top, President Bill Esry.

Despite what Jennings had been told, Esry said it was clearly a problem with the bank's ATM and therefore the bank's problem to solve.

A few hours later, after Blue Ridge Bank confirmed that the ATM had malfunctioned, Jennings got all her money back.

Jennings said she has used the ATM at Blue Ridge Bank for years because it doesn't charge her a fee on her debit card. Now happy that this problem is solved, Jennings told us she still plans to open an account at the bank.