Raymond Arke | News Editor
11/30/17: Updated with a comment from PNC.
Money is often a concern for every college student, but most anyone would be distressed to see their hard-earned money taken by an ATM and never deposited. Yet, that’s what one Duquesne student said happened at an ATM on the campus.
Brianna Hollick, a law student at Duquesne, said she went to the PNC Bank ATM in the Student Union on Nov. 14. She had received $450 for her birthday and was looking to deposit it into her State Farm account, something she had done on the PNC machines “many times” before.
“Everything appeared normal. The machine asked for my card, my pin and where I wanted to deposit,” she said. “It asked for my cash, I put it in the machine and before it counted the bills the screen read ‘out of service.’ It spit my card out but not my money and then went back to the home screen.”
Concerned that she didn’t receive a receipt of the transaction, Hollick checked her State Farm account and saw that it didn’t show any deposit. She wasn’t sure what to do next since there was no number to call on the ATMs.
“I started to panic because it was $450 and that is a lot of money to me,” Hollick said.
She first decided to go into the Duquesne Card Services office which is located next to the ATMs.
“There were three girls sitting behind the desk. They told me that this happens all the time,” Hollick said. The women at the help desk directed Hollick to call the PNC branch on Fifth Avenue, which is housed in a university building.
She had to wait until the PNC branch opened and in the meantime contacted State Farm, which assisted her in starting a process called a dispute. They also advised her to contact PNC about getting her cash back.
“I called [the PNC on Fifth Avenue] at 9 a.m. and a man answered the phone … He asked for my social security number, but I told him I do not have a PNC bank account. When I said that he told me there is nothing he can do to help me,” Hollick recounted.
When the PNC representative was asked if someone would be sent to fix it, he replied that the machines are serviced every two weeks, according to Hollick.
She also asked the representative if she could speak to anyone else, to which he said he was the only person. Hollick said that when asked for a first and last name, the PNC employee only gave “John Smith.”
The Duke called the PNC branch on Fifth Avenue on Nov. 29, and the representative who answered the phone confirmed there was no one who works at the branch named “John Smith.”
Hollick contacted Douglas Frizzell, the vice president for student life.
Frizzell told The Duke that he received Hollick’s email on Nov. 14.
“My office immediately shared this issue with Scott Richards, assistant vice president of Auxiliary Services, which is the appropriate office for such concerns. Mr. Richards has been working with Brianna to resolve the issue since that day,” he said.
Auxiliary Services oversees contracted and in-house services, including banking. Hollick said she reached out to Richards. She said that Richards told her that the PNC branch is notified when a malfunction occurs at the ATMs and that someone is sent to fix it.
Richards told The Duke that he hadn’t heard of any problems like this happening before. He also explained that PNC is responsible for managing the ATMs.
“Our ATM’s are continuously monitored and also have routine scheduled service onsite … PNC manages the vendors and routine schedules of the service operations for the ATMs on campus,” he said.
If a similar situation arises, Richards suggested that students contact the Duquesne PNC branch at 412-644-7509 or Auxiliary Services at 412-396-5140.
State Farm credited Hollick the money two days after the incident.
She said that PNC has not followed up with her.
PNC also advised students to contact Auxiliary Services or their personal bank if a similar situation were to occur.
“As a general rule of thumb, any time an individual experiences a problem with a withdrawal or deposit at an ATM, contact your financial institution. Note the location of the ATM and any identifiable information on that machine (bank brand, for example). Your financial institution will work with the ATM owner/operator to validate any dispute,” Diane Zappas, of PNC Media Relations, said in an emailed statement to The Duke.