Money & Banking

“If you pay up, I’ll shut up”

“If you pay up, I’ll shut up”

A woman is in a vicious battle with her bank after they informed her she’d have to travel to Japan to cash in 30-year-old cheques.

Joy Gordon, 78, told A Current Affair she finds the situation “just stupid. Insane.”

"It's my money. I'd like it please."

Ms Gordon has been trying to cash old cheques she believes would be valued at over $1000 now, for over 18 months.

The bizarre scenario began when the 78-year-old attempted to cash in the cheques in September 2019 at a Travelex, a company that sells foreign currency to travellers.

She had been waiting for years for the currency to improve but was firmly turned away and told to send her cheques to a bank in Japan. she said would be valued over $1000 now.

Ms Gordon told the Channel 9 program she did indeed send her mail to a Japanese bank, but when her mail came back unopened, she went to ANZ as they had sold her the traveller’s cheques over 30 years ago.

The woman says she was again told by ANZ the only way they could be processed is if they were sent to Japan.

She was later told to go to Japan herself if she wanted her money bank.

"Due to the high value of the cheque, ANZ Japan have confirmed you will need to be in attendance in their branch, before they will process the cheque,” an email addressed to Ms Gordon from ANZ read.

"By time you pay for airfare and accommodation, quarantine in Japan, quarantine back here in Brisbane, the cost of that far exceeds the previous value of the traveller's cheques," Ms Gordon said.

Travel expert Quentin Long told A Current Affair that purchasing foreign currency in the form of a cheque is a much safer decision than using actual cash.

"They're meant to be a legal currency that has no end date, so theoretically you can cash them at any stage," he said.

Quentin Long for A Current Affair. Image: Channel 9

Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case for Ms Gordon, who despite having her paperwork, was still turned away.

But this doesn't appear to be the case for Ms Gordon, even though she said she has the paperwork to prove she got her traveller's cheques from her local ANZ branch 30 years ago.

Jo Ucukalo from Handle My Complaint told the Channel 9 program that the problem stems from the traveller’s cheques being in Japanese Yen.

"If they'd been in Australian or American dollars it probably wouldn't have been an issue," she said.

However she went on to say: "The bank seems to be coming up with a raft of excuses.”

"When the traveller's cheques were sold to Joy, she was told that they never expired and she would be able to redeem them all over the world. So why is this any different?

"My advice to ANZ is to show some common sense and compassion."

ANZ has since honoured the traveller checks and pay Ms Gordon.

"We can advise that we have reviewed this matter and, in line with our fairness principles, we have resolved this issue with the customer," an ANZ spokesperson said.

Statement by an ANZ spokesperson:

Whilst ANZ doesn't discuss the specific details of individual customers, we can advise that we have reviewed this matter and, in line with our fairness principles, we have resolved this issue with the customer. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused Mrs Gordon.

While cases like this are very rare, we will be reviewing our processes to ensure this doesn't happen again.