State bank told to pay for a lack of security

Banco Nacional got some bad news Wednesday when a branch of the Corte Suprema de Justicia reaffirmed a decision in favor of a debit card holder.

The decision said that the bank has to reimburse the customer for money that was taken from her account in six illegal transactions.

The court also said that the bank has an absolute responsibility to promote security methods to prevent illegal withdrawals from the machines.

The Sala Primera of the high court characterized the decision as coming under the rights of consumers. It said there existed shortcomings in bank security that violated the customer’s rights. The bank had failed to install a security camera at the specific automatic teller that was used in the crime.

The case had been heard in the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo where the Heredia bank customer first filed the complaint. That court ordered the bank to pay the woman 490,000 colons that she lost, plus interest from 2009 plus 500,000 in damages. The award is about $2,000.

The bank’s lawyers appealed the lower court decision to the Sala Primera. The woman customer said she never gave anyone her debit card nor did she share the PIN number. She also said she did not bank online.

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