Ontario man loses $2,500 after wire transfer to Cuba goes missing
Published Tuesday, December 5, 2023 6:19AM EST
An Ontario man said he routinely sends money to his girlfriend in Cuba, but was shocked when a $2,500 wire transfer never showed up.
“I've been trying to figure out for over a year what happened to the money. It did not arrive," said Zev Berkovich of North York.
Berkovich said he met his 25-year-old girlfriend in Cuba a few years ago and now goes back and forth to see her every couple of months. He also send her funds by wire transfer and usually has no problems.
But in June 2022, Berkovich said, he sent her $2,500 using an international money transfer through Royal Bank of Canada and said the funds never arrived.
“It left the bank in Canada and from there it went to a bank in Cuba, but there is no trace of what happened after that," he said.
When CTV News Toronto reached out to Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) a spokesperson said: “Through a detailed investigation, RBC confirmed that the authorized transfer reached its intended recipient, as specified by our client. Additional details have been shared directly with Mr. Berkovich.”
Berkovich said he did file a complaint with RBC, but has been told his case is closed.
“They said as far as we are concerned the money has reached its destination," he said.
Berkovich said he now gives his girlfriend money directly when he visits Cuba, but said he no longer trusts using wire transfers.
'MANY THINGS CAN GO WRONG' WITH WIRE TRANSFERS: EXPERT
Many wire transfers are sent everyday from Canadian banks to international locations without issue, but if your money does go missing while in transit from one bank to another it can be difficult to get it back.
“With wire transfers, it is one of the trickiest transactions in the banking system and many things can go wrong," said Omar Fares, a lecturer at the Ted Rogers School of Retail Management.
Fares said while most wire transfers get to where they should go, he explained if there's a mistake in the information or the transfer gets sidetracked during the process it can be difficult to retrieve funds that go missing.
“If there is an issue in the information, if there is an issue in the sender details, whatever the issue is, once the money is taken out it's very challenging to get it back," Fares said.
Fares said if you have issues with a wire transfer you should file a complaint with your bank, as well as the Ombudsman for Banking Services and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.
Most problems with wire transfers happen when people enter financial information incorrectly so it's important when sending funds to triple check accounts carefully because if the funds go missing you may not get them back.