Credit card replacement issues

My 28 year old step-son is on the Autism Spectrum and quite independent. He has great difficulties communicating though. About 2 months ago his Smart Access bank card through the Commonwealth Bank stopped working whenever he tried to use the pay-wave option, so he went into the bank with his mother and organised for a replacement card to be issued, which never arrived.

They went back into the bank a couple of weeks later, and the bank was adamant that the card had been sent, and the postal address was double checked to be correct. A new replacement was then issued. This too failed to arrive, and he now doesn’t have a card at all because the old one expired about a month ago and one of the bank’s ATMs confiscated it.

Another attempt was made to get a replacement card and yet again it didn’t arrive. The bank says it was sent and none of the replacements have been used. We checked with the post office where our post office box is located and they haven’t received anything in all this time that hasn’t gone into our post box, or been carded because it was a parcel.

The bank refuses to have the card sent to our local branch so he can pick it up from there and they won’t put any tracking on them when they go in the post so we can keep an eye on where they’re ending up, even when we offer to pay the extra for the tracking costs.

Today I contacted the bank via their official Facebook page, and the best they could suggest was that we phone them. The only problem with this is, they won’t talk to anyone except our son, who has no idea how to answer any of the questions they want him to answer in order to identify who he is, and so they won’t even look at his account because they don’t believe he is who he is, even after we explain his disability. They simply won’t let us talk on his behalf.

We are at our wits end and simply don’t know how we’re going to get a new card for him to use. He can use online banking, but being Autistic, he has to follow a set routine and that routine involves him using his bank card in a teller machine whenever he needs to withdraw some cash.

The bank doesn’t seem to care and they’re not prepared to come to the party when we suggest ways of getting around this. We’ll probably end up having to change his bank at this rate, which will be a further problem for his Autism as change is not something he can cope with.

Is there any way that we can force the bank to come to the party and send the card to a branch, or at least put some tracking on it when it gets posted out?


Do you have a Power of Attorney to act on your son’s behalf?

This would allow you to fully act on your son’s behalf and allow you to bank like it was your son.


No, and we’ve never needed one. He’s quite capable of managing his own money. He just isn’t good at communicating when asked questions.


It might be a good time to set one up for circumstances where his communication becomes a problem.

Other banks will have the same problems Commonwealth is experiencing at the moment. Changing banks might just shift the problem elsewhere.

I used PoA when I lived overseas for my father to act on my behalf and still had affairs in Australia. Was needed to be used and rnded up being a godsend. Living overseas communication can be a real problem as well.


Anyway his main problem isn’t that he can’t access the bank via the phone, because we can quite easily go into a branch with him and get things sorted in person. His main problem is that the bank won’t do anything to add tracking or let him pick it up at a branch. They’re just going to keep sending the things out and they’re going to keep not arriving. A simple tracking number when it’s posted would be enough for us to see what’s going on during the journey in the post and where it’s going missing, but the bank is digging its feet in and refusing to help.


Have you tried speaking to the local branch manager…and if no joy, the regional manager.


Also try the…

I am sure there are exceptions which can be made under circumstances like yours.


Thanks, we’ll go through the complaints process and hopefully not need the customer advocate service. Not getting anything from the staff behind the counters at all that’s helpful.


I also suggest you get a Power of Attorney. Mr Z is low on the autism spectrum and similarly can’t articulate financial issues with the bank, power, phone companies. With a PoA, or his authorisation, I am now able to “talk for him” but don’t need to manage him.

As for mail going astray, I have experienced this many times. Depends on the database the company uses. Recently I subscribed to a magazine on-line, but their database did not recognise my address (the number), so the first (manually addressed) arrived but the others didn’t and were sent back 2 months later as “Left Address” and/or “Insufficient Address”. These are picked out by the sorting office (in our case a large regional centre 4 hrs away) and don’t make it to the PO who have the contract for the Rural Roadside Delivery (they know where we live - only 4 on that road.) So I suspect the cards will be returned to the bank over coming months.

Do complain, they will at least open a case file and add to their statistics. It might make it better.


I think you can get an “authority to act” form from the bank. Then you can answer on your son’s behalf, or even sort things out for him.

The CBA uses a third party organisation to print their various plastic cards; in Melbourne if I remember correctly. The CBA have no control once they send off the request for the card to be produced. I was told that it takes on average 3-4 weeks for the card to arrive, which is appalling if you need it immediately. (My last one took about a month.)

Non of that helps you, but may clear up why the CBA staff aren’t more forthcoming in assisting your son and you.


Absolutely! Make that an Enduring Power of Attorney.

If one needs to go to the trouble the PoA is universal while the Authority to Act is for a specific account.

I suspect you are very well aware of advocacy organisations but worth mentioning for others.

Another route might be FOS that is now apparently AFCA.

In normal circumstances I would also suggest a bank that actually CAN, not just pretend, to be customer orientated, but noting your situation I accept a routine is of primary importance unless all else fails.


I agree with the PoA, but the ‘Authority to Act’ can be quick and costs nothing. The PoA takes time to set up and of course costs.

So in @NubglummerySnr’s case I would get the ‘AtoA’ as the short term solution to get the credit card sorted, and organise the PoA as the long term solution.


That depends where one is. Your comment is educational and I thank you for it. Apparently Tassie is (to be polite) quite conservative in this matter as requiring a fee and registration of the document. In many jurisdictions a PoA only requires downloading and executing a standard form set, and providing the original or certified copy to the institutions where it is to be exercised.

Probably quite true but sometimes those authorities do not include the ability to do some things such as address changes, requesting duplicate cards, and so on. The conditions and limitations (if any) at the CANnot bank are unclear from their topical web page.


Yes, it is possible to draft one’s own using a standard form, like the ones here or other websites.

Check with your state government to see what the process is to use it as a legal instrument for which it is intended.

Some state government also have forms and guides to assist with their preparation. Here are the ones for Queensland.


Give the bank the flick. Try Bendigo Bank great personal service.


While a PoA in place can assist an adult when they have someone to step in for them as may be needed, what happens if there is not somebody to do so? Clear lines of communication to assure a customer that their services problems can be resolved, need to be assured. It can be very challenging for any person to gain bank assistance when a process is not customer orientated, let alone for a person on the Autism Spectrum who social/communication skills are challenged just by the need to talk to a stranger.
Ultimately, perhaps a Complaint to the Disability Commission about resolving functional service delivery from a Sector which every person relies upon to function. Hope this gets resolved soon for your son.


I have arranged POA for my Aged Mother, when it is required, and this allows me to act and negotiate on her behalf, either remotely , as we live 300kms apart, as well as attend the branch in person.
It was a simple authority to finalise, but does require you to go with your son to a CBA branch, and both sign the authority.


So, my partner and her son went into the bank to get it sorted again and this time the person behind the counter was someone who went to school with him and they both recognised each other. She then requested a new card and had it marked for a priority delivery service this time, which none of the other bank tellers seemed to think to do, even though the option was available. We’ll see if this makes a difference or not, because all the cards that they’ve sent previously simply haven’t arrived via regular post and the other tellers simply doing the same thing over and over again was not helping.


Whoops. 6 months later and I didn’t leave any updates after the previous post. After the card was marked for priority delivery service back in December, it actually arrived. :slight_smile:
No idea what happened to all the other cards that were supposedly sent via regular post.


Glad it FINALLY got sorted out for your Son.