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A client of my father should have received a payment via bank transfer from Belgium to Italy. It's been almost two months now but he hasn't received the money. The buyer keeps saying she sent the money and provided a copy of the receipt but claims the fund are being held for some sort of check. After a quick search online seems like the bank can only hold the funds for up to 5 days.

We suspects she's lying but the client won't give us the details of the transfer to check. He apparently spoke with the bank: the buyer called them from her phone and passed the person to the seller, which really looks like a con.

Can the bank hold the money for that long?

  • My bank refused to send a wire transfer until they could tell me verbally on the phone what the exchange rate was at the time. The fact that my phone was broken and I knew how to look up the exchange rate was irrelevant. Sometimes, neither common sense nor customer convenience can influence "policy." – WGroleau Jun 19 '17 at 16:38
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Can the bank hold the money for that long?

Generally No. Payments are either fulfilled [credited to beneficiary] or returned back to the Originator. At times, some payments do get stuck however this is rare occurrence if the details of Originator are not known or he/she has closed accounts after initiating transfer / etc.

We suspects she's lying but the client won't give us the details of the transfer to check. He apparently spoke with the bank: the buyer called them from her phone and passed the person to the seller, which really looks like a con.

Possible. One can't be sure. If the Buyer's Bank has initiated the transfer, they will have adequate reference number that they can give to Buyer and the Buyer can give it to seller [Beneficiary] and he can trace the payment at his Bank.

bank transfer from Belgium to Italy. It's been almost two months now but he hasn't received the money

This should be simple SEPA transfer and funds should get credited in 3 to 5 days. Adding a week say the instructions were not clear, etc. Max 2 weeks and not 2 months.

It is buyer's responsibility to provide adequate reference details so that seller can trace payments at his Bank if there is a dispute.

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Bank holds are performed by the receiving bank. The recipient can contact their own bank and ask if the deposit has been made, and if so can find out if it is still under hold. If the receiving bank has no record of the payment, then it has not been made yet.

Since it's been two months, your suspicion is likely correct.

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