In the sleepy farming town of Canutillo, Durango, Mexico.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Durango City, Durango, Mexico.

Where are they going next? Mexiquillo Natural Park, Durango, Mexico.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Ripped off by an ATM

Yesterday morning, six of us headed back to central Guanajuato. Ruth and I just wanted to wander around and see if we could find anything new to see, as well as showing the other four some of the neat things we had seen before.

Oh, and we wanted to go have enchiladas mineras for lunch... a local specialty dish.

We lucked out with the bus... it arrived only a minute after we got to the bus stop across the road from the RV park. It took almost an hour to do the 13 km (8 mile) drive into the city. Lots of traffic!

The city is getting ready for Christmas.

This fancy hotel had a nicely decorated lobby.

Our first stop was the big central market. We all picked up a few things and by the time we were done there it was pretty much lunch hour! 

Lynette and Ruth buying some jamaica and peppers.

Chicken, anyone...?

The food stalls were getting busy.

We went to some stalls outside the market building itself. Ruth and I had been here two years ago and we enjoyed the local specialty dish "enchiladas mineras" and we tried to go back to what we thought was the same place. I even dug up a photo on my phone and asked one lady working there if it was the same place. It turns out that the lady in the photo I had is off work because she is about to have a baby! Anyhow, we sat a nearby one and had the same dish.

Ruth had hers with beef.
The enchiladas themselves are actually hidden under all that salad stuff!

And I had mine with chicken.

Cost per plate was 80 pesos ($4.00 USD, $5.25 CAD). Delicious!

Next, it was off to a couple of churches.

Shrine to Guadalupe.

Lynette and Paul stayed in the churches and went off on their own. We took Brian and Kathy to the University archives library that we had found when we were here last year.

Lots of ancient books.
Every book has a tag in it stating the date of the book.
These ones are 1925, 1824, 1787, and 1787.

The two large ones are dated 1615!



Then, we went for a stroll in the tunnels...


Neat tunnel system underneath Guanajuato.

Scenery along the way.

The Guanajuato Basilica.

Central Guanajuato.

Inside the basilica.

Huge chandelier.

The manger scene.

Colorful Guanajuato. 
Ruth, Kathy, and Brian.

We were about ready to head back to the bus stop when I remembered I needed an ATM. We had been using the HSBC machines, but they have increased their fees to an unreasonable 63 pesos. Other banks range between 17 and 55 pesos. So, I went to a busy Banorte bank. The fee there was 45 pesos. We've used Banorte machines before... as well as Banamex and other major Mexican banks.

I put my card in, and my code. Everything happened normally, and it brought me to the screen that asked how much cash I wanted. This time, there was an option for 9,000 pesos ($450 USD, $625 CAD) that I've never seen before. Usually, the maximum is 7,000 pesos. Anyhow, it makes sense to spread the fee over a higher amount of cash, so that's the option I selected. Usually, as soon as you hit enter, you can hear the machine counting the money. This time, there was hesitation. Then about 5 seconds later, it spit out my reciept and then it spit out my card. But it never spit out any cash!

I checked my bank app on my phone, and sure enough it had been debited $625 CAD.

This happened once before... when we were in Guatemala in 2013. At the time, the bank where the ATM was located said there was nothing they could do and I had to contact my own bank in Canada. (I eventually got the money back about two months later!)

I went inside where the bank was packed with people, and I managed to interrupt a guy sitting at a desk with another customer. I explained the story as best I could, and I thought I understood that it might get credited back within 24 hours and that there was nothing they could do. But I wanted to be sure, so I went back to the plaza where we had bought a piece of cheesecake from a girl who spoke perfect English. I asked her to come to the bank with me and just confirm that was the case. The woman we spoke to this time said that it was because the machine maximum is 8,000 pesos. Well then why does it have an option for 9,000?? The lady just shrugged her shoulders. I gave the cheesecake girl 50 pesos for helping me.

So then yesterday back at the RV park, I called TD Bank in Canada. They said they will begin an investigation, and it could taken up to 55 days.

I'm confident I'll get my money back, but it's frustrating nonetheless.

(Edit: The money was returned to my account 4 days later on December 19th!)

Today, we move on to San Miguel de Allende, a short 67 km (42 mile) drive.


And in Canada...


  1. You never know about these bank machines, good luck with getting your comment back.

    1. Bank machines most likely work well 99% of the time, if they were that finicky nobody would use them. Thankfully this has only been our second time having an issue in all our years of traveling. I am sure we will get our money back.

  2. Lovely pictures of a beautiful city. Our bank is RBC and I can use, HSBC and Santander but Banorte and Banamex won't work for me here in Mazatlan. I always try for a maximum but if it's too much it just rejects my request. Very odd to have it say yes and not spit out the cash. That has happened to people we know here. Ah Mexico!

    1. Yes, we have found a couple of banks that our card doesn't seem to work in so we stay away from those and we have also had it reject a request for more than the maximum before as well. We don't quite understand why they say they had a maximum of 9,000 when the teller says it is only 8,000 but we are sure that isn't the reason why it didn't work. We are confident we will get our money back, we will just have to be patient. :-)

  3. The bank thing happened to me too - but in Toronto. I did get all the money back but it took months. And it had to be initiated by my own bank. Frustrating indeed.

    1. Yep, that that is exactly the same way it worked for us back in 2013. Very frustrating but there is nothing else that we can do about it, except to wait.

  4. It would have been less expensive to use the ATM you normally use. Cheaper is not always better. Good luck with the refund.
    The sites are beautiful. Wonderful pictures. Continued safe travels.

    1. The cost of the fee has nothing to do with the reliability of the ATM machine. We have used this type of ATM bank machine before and many others in many, many years of traveling and only one other time had a problem. We have heard of others having a problem in our own country with a "big" named bank, machines do breakdown every once in awhile. We are confident we will get our money back, it will just take a bit of time.

      So glad you are enjoying our pictures and posts. :-)

  5. I never use ATMs. Instead, I go to Walmart and use my debit card to get cash on a purchase. No fee, plus the cash is counted out by an actual human.

    1. That is not possible here Doug, and even if it was they would only give you up to the equivalent of about $100 which isn't enough for us.

  6. Wow! Such a beautiful city, great pictures too. $650.00 CDN in limbo is difinitely worth getting upset about. I hope customer service will prevail.

    1. We love Guanajuato, it's such a pretty and interesting city.

      It is really annoying but things like this do happen from time to time, it's part of traveling sometimes. Luckily out of all our years of using an ATM which is probably close to 30 years we have only once had a similar problem. We will get our money back, we are pretty confident of that.

  7. I go inside a bank to get large amount of cash. I never use ATM unless it's a small amount. Or I do like Doug above does, get cash at Walmart store with purchase. Usually the Walmart limit is about $100 though.

    1. You may be able to do that in your own country but you cannot do that in a foreign country. The ATM is the only logical way to take money out of you bank account in a foreign country. There may be other ways but they would be very convoluted and take lots of time. In over 30 years of using ATM machines, this is only our second time having a problem and that is using machines in countries all over the world. I think we will stick to using an ATM for getting our cash. The odds are on our side.

  8. Oh boy, that would ruin my day! It is something I fear every time I use an ATM outside of Canada.

    1. It didn't ruin our day but it certainly put a bit of a damper on it! Kevin says he never worries about using an ATM outside of Canada but it's always a good feeling when it spits out your money. :-)

    2. When an audit is done on that particular ATM it should show an extra $9,000 pesos inside it. When that happens there should be some agreement between that bank and your bank to return the money to you. Hopefully it goes that smoothly and nothing goes wrong.

    3. It will just take a little time that is all but we are confident we will get our money back. :-)

  9. Love these posts. Sorry about ATM. We are headed for South Africa where I picked up your blog maybe 5 years ago after you went to Bulungulu. We always are extra careful about ATMs in SA. It was fun meeting up with you in San Miguel 3 or 4 years ago. Go well. Trish and John

    1. Have fun, I am sure you will have a blast! Never had a problem at all with the ATMs in South Africa but again we always used one that was standing at an actual bank.

      When we were driving to San Miguel yesterday I thought of you two and how lucky we were to have met up with you both here and we able to spend a few hours together. Our paths seem similar at times but until then they just never crossed. :-)

  10. I think "ripped off" is a bit harsh. Banortel makes it clear on their disclaimer that the physical bank location is not responsible for the ATMs at the branch locations.

    1. Rip-off meaning: an act of cheating someone by charging too much or not giving anything of value for money.

      Until I get my money back, I feel ripped off.

  11. Apart from issues with Sherman while you were on the West Coast, this seems to be the first negative experience you encounter. Sorry for all this worry but you'll certainly get your money back ... sometime later! Thanks for the beautiful photos and your comments which allow me to follow you day by day, along this trip! Wish I were in the group!

    1. Not everything goes well, it is all part of travel. We do like to stay positive as much as possible and try to take things in stride when they don't go so well. It is always much better than a day at the office! ;-P

      We are glad you are enjoying our journey and following us virtually. Thank you! :-)

  12. Replies
    1. Then you would have loved this library! :-)


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