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English mayor rescues women who found themselves in a fix
An Arlington accountant, Janet Fix, took a trip to England recently and found herself in a fix.
She was traveling with her sons new mother-in-law, Loretta Lawrence of Lacey, Wash.
They decided during the wedding to take a trip together to Great Britain. They put their travel funds into an account with a debit card, informing their Washington Mutual bank they would be traveling in western Europe, then went on their merry way.
When they got to Britain, the Mastercard account was shut down and the savings account was not accessible.
Apparently the bank computers had decided the debit card must have been stolen, Fix said. Calls to the customer service number on the back of the card assured the travelers that the account was now released and should work in the ATMs. But it didnt.
The customer service personnel at one bank told the two adventurers that most ATMs in Europe take VISA, and EuroMastercard but do not take that USA type of Mastercard.
The were also told that the few ATMs that do take Mastercard limit the daily withdrawal to $500.
If it had been a credit card, the British banks would have given a cash advance loan, Fix said. But because it was a debit card none of the banks in England could access the funds already in the savings account, Fix said.
We had been to four banks and were unable to get any assistance from them. With nine days left before our flight home, we were down to pocket change and so we prayed for help.
And help arrived.
The mayor of Warminster, Veronica Burden, rescued the travelers.
She took the problem in hand personally and did not give up until a solution was obtained, Fix said.
She spent an hour at the Lloyds Bank in Warminster, speaking to various people and finally the debit card was cleared for use at Lloyds Banks across the U.K.
Mayor Burden was our lifesaver.
In doing so she has earned the respect of two stranded travelers and their families.
Without her help our once-in-a-lifetime trip would have been ruined, Lawrence said.
A representative of Washington Mutual Bank in Arlington said that Mastercard will often prevent withdrawals on debit cards if the patterns of use are not usual.
We always recommend travelers take more than one source of funds, the bank representative said. We encourage people to carry both travelers checks and a credit card, too.