TD bank considers clients 'guilty until proven innocent,' says victim of debit card theft


Vancouver teacher Eric Proulx has some advice he says you can take to the bank: if you run afoul of your financial institution, raise a stink. 

You might just get justice— and your money back.

Around 8:30 a.m. on April 10, Proulx says someone brazenly broke into mailboxes in his Mount Pleasant apartment lobby and stole a new Toronto Dominion bank debit card in his letter box.

The thief then withdrew $4,300 from Proulx's bank account.

"He had a pretty good day it seems," said Proulx, 28. "He was pretty lucky to not just get pizza flyers."

By the time Proulx learned of the theft a few hours later and checked his bank account, the money in the linked account was gone— drained by the thief, who had somehow activated the card.

Proulx, who has been teaching remotely during the COVID-19 crisis— and his partner, who's laid off during the pandemic— were devastated. 

They'd saved the $4,300 for the first two mortgage payments on their new apartment and were just in the process of moving in.

But more bad news was coming.

Thief caught on video, but TD blames victim

Proulx says TD didn't believe his story— even though he had reported the theft to Vancouver police— and had provided the bank with what he thought was a smoking gun: lobby surveillance video that caught the thief in action, ripping open scores of mailboxes with a crowbar.

Not enough, said TD. And then, he says, his bank blamed him for the theft.

"The TD employee said that his guess was that I had either given my PIN to someone or that ... he's heard also in the past that people have arranged to either disguise themselves and break into their own mail or have an accomplice do so," said Proulx.

"That's the kind of time where you try to stay polite on the phone."

TD Bank repays money

The case sat unresolved for almost two weeks. Proulx filed an appeal.

But within 20 hours of CBC News getting involved, TD reversed its position.