Is your safe deposit safe?

January 14, 2008 8:31:36 PM PST
Now an update to a story we aired back in 2003. How safe is your safe deposit box?

We worry about keeping our valuables at home, so we rent a safe depot box. But are they really any safer?

Stella and Ken Wai know first hand that putting items in a safe deposit box doesn't always mean they'll be there when you want them.

They know, too, that you can't always depend on your bank to keep track of the items.

"So it is our word vs. their word and of course they don't want to take a stand. They don't want to have any responsibility for what is in there," said Stella Wai from San Jose.

We first meet the Wai nearly five years ago when they found out their safe deposit box items were missing.

"When he pulled out the box it was very light and he opened it in front of the tell and it was empty inside," said Stella Wai.

The Wais had lost legal paperwork, some coins and family heirlooms that had sentimental value.

"I am upset. I mean my mom's stuff, there is a lot of history behind it when she gave it too me," said Stella Wai.

We checked into the situation and Citibank denied responsibility, we found too that the law stands behind the bank.

Now fast forward all these years and I am back talking with the Wais.

"They call left a message on our phone that they had found the content and so we both went to there and did an inventory," said Ken Wai.

Everything was there. It had been placed in a plastic bag.

Ken Wai: "We asked, 'what happened' all she said was after they helped us put the content in the box and slot they gave us back the wrong key."

ABC7's Michael Finney: "So it was in another box?"

Ken Wai: "Right."

ABC7's Michael Finney: It was there.

Ken Wai: "Right."

Attorney William Palmer specializes in these types of safe deposit cases he says Citibank did the right thing.

"They have the integrity to step forward and say we made a mistake and say here are your belongings back instead of sweeping it under the rug showing a lack of integrity I applaud them for that," said Palmer.

Citibank tells us it sincerely regrets the difficulties and is glad everything worked out. The lesson here for you: make sure your name, phone number and address is in your safe deposit box. That information was on legal paperwork and that is the reason the wais got their items back.