Woman sparks debate after ironing mistake ruins $20 bill

A woman has made an expensive mistake while ironing, melting a $20 note that she left in the pocket of a pair of trousers.

Posting an image of the warped bill on Facebook, she asked for advice about whether the note could be salvaged.

“Accidentally ironed this while ironing pair of pants. I realised the pants smell a bit funny so I was doing a sniff test and this flew down the floor,” she said.

“Can I get it straightened back to normal or is this lesson worth $20?”

The post was flooded with responses from people advising her what to do with the money, and opinion was divided as to whether she could replace it or not.

“Just try using it,” one suggested.

Most urged the woman to take the disfigured note to the bank, suggesting they would be able to replace it.

“As long as you have two serial numbers the bank will replace it,” one said.

A woman claimed she melted this $20 note after ironing it in her pocket. Source: Facebook

A woman who claimed to work as a bank teller agreed, while others said they had money replaced previously.

“Bank will take it. They send it to the mint to be destroyed properly and you should get your cash back,” a woman said.

“People have sticky-taped notes before. Surely banks will change it. You can tell it’s a $20 note. Shouldn’t be a problem,” another claimed.

‘Glad it wasn’t $100’: Woman says it could have been worse

However, some disagreed and said going to the bank would be a failed expedition.

“Burnt shrunk notes like that won’t be accepted by banks,” one woman wrote.

“My three-year-old cut up $20, I took it to the bank they wouldn’t replace it for me,” another said.

“My friend did the same thing. Banks won’t touch it as it isn’t worth anything anymore. Frame it in your laundry as a reminder to check pockets,” a third added.

The woman who posted the question said she was glad it wasn’t a $50 or $100 bill.

“I will try to bring it to the bank and ask. Some of you said [it] can be replaced, some said a lesson. I really hope it can be replaced,” she said.

Reserve Bank reveals answer to problem

The Reserve Bank of Australia has however settled the argument.

On its website it says it only aims to have good quality banknotes in circulation.

“This helps maintain confidence in Australia’s currency by making it easier for people to check the security features on banknotes and make it more difficult for counterfeits to be passed or remain in circulation,” the website states.

The RBA says these flaws are what constitute as a damaged bank note. Source: RBA

To redeem a damaged bank note the RBA requires people to collect the banknote debris into a plastic bag with the label “bushfire”. People are then required to take the bag to their local bank where a claim for an exchange can be made.

Those who have come across a damaged banknote unwittingly or who have accidentally damaged the note themselves will be eligible.

Customers must then fill out a claim form, where people may be asked about the source of the damage.

“If the Reserve Bank determines that a claimant has provided incomplete or inaccurate information on the claim form, an Identification Reference Form or in response to any other request for information, the Reserve Bank may not complete the processing of claims,” the RBA says.

“The Reserve Bank may also refuse to proceed with the processing of a claim if to do so would give rise to an unacceptable risk to the health or safety of its staff.”

There is however a strict punishment for those who deliberately damage Australian banknotes and try to make a claim.

A person who, without written consent from an authorised person, deface, disfigure, mutilate or destroy any coin or paper money can cop a $5000 fine or two years in prison. In substantial cases offenders could be slapped with both.

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