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AIBU to expect to get my money back

(22 Posts)
Narnia72 Sat 15-Aug-15 22:08:41

I've made a stupid mistake, and given someone (private transaction) my sort code wrongly by one digit. I've asked her to contact her bank to return the transaction, but have since googled (I know, fatal) and seen that it can be really difficult to get the money back, often involving small claims courts.

AIBU to think that errors like this must be made all the time and (a) it should be a straightforward transaction to get the money back and (b) there would be a very easy solution to this, for the banks to insist on the name of the account holder as part of the transaction, so that if name and account details didn't match it would automatically be refunded. Apparently, as banks don't include this when the transfer is made (just sort code and ac no) it's very difficult to prove that a private transaction is erroneous.

I really hope it can be sorted, as it's £600, which is a huge amount of money to me.

And I am massively beating myself up for not checking 96 times before sending the email with my details, and would like to remind everyone to double and triple check before you send these things.

Anyone managed to get their money back in a situation like this? I'm wholly dependent on the other person as she needs to request the transfer refund and presumably will have to carry out any chasing. I don't know her at all to know whether she'll be happy to put herself out like this.


caroldecker Sat 15-Aug-15 22:12:52

You are also dependent on the person who'a account this went into chosing to return it.

SeenBeen Sat 15-Aug-15 22:15:02

Are you sure it went into someone else's bank account?

I once transferred several £m than that to the account, using the sort code for one bank and the account from another, and it didn't actually go anywhere, just sat until the bank was contacted about it.

Call your bank before you do anything else. They might be able to get it for you.

londonrach Sat 15-Aug-15 22:16:45

Have you spoken to your bank? (Sorry no idea legal but hopes you given the money to a honest person..99.9% of people are honest)

Narnia72 Sat 15-Aug-15 22:20:34

I have contacted my bank - they said that the sort code I'd erroneously used was for a pension fund, rather than an individual, so I am hoping that that makes it easier to get it back. I need the reference number, and they will try and trace from their end too. The lady who made the transaction said she'd send the code through this morning and hasn't, so I'm panicking massively that she's not going to be helpful. It's the worst month this could have happened as well, as we're really tight this month and this will make things even worse.

PiperChapstick Sat 15-Aug-15 23:12:59

Oh OP I hope it works out, pension fund thing sounds like it won't be too much hassle flowers

Croatianmum Sat 15-Aug-15 23:33:48

Hi Narnia
It happened to me few years ago! I paid around £400 to a wrong account ( made mistake with a single digit).
When I realised ( I always file every single thing) I called bank , not sure if I am allowed to say which one? They told me to go in one of their branches. I had to fill some form and money was paid in back to my account within 5 days.
Never heard about even possibilitie of going to a small court or anything similar. BUT you need to get in touch with bank immediately! Good luck!

5Foot5 Sat 15-Aug-15 23:42:05

I think the chances are it will bounce back anyway since it is quite likely there will not be an account with the number you gave at the incorrect sort code you also gave.

AnthonyPandy Sun 16-Aug-15 00:14:06

I know it is too late for this time, but the next time you make or receive a payment from someone new, do £1 first, contact the bank or look at your online banking to make sure it has gone through then do the rest of the payment.

Hope you get your money back, it must be a worry.

whattodohatethis Sun 16-Aug-15 00:37:06

It is due to legal regulations.

Banks cannot just take money out of someone's account without permission.
It is to stop people paying for goods, receiving the goods and then calling the bank to say "oh I paid it in error" and getting the money back.

If the sort code was invalid then the funds would currently be in a holding account (I can see you already know this isn't the case)

As it is a valid account the bank will need to set up a recall request.
They will send a message to the receiving bank requesting the funds to be returned. They will send chaser messages (swifts) every 3 working days until a total of 3 chases have been sent.

Receiving bank would contact the receiver and request authority to debit the account.
If this is granted the funds will be returned minus fees.

If the receiver declines or they are unable to get hold of the receiver they would close their case.

This would mean that you have 2 options:
Deal directly with the receiving bank.
Start legal procedings.

I work in banking, so if you require any help OP please message me and I will be happy to help in any way I can.

caroldecker Sun 16-Aug-15 00:40:52

Good thing it is a pension fund as they will refund the money. If the receiver will not, you need to go to court to force the bank to tell you who has the money and then take them to court. If they have spent it and cannot repay, you have lost your money.

Toombumber Sun 16-Aug-15 01:18:53

I did this about 9 months ago. Unfortunately, you are beholden to the other person to do all the chasing for you. In my case, it was a firm of solicitors that made the mistake. My money had gone to an actual person, and it took several long weeks of nail biting before I got it back. Once the recipient's bank knows the transfer in was a mistake, they request the money back from the recipient. However, I THINK if the recipient has noticed, taken the money out and is refusing to give it back or respond, then it can go to court. The longer it drags out, the more worrying it gets, but noone will tell you anything as you're not officially involved in the transaction yet.

EmeraldKitten Sun 16-Aug-15 01:34:27

Don't panic - you will get your money back, there's just no guarantee on the timescale.

The money won't usually bounce back if the sort code is valid. It will be sitting in a miscellaneous account at the receiving bank, awaiting instructions.

The sender will be given the Faster Payment reference, will allows the receiving bank to locate it. The sending bank will contact the receiving bank but the sender can also contact them directly with the reference, which is probably quicker.

If the receiving bank don't respond or refuse to return it, go to the Financial Ombudsman. This is rarely needed though and banks will usually happily ping back the money to the sending account once they have the reference.

EmeraldKitten Sun 16-Aug-15 01:39:56

Why are people talking about the receiving 'person' and asking their permission?

Consider how many possible combinations of an 8 digit account number you can get. You'll rarely ever get one the same.

The chances of that specific account number existing at the sort code the op used is minute. There'd be more chance of the op getting hit by lightning whilst riding a Unicorn with a jackpot Lotto ticket in her pocket.

Hamishandthefoxes Sun 16-Aug-15 07:32:23

The op already knows it has gone to a pension funds account so it is in a real valid open account and she'll have to get the account holders to refund her.

19lottie82 Sun 16-Aug-15 08:07:42

Yes you need to call your bank. As pointed out chances are higher that it went to a non existent account rather than a live one. If so it should bounce back in to your account in about a week, but check with your bank.

bamboostalks Sun 16-Aug-15 08:21:39


You are very wrong. In fact, there's a great shortage of account numbers and sort codes to the point that after an account is closed for 5 years, the exact numbers are recycled for new clients.

It is highly likely that it's been transferred into an account. Even one number out on either combination almost guarantees this.

whattodohatethis Sun 16-Aug-15 09:46:28

Emerald kitten there is so much misinformation in your posts.

1 - I work in banking so know this happens a lot and 2 - the OP has already had conformation that it went into an actual account.

It is NOT a guarantee that the OP will get the money back.
It is not nice for the OP to hear and it is of course a worry to think it may not come back but there is no point in her being made to believe that she will definitely get it back, it is of no benefit to her.

EmeraldKitten Sun 16-Aug-15 11:35:58


I work in a bank complaints department - recovery of funds is about 50% of my role so, sorry, but I'm definitely not misinformed. I spend every day dealing with missing incoming and outgoing payments, tracking them down and arranging refunds.

The op has not been told it has gone into an actual account what are you reading . She's been told the sort code she used is for a pension fund. As I said, the chances of an account existing at that specific sort code with the same number is tiny - and I can see nowhere that the op has said she's been told this.

Money doesn't get 'lost' in the banking system - there's no where for it to go hmm

EVERYTHING can be traced. It just takes a while. And as long as the funds haven't gone to an actual existing account, where the account holders permission needs to be given to remove them, the op will get it back.

differentnameforthis Sun 16-Aug-15 12:36:32

Slightly different side of this...a few years ago we had 3 payments totalling almost $2k put into out bank account.

I rang the bank, after a while we determined that it definitely wasn't for us, I gave them all the details they wanted, but they said that nothing was showing up on their end as to who it should have gone to.

We were advised to not spend it (was told that if we did take any of the funds it would have to be paid back by us, because they would just remove the full amount - we didn't, obviously) & they would contact us & recall it once the person (to whom it should have gone to) came froward, or the person who paid it in came forward.

Took about 4 weeks to have it recalled.

whattodohatethis Sun 16-Aug-15 13:58:16

But it HAS gone into an account, it has gone into a pension fund account.

The chances are not tiny. The same account numbers are used for multiple banks.

I would be very concerned if you are telling your clients that they will definitely get money back through a recall if paid into someone else's account! It does not always happen!

I have never said that money gets lost. Where did you read that?

The person who received the money is under NO legal obligation to say yes to the return of funds. If the receiver says no, the OP can go to small claims where a return would be granted but if it has already been spent a payment plan would need to be arranged.

If it is not a valid account number of course it will come back. When it is, it is not 100%!

(Oh and a trace and a recall are 2 different things. Tracing does nothing to get the money back, it just locates it)

EmeraldKitten Sun 16-Aug-15 22:52:22

The op has been told the sort code used was for a pension fund. That's it. It is NOT the same as the money having reached an actual person's fund or account hmm

Banks usually organise their sort codes either by branch or account type.

404222 (made it up) - could be for Natwest Cardiff accounts (all types). 304224 could be for HSBC pension funds (all areas). 506666 for Santander Mortgages...and so on.

You could send a payment to 304224, a pension fund sort code, without it actually getting to any persons individual fund if the account number is not valid. The money will either be automatically returned due to no account existing or will frequently sit in the banks holding/miscellaneous/wash up account for that sort code.

This is when the Faster Payment reference, as provided by the sending bank, will be used to locate the funds which the receiving bank could not apply and return them.

I struggle to understand how you 'work in banking' without even basic knowledge on the difference between a sort code and an active account.

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