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paid £5000 in error

(25 Posts)
pedalpants Fri 30-Sep-11 15:49:12

a major high st bank (think annoying ads) have paid me £5000 in error into my current account, which is with a different bank.

I immediately agreed to pay the money back and fully intended to do so as I know its not really mine.

They have given me the wrong transfer details THREE TIMES so I have been unable to complete the transfer. I have written evidence of this. I have written to them with details of this but they lost the letter and are now threatening me with legal action and credit blacklisting.

There are loads of other shenanigans which I won't bore you with but I think I have a reasonable amount of evidence that they have been incompetent.

I'm now fed up and want to keep the money or at least have some compensation for the ridiculous amount of time I have spent on this (numerous trips to bank/calls etc)

Do I have a case?!

wine all round if I get to keep the funds!

MOSagain Fri 30-Sep-11 17:56:22

but it isn't yours! hmm I imagine you are quite pissed off with being mucked around and having been given incorrect details to enable you to return it. However, how does that justify you thinking you could keep it? confused Perhaps a gesture of goodwill maybe but not 5k!

Mousey84 Fri 30-Sep-11 18:04:58

Cant you just write a cheque and hand it to the bank?

pedalpants Fri 30-Sep-11 20:03:48

Mm, well I've not been using a cheque book on this account and in any case I was following their instructions to pay back via electronic transfer.

Also they claim not to have received my last two letters. The incompetent woman on the phone explained they'd been 'reorganised' and the addresses had changed. So not keen to send through post again.

I've been to my local bank twice to try and sort it out but I've been told the sort code for return is invalid. I assume they have typed it wrong (I've received two different sort codes, both wrong) but they have not confirmed this, or in fact addressed any of my concerns.

Going to their branch won't help because the money needs to come out of a different bank. In fact, my current account provider have been very sympathetic and helpful, but they cannot return the money without a valid return sort code.

I've spent quite a lot of time on this as I can't really do finances with my small children around so not only am I paying for stationary, phone calls etc, I'm also paying for childcare to try and sort out their mistake.

Banks routinely charge customers for things so I feel I'm entitled to something back from them.

but do you think i don't have a leg to stand on?

ladyintheradiator Fri 30-Sep-11 20:05:18

Childcare? What for?

MrsCampbellBlack Fri 30-Sep-11 20:08:02

Of course you don't have a let to stand on.

Its a pain but its their money - can you go into one of their branches and ask to speak to a manager?

pedalpants Fri 30-Sep-11 20:24:00

One of the things I do when kids at nursery is catch up on admin/financial stuff as well as paid freelance work. Really hard to make calls etc with whining 3 year old in background/helping on computer etc..

I'm happy to go into their branch with my kids - no probs. But at no point have they suggested that because this is some obscure 'bill payment in error' account which their branch managers are unlikely to know about. everytime I've gone into their branch on other, simple matters, they've referred me onto the phone anyway. They want me to go into the branch of my OTHER bank which I've done twice already.

Their latest letter claims I've not tried to pay the money back, but I have. five times. twice in my own branch and three times online.

I'm just really annoyed about having to deal with it.

I feel sorry for the woman I'm dealing with on the phone. she says she's been off for a month and it is only her and one other person dealing with error payments - apparently there have been loads. they seem overworked, understaffed, underqualified and can't even get simple things right like instructing me how to pay back the money.

But I don't see why I shouldbe the one paying for it with my time.

Lulumama Fri 30-Sep-11 20:28:11

you absolutely have to pay it back or it's theft, i would certianly detail everything and ask for some £ for all your time, phone calls etc

DaisySteiner Fri 30-Sep-11 20:31:06

How about writing to The Guardian's Money Problems page This is exactly the sort of thing they deal with.

Redbluegreen Fri 30-Sep-11 20:37:45

There must be some way of charging them for your time and effort - perhaps a letter like this would help? grin

SardineQueen Fri 30-Sep-11 20:39:03

Write them a stinker, detailing everything that has happened. Send it recorded delivery so they can't say they didn't get it. Tell them that if they want their money they need to reply to you and tell you exactly what to do.

I understand that you are using your time on this and I think you should get some compensation for having to spend so much time sorting something out which is not your fault and is nothing to do with you.

The Guardian idea is a good one.

SardineQueen Fri 30-Sep-11 20:40:38

Or email them, they can't say they didn't get it and it won't cost you anything.

Title it COMPLAINT and get pretty stroppy, this should get it escalated to a manager with the wherewithall to sort it. Be polite but don't mince your words.

pedalpants Fri 30-Sep-11 20:40:42

Thanks for responses.

Lulu - I think 'theft' is a bit harsh given I have tried to pay the money back on five occasions using the means they have suggested. Is that really my legal position?

Daisy - Thanks for the Guardian link. Good idea.

Given you seem to think I can't keep the money (wishful thinking on my part it seems..) what do you think might be a 'reasonable' sum for my inconvenience?

SardineQueen Fri 30-Sep-11 20:41:16

Shame you didn't put it in a high interest account while you get it sorted!

Not that there are any high interest accounts these days hmm

SardineQueen Fri 30-Sep-11 20:42:17

Charge them an hourly rate. Add your childcare hourly rate to whatever your rate would be if you were working.

IrmaLittleteapot Fri 30-Sep-11 20:46:27

Why don't they just debit it out of your account? Why do they expect you to do it?

If you do contact the Guardian call the switch board and ask to be connected to the Guardian Money desk. One of the lovely chaps should sort you out.

Alternatively contact their complaints department and tell them they have 7 days to sort it. If they don't you could close all your accounts and take the cash. They won't come after you for £5,000 that you've tried repeatedly to give back. Obviously your ethical principles might not let you but you have the info to decide for yourself.

IrmaLittleteapot Fri 30-Sep-11 20:48:28

Call the Guardian Monday or Tuesday. They'll have organised copy by Wed and will be busy trying to make deadlines which can make them much less interested.

SardineQueen Fri 30-Sep-11 20:50:21

Good luck with this. What a total PITA.

Lulumama Fri 30-Sep-11 20:58:06

I know, i didn;t mean you have stolen it, you have taken all reasonable steps to pay it back, you can't hold on to it, however annoying they are being, i didn't mean to imply you intend to keep it ! good luck smile

pedalpants Fri 30-Sep-11 21:10:19

redbluegreen = love the letter! my sentiments exactly.

Irma - They can't debit the money because it is no longer in their possession. there are two banks - lets call them 'blue' bank (savings) and 'red' bank (current account). My issue is with the blue bank. Lovely red bank have been trying to pay back the money for me but can't without correct info from 'blue' bank.

They are saying they are going to credit blacklist me which could ruin our chances of buying a house as these EU lists go to all money lenders. I've called today to try and stall this but I'm worried it'll just go on some automated system. They seem to have no control over their electronics !

If I end up having to seek legal advice about being falsely credit blacklisted - where might I find a solicitor? Would CAB be a good place to start?

Thanks again for all the advice.

IrmaLittleteapot Fri 30-Sep-11 21:53:15

Your bank can debit it. They will have a holding account to put it in until they can get it back to the other bank who will also have a holding account too for payment transfers. There is really no need for your bank to leave it in your account. You have been directing your complaints to your bank haven't you?

I knows about these things but I can't divulge how for anonymity's sake <<taps side of nose>>

NorkyPies Fri 30-Sep-11 22:03:03

There is a financial ombudsman.

IrmaLittleteapot Fri 30-Sep-11 22:06:32

You can't go to the Obudsman until you have used the internal complaints process and they can take up to eight weeks to process your complaint.

pedalpants Fri 30-Sep-11 22:16:48

Irma - mmm, interesting insider knowledge!

I've been into 'Red' bank twice and shown cashier staff the letters from 'blue' bank and they have tried to repay the money twice but failed. They told me to go back to 'blue' bank and ask for correct bank details. They never said anything about holding accounts etc.

IME there is a big gap in banks between branch staff and 'behind the scenes' staff and sometimes they tell you completely different things - but that is a bit of an aside.

will write to blue bank with official complaint so if it all gets worse it can go to the ombudsman.

have written to money people at guardian.

IrmaLittleteapot Fri 30-Sep-11 22:49:27

You need to complain to your bank. If money has been transferred into your account and it's not yours your bank should be transferring it back where it came from which will be the originating bank. Your bank will have a process for this. It happens all the time with banks/customers making errors.

When a transfer is made this is a representation of what happens:

Customer A wants to send £5,000 to his friend B and he asks his bank to make the transfer. Bank O (originator) takes £5,000 from A's account and sends it to their transfer holding account with all the other money that's going out to other banks by electronic transfer.

Bank O transfers all the money due to bank D (destination) which includes A's money. Let's say £205,000. They also send details of which accounts the money needs to go at Bank D.

Bank D receives the money into their holding account. They then use the info provided by bank O to pay the money into the right accounts. Except A's information is wrong and B doesn't get the money. Customer X does.

X reports the money isn't hers to her bank. Her bank, bank D, take the money and put it in their transfer account. They hold onto it for 3-5 days to see if anyone claims it. It is unclaimed so bank D returns the money to bank O.

You would be X in this scenario.

Once that money is out of your account you will have zero liability so can't be credit black listed (tbh I'd consider complaining to that bank about that because that's terrible advice).

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