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When Click Of A Mouse Cost £2,000

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8251679.stm

Claire Logie has a cartoon on her desk which says "stop and think" - a painful reminder of the day when she failed to do exactly that.

She had been meaning to transfer a sum of £2,000 into her savings account.

But, after clicking the wrong box, she accidentally sent the cash to someone she had paid years ago, and whose details had been saved on her account.

"As soon as I'd done it I felt sick and very upset," she said, but assumed she would eventually get the cash back.

But six months on she is still to receive a refund.

'Easy to do'

Claire is no online novice, and even works for one of the big four high street banks, so is familiar with banking on the internet.

She says: "I am not a dizzy person. I am not an idiot. I made the mistake, and it is very easy to do."

So, why will the bank not return the money?

The bank concerned, the Alliance and Leicester, says it cannot force the person who received the money to return it.

They tried repeatedly to contact the customer concerned, but "regrettably" that customer has not responded.

A spokesperson told the BBC: "It wasn't our mistake, so we are unable to take any further action".

Furthermore, they would not even tell Claire the name of the customer, because of the Data Protection Act.

That means she is unable to take the case to the small claims court.

The Financial Ombudsman is also unable to help, because her complaint is not against the bank itself.

Grey area

Cases like this are rare, because most people receiving money by mistake pay it back.

But Jemma Smith, of the Payments Council, which oversees the efficiency of bank payments, admits there's nothing in the banking code about how errors like this can be dealt with.

The only answer seems to be not to make the mistake in the first place.

"Everything your bank will tell you is going to be stressing how important it is that you have the correct account name and sort code," she says.

Instances like this are not necessarily regarded as theft.

Legally this is a grey area, as proving the recipient of the money had a guilty mind at the time he or she received it could be difficult.

Imagine giving £2,000 to someone who looked like your friend on the street, but turned out not to be.

If they ran off with the money, would you have a leg to stand on?

The police told the BBC it might be possible for them to investigate, but they could not guarantee the Crown Prosecution Service would agree to prosecute.

'Arbitration'

Alison Steed, a former Daily Telegraph journalist who has set up a financial website called MyMoneyDiva.com, believes the problem is much more widespread than has been realised.

She estimates up to 1% of all bank transfers go astray.

That would mean as much as £439m being paid to the wrong person every year in the UK, although the vast majority of such payments would be corrected.

Surely if the Bank has tried to contact the person and the account is active and the person doesn't respond surely that's theft?

With online banking this is all too easy to do, when I set mine up to transfer funds between accounts I sent a nominal sum first to ensure the account details where correct.

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8251679.stm

Surely if the Bank has tried to contact the person and the account is active and the person doesn't respond surely that's theft?

With online banking this is all too easy to do, when I set mine up to transfer funds between accounts I sent a nominal sum first to ensure the account details where correct.

I did this once, transferred £1k into my credit card to pay it off, problem being I had transeferred it into an old credit card the bank had retained on the system as I had registered it at the time, same bank (this was all the same bank, credit card and savings account) had re-issued the card to another so had to wait a bit before the money turned up again but thankfully it did. I was told exactly the same as the lady in the piece that there was nothing they could do if the owner of the account didn't contact them, thankfully it appears they did.

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How could anyone be so careless with a significant amount of money?

Claire is no online novice, and even works for one of the big four high street banks, so is familiar with banking on the internet.

Mystery solved :lol:

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Typical of the failure of this government to actually implement laws.

In Australia you would have to give it back, but 6 months after I left Britian I am still in a fight with Orange about whether a fraudulent sales transaction is their responsibility or whether because this government invented an incredibly clever outclause for big mobile phone companies, it is covered by the Distance Selling Regulations and they can sue me but they don't have to prove their is a debt. I have repeatedly told the debt collector to take me to court, and if I ever have a fixed address they just might!

Blame the government. They are a pack of the most bottom licking toerags.

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afaik the person receiving the money if in the uk is committing theft by finding if they have been provably notified of the error or could reasonably know of it, so how that results in a no certain action by the police is mystifying

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8251679.stm

Surely if the Bank has tried to contact the person and the account is active and the person doesn't respond surely that's theft?

How is it theft, the person whos account it is in has provided her with a service of showing her that she has used an incorrect account number.

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Other thing is, how come she doesn't know who it is if she had already used the account to pay something else? Didn't it have a name on the link that would remind her? Maybe she should check her bank statements.

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Surely if the Bank has tried to contact the person and the account is active and the person doesn't respond surely that's theft?

Doing nothing isn't a crime yet, even under Labour. No actus reus.

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So why no match against an account name as well as the number, which even if it allowed for name spelling variations, would still stop about 99.99% of these mistakes........???

:huh:

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I think the law places a responsibility on you to essentially 'own up', if you know or suspect you have been given money by mistake. One thing puzzles me is if she has had dealings with this guy before, then she must know enough about him to take him to court.

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Guest happy?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8251679.stm

Surely if the Bank has tried to contact the person and the account is active and the person doesn't respond surely that's theft?

With online banking this is all too easy to do, when I set mine up to transfer funds between accounts I sent a nominal sum first to ensure the account details where correct.

The obvious thing to do would be to sue the recipient for the return of the money - shouldn't be too difficult to get leave to effect service via the bank - if they fail to respond enter judgement and issue garnishee proceedings on their bank account.

Problem solved, I'm basically brilliant.

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Some banks have a limit on the amount that can be transferred using "FastPay". The money can theoretically appear in the recipient's account instantaneously as it is using the same network as EFT when you pay be debit card in a shop.

At least before, when it used the standing order system, you could usually stop the payment if you realised in time.

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I have two internet banking accounts in different bank. If I create a bank transfer and save the recipient account e.g. if I expect to be sending to the account again, it cannot then be deleted. Some months ago I contacted my bank and complained about this - they deleted the transfer accounts I mentioned, but there is still no way to do it myself. Suggest everyone contacts their bank and asks for these to be removed before you do the same thing as this poor girl.

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When i worked offshore my employer put 2.5k in my bank by mistake..so after about four weeks i get a letter from them asking repayment.

Of course i wanted to pay it back,so i went to my building society and asked for a counter cheque for the full amount..

I posted it off and thought nothing more about it.

After six weeks a letter arrives at our house with the same cheque and a letter saying" dear Sarah please find enclosed a cheque that was payed in a employees account by mistake can you please amend accounts"

I twigged straight away what had happened,they had posted it to the wrong address.so i had a little dilemma and what should i do post it back or bank it..well the answer is i kept the cheque for he next four month right up until it was about to run out(six months)

No one contacted me for it so on the last day i paid it in and then went a booked a holiday with the money..best holiday i have had paid for by my employer.

They were a bad employer who i never forgave for making me go away to work for three months on the threat of the sack.

One day after my little girl was born.

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afaik the person receiving the money if in the uk is committing theft by finding if they have been provably notified of the error or could reasonably know of it, so how that results in a no certain action by the police is mystifying

Indeed - the first thing I thought of is how many times we have seen stories of people finding large amounts of cash in their bank accounts (because the bank screwed up) and being forced to give it back under threat of court. There was even a well publicised case of a police hunt for a couple in New Zealand who made off with their gains....

It was made clear that if you receive money like that and keep it, you are committing a crime.

How then can it be that this £2k cannot be recovered?

Which is it - you find money in your account that isn't yours and keeping it is a crime OR if you accidentally pay money into someone else's account you cannot get it back??????????

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how come if the banks did the same thing and accidently gave you £1000, they are legally allowed to take it back?

For the same reason you can get back the money from the person you accidentally gave it to - it's not yours and you have no right to it. See my previous post for one method of recovery.

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Other thing is, how come she doesn't know who it is if she had already used the account to pay something else? Didn't it have a name on the link that would remind her? Maybe she should check her bank statements.

That's what I thought...bit like dropping a wad out your back pocket walking down the street, realising, then turning around to go back to look for it. ;)

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The obvious thing to do would be to sue the recipient for the return of the money - shouldn't be too difficult to get leave to effect service via the bank - if they fail to respond enter judgement and issue garnishee proceedings on their bank account.

Problem solved, I'm basically brilliant.

its says that legally this is a grey area as there was no guilty intent from the recipient. also she cant sue because she doesnt know who she is suing.

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did it by mistake?

On my banks system, there is a recall list. it is cleared every few months by the bank.

when you make a transfer for the first time... you need to authorise it with a handheld device.

it gives you a code...it then asks for further confirmation of the amount and another code.

then it tells you the transaction will not go out for another day as it is a new account.

then it asks you if you wish to continue.

then is CONFIRMS all the details of your account and the target.

it then asks for a FURTHER confirmation.

hardly one click of the mouse.

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Other thing is, how come she doesn't know who it is if she had already used the account to pay something else? Didn't it have a name on the link that would remind her? Maybe she should check her bank statements.

Good point.

It's interesting that the law seems to be completely different if the bank mistakenly credits you with some of their own money.

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