A Norfolk man is faced with a debt of £110,000 after his bank mistakenly told him he could spend the money which mysteriously landed in his account. Russell Alexander, 54, called the bank when the first tranche of money -£50,000 - hit his account in December 2020.
According to him, he kept pressing his bank for an explanation and after getting no reply for a while, he was told the money was from an inheritance and that he could keep it.
Alexander, a handyman, decided to use his new-found fortune to buy a £237,500 doer-upper new home.
However, nine months after the first instalment arrived, the entire amount plus an extra £6,000 was taken from his account after Barclays realized the payout was a mistake.
He bemoaned how this situation has left him living in an uncompleted home with no heating and no funds to fix the issue.
It made no sense to me when the money just arrived, but I checked with the bank twice and with an accountant – they all said spend it. I pulled the house to bits and planned to use the money to do it up, but now they’ve taken it back and I have to live in one room of a derelict house
Russell moved into his project house on June 23, after he and his ex-fiance sold their seven-bed B&B property, and set about working on it. Then in September, a month after the last deposit of £50,000 was made into his account, a customer of Russell’s former business rang him up and confessed he’d been the one to accidentally pay the money into his account.
Sleepless Nights and an Apology
Shocked, Russell called Barclays, which confirmed it had made a mistake. On September 29, it withdrew the money from his account.
I’ve been a loyal customer for 40 years, and they clearly told me twice the money was mine to spend. I planned to renovate the house to rent out rooms on Airbnb, but I’ll need to work now to earn the money, and it will take years. I never would have bought it if I didn’t have the extra money. I’ve had sleepless nights over this for weeks.
A spokesperson from Barclays said the bank was ‘sorry’ to hear about Russell’s experience. They said:
It is evident that the sender of the funds had selected the incorrect intended recipient from their payee list when completing the online payment instructions. Unfortunately, when the recipient sought clarity regarding the unexpected funds being received in his account, he was incorrectly advised that he could keep the funds.
The bank is also advising its customers to report unexpected funds immediately and to regularly delete one-off payees from the app or online banking site.