Consumer brings complaint after bank refuses to refund lost money taken from him

Distress and inconvenience Banking Up to £1,500

Jamal came to us for help after he lost £50,000 over nine months. He said this was due to a third party and his bank had said it wouldn't refund him. Jamal thought this was unfair, and said the problem had had a significant impact on his physical and mental health.

What happened

Jamal had physical and mental health conditions which meant he relied on a third party for support. This included instructing the third party to withdraw an agreed amount of cash each week from a local bank branch to cover his weekly expenses.

Unfortunately for several months, the third party withdrew considerably larger amounts for their own benefit. This resulted in Jamal losing around £50,000 over a 9-month period. Most of this money was an inheritance, which Jamal had intended to use to pay for his future care needs. During this time, Jamal also began to suffer from deteriorating health. Jamal complained to his bank, but they told him they were unable to refund any of the money.

Jamal brought the complaint to our service. He said the situation had caused him a substantial amount of worry as he couldn’t afford to lose the money. And it caused him to have sleepless nights as his mental health worsened. Jamal provided evidence from his doctor that his usual medication was increased to account for the extra stress the situation was causing him. The doctor explained how his existing medical conditions made Jamal more vulnerable to the effects of stress and worry.

What we said

We accepted there was an arrangement in place for the third party to use the account on Jamal’s behalf.  However, we also felt the activity became sufficiently unusual and suspicious that the bank should have taken further steps to question what was happening sooner, and this would likely have reduced Jamal’s loss. So we recommended the bank refund a large amount of the money that had been taken from his account.

We also considered the impact of the bank’s mistakes on Jamal. We felt the bank’s failure to take action contributed to the extreme worry and impact on his health when he realised the money had been taken.

Although we recommended the bank repay most of the money, it wasn’t until we got involved that this happened. The uncertainty of not knowing for almost a year whether he would get the money back added to the substantial amount of distress Jamal was experiencing. We were persuaded by Jamal’s account of how he worried about being able to pay for his future care. We accepted that the bank’s actions had contributed to his decline in health. 

We recommended the bank pay Jamal £1,500 in recognition of the serious distress it caused him. And also, to recognise the impact the bank’s mistakes had on his health.