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The Importance of being Vigilant - An Unfortunate Story

Peter Teich and Ms Becko (pictured) have reported to the Press Association that they felt 'numb' after almost losing £193,000 worth of inheritance

They were forced to take legal action after Barclays Bank withheld £193,000 in inheritance monies.

After realising he had not received the money after his father's death, but his sister had, he realised there was an issue. 

Mr Teich had given his solicitor the wrong sort code resulting in monies being transferred to another bank customer's account. That person then refused to return it.

Mr Teich says that his solicitor immediately contacted Barclays who said it would take a week for the money to be returned.  Unfortunately, it was then claimed that Mr Teich had been "mis-advised" about the funds being restored - and credited his account with a "small token gesture" of £25.

Mr Teich said "I freely acknowledge my mistake in this unhappy saga.  I provided the sort code of the wrong Barclays branch. But my error fades into near insignificance when considered in the context of Barclays' conduct."

He had given his correct name, address and Barclays account number in Cambridge, but it was the last two digits of his sort code were incorrect.

Mr Teich sought legal advice and after spending some £12,000 in legal and court fees, he managed to obtain the Barclays customer's name, into which account the money had been paid.

Ultimately, costs continued to rise, and Mr Teich spent £34,000 for a court injunction to force the other Barclays customer to pay.  It was not until July that the inheritance, due to him in May, was finally paid into his account.

Mr Teich’s wife, Veronica Becko, told the Press Association: "We just felt numb. It didn't seem possible or right that a big bank like Barclays could not sort this out. It was an obvious mistake.”

Mr Teich asked the bank to repay the £46,000 he had spent in legal fees yet claims that Barclays refused.  Ms Becko says that it was not until they contacted the Guardian Newspaper that the bank agreed to pay the fees. They also offered a further £750 for their inconvenience.

"Barclays has done the right thing, finally, although through a rather long-winded way.  We just hope our story will help other people who find themselves in a similar situation."

Barclays made a statement, stating: "It is evident that on this occasion we have failed to meet the high standards that Mr Teich can expect to receive from Barclays, and for this we have offered our sincere apologies.  After taking a closer look at this situation, we can confirm that Mr Teich can expect the fees he has incurred to be refunded in full, with interest, together with a payment for the distress and inconvenience this matter has caused."

At present, anyone wanting to transfer money enters the intended recipient's name, account number and sort code. However, the name is not checked.

From next Spring, people sending funds will be alerted (under plans from the UK's payments operator) if the name does not match the account details given. The change was originally set to begin in summer 2019 but was delayed.


Here at Large & Gibson we will always request details of bank accounts in writing; preferably with a bank statement in support.  We will also double-check these details with you and will NEVER accept service of such important details by email. 

Should you ever find yourself in a conflict situation such as that above, we can offer specialist help and legal advice.  Just call us or pop into the office to make an appointment for a formal chat about any legal situation. 

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