Handyman told he could keep mystery £110k bank transfer - but was then ordered to pay it back

Russell Alexander claims that the bank told him twice to keep the money and that he has now been left out of pocket

<p>Russell Alexander has told how he’s been left out of pocket after a stranger put £110,000 into his account and his bank accidentally told him he could keep it.</p>

Russell Alexander has told how he’s been left out of pocket after a stranger put £110,000 into his account and his bank accidentally told him he could keep it.

A handyman said he has been left out of pocket after being told by his bank that he could keep £110,000 transferred to his account by a stranger - but then later ordering him to pay it back.

Russell Alexander, 54, was surprised when huge sums of money - up to £50,000 at a time - started arriving in his account.

He immediately queried it with Barclays, and after getting no reply, was eventually told the money was from an inheritance and his to keep.

The handyman used other money from his separation to buy a £237,500 doer-upper home - expecting to use the new windfall to fund the extensive repairs.

But nine months after the cash started hitting his account, Barclays realised their mistake and took it all back - including an extra £6,000 of Russell’s cash.

The grandfather from Sutton, Norfolk, blames the bank and said he’s been left living in a semi-derelict home with no heating, and no funds to renovate it.

Barclays has admitted the money was transferred by another sender in error - and Russell was "incorrectly advised that he could keep the funds".

‘Barclays have stolen my future plans’

Russell said: "I’m totally outraged at their offer of £500 compensation.

“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.

“Barclays have stolen my future plans and left me living like a stowaway."

How the money ended up in Russell’s account

Russell noticed a payment of £30,000 land in his account on December 29 2020.

The reference on the transfer was ‘last of mums’ - which made no sense to Russell.

He messaged Barclays chat on their website twice in December, but got no response, he said.

Another payment of £30,000 and one of £777 landed in his account on January 15 2021, so he queried them on the phone that month.

He said a few weeks later a bank worker called to say the transfers looked like direct inheritance payments to him, and he could spend it, he claims.

Russell moved into his project house on June 23, after he and his ex fiance sold their seven-bed B&B property.

His new home needs rewiring throughout, the heating system and the plumbing needs to be replaced, as does the roof, and foundations, he claims.

Another £50,000 landed in his account in August.

But in September a customer of Russell’s former business rang him up and confessed he had been the one to accidentally give the money to him.

Russell called Barclays who confirmed they had made a mistake and offered him £500 compensation, he said.

They took the money back from his account on September 29.

‘This is no way to run a bank’

He said: “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.

“I’ve had sleepless nights over this for weeks.

“I don’t know what the matter is with Barclays. This is no way to run a bank.

"I’m disgusted that this is how they treat their loyal customers.

"I’ve banked with them for 40 years.

“After giving me nine months of false hope their £500 compensation is a total insult.

"They make billions of pounds a year.

“It’s been sat there for nine months and they said if I’d spent it they couldn’t do anything, but because I didn’t they’ve just taken it back."

What Barclays said

A spokesperson from Barclays said: “We’re sorry to hear about this customer’s experience.

"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.

"There is a verification page displayed to allow the customers to check that the details entered online are valid and correct before proceeding to confirm the payment is to be made.

“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.

"Subsequently the funds were removed from the account following a claim from the original sender.

“However due to our error an additional £6,000 above the intended sum received was incorrectly removed. This will be returned to our customer together with lost interest."

They urged customers to report unexpected funds immediately, and to regularly delete one-off payees from the app or online banking site.

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