A grandad who bought a house after £110,000 was wrongly deposited into his account has been left shattered after Barclays ordered him to pay it back.
Russell Alexander was wrongly told he could keep the large sum of money after started mysteriously appearing in his account.
The 54-year-old immediately discussed the mysterious transactions with Barclays and was wrongly told the money was from an inheritance and his to keep.
Russell and his ex-fiance then decided to sell their seven-bed B&B to buy a £237,500 doer-upper new home – expecting to use the new windfall to fund the extensive repairs.
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However, Barclays realised their mistake nine months after the cash started hitting his account and have since ordered him to pay it all back – including an extra £6,000 on top.
The bank has admitted the money was transferred by another sender in error – and Russell was “incorrectly advised he could keep the funds”.
Russell, from Norfolk, is furious with Barclays after the bank offered him £500 in compensation – and says he has been left in a semi-derelict home with no heating, and no funds to renovate it.
He said: “I’ve been a loyal customer for 40 years and they clearly told me twice the money was mine to spend.
He continued: “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.”
The payment first started on December 29, 2020, when Russell noticed a payment of £30,000 land in his account.
He was left confused as the reference was ‘ last of mums ’ – and immediately contacted Barclays chat on their website.
Russell did not get a response and he queried them on the phone when another payment of £30,000 and one of £777 landed in his account on January 15, 2021.
He claims a bank worker got in touch with him a few weeks later to say the transfers looked like direct inheritance payments to him, and he could spend it.
Russell moved into his project house on June 23, after he and his ex fiancé sold their seven-bed B&B property – and another £50,000 landed in his account in August.
He was going to spend the funds on his new home – which needs rewiring throughout, the heating system and the plumbing needs to be replaced, as do the roof, and foundations.
A month later, a customer of Russell’s former business rang him up and confessed he’d been the one to accidentally give the money to him.
Russell called Barclays who confirmed they had made a mistake and they took the money back from his account on September 29.
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.
“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 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.”
A spokesperson from Barclays has responded to apologise for Russell’s experience and assured him they will return the additional £6,000 taken in error.
They 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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