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How safe is your Safe Deposit box in a Bank? You will be surprised ...

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In these days where a victim is considered the harmed party, why am I, who through the admitted negligence of the National Westminster Bank, treated with such disdain?

Not only have I incurred financial loss to the tune of £5,000 in addition to the heartache, anguish, stress and time through the action of the Bank wrongfully releasing my safe deposit box to an unauthorised third party, but they won't even let me see their records of who else has had access to my safe deposit box! :confused:

I also have to endure condescending letters offering insignificant compensation (£750:eek:), which tell me "I should pursue compensation from my own insurers.", and that I am at liberty to take this to the Financial Ombudsman.

Anyone can see that the Bank is responsible for its actions - in fact we (my wife and I) had signed up to the clause " We agree that, except in respect of loss, damage or delay directly caused by the negligence or misfeasance of the Bank’s own officers or servants, the above items is/are lodged with the Bank at our own risk".

But, as always, it is the Bank who has the upper hand against an individual. The Bank refuses to accept liability for the financial losses we incurred as a direct result of its own admitted wrongdoing.

Fair justice, where Banks are concerned, would be a bonus.

 

Any advice on how to proceed?

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well if it was me:

 

1. Letter to the bank in question asking for a refund of the monies lost, plus sufficient compensation. Send it via special delivery. Give them 14 days to respond.

 

2. If no satisfactory solution is reached, send a Letter Before Action, detailing that you will be suing the bank in the county court for a refund plus compensation. Again, send it via special delivery. Again give them 14 days to respond.

 

3. Sue them. Use www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/ . It costs but you can claim these back from the bank.

 

This is a simplistic approach but, given the facts (the bank gave your money away to an unauthorised third party), you should be onto a winner. i mean, despite their disclaimer, would they really like your situation to become common knowledge?


post office WON 12/11/06

 

abbey.LBA sent 30/10/06.MCOL claim submitted 8/11/06.allocation questionnaire sent 16/12/06.schedule of charges sent 16/12/06.WON

 

2nd abbey claim SAR sent 3/1/07.WON.complaint letter sent 18/1/08

 

alliance and Leicester.WON

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Thanks for that; I too thought it would be a no brainer ... the bank has issued a Final Response; I have replied (specia delivery) to them, and cc'ed the CEO; the CEO's office have replied implying " ... we have deliberated and stand by our FInal response ... ", so I have now wrtitten off to Watchdog, put in this thread here, and next stop is Moneyclaim online.

 

Much appreciated for the response ...

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In these days where a victim is considered the harmed party, why am I, who through the admitted negligence of the National Westminster Bank, treated with such disdain?

Not only have I incurred financial loss to the tune of £5,000 in addition to the heartache, anguish, stress and time through the action of the Bank wrongfully releasing my safe deposit box to an unauthorised third party, but they won't even let me see their records of who else has had access to my safe deposit box! :confused:

I also have to endure condescending letters offering insignificant compensation (£750:eek:), which tell me "I should pursue compensation from my own insurers.", and that I am at liberty to take this to the Financial Ombudsman.

Anyone can see that the Bank is responsible for its actions - in fact we (my wife and I) had signed up to the clause " We agree that, except in respect of loss, damage or delay directly caused by the negligence or misfeasance of the Bank’s own officers or servants, the above items is/are lodged with the Bank at our own risk".

But, as always, it is the Bank who has the upper hand against an individual. The Bank refuses to accept liability for the financial losses we incurred as a direct result of its own admitted wrongdoing.

Fair justice, where Banks are concerned, would be a bonus.

 

Any advice on how to proceed?

 

Yes, the bank would keep all documentation with regards to safe custody within what I would call a relevant filing system within the bank. They should furthermore, take identification(they may not photocopy it) but they should require it when releasing safe custody. The only question I would ask is whether the third party was known to you and had previously had access to your account authorised at that time but not anymore?


.

FSA Waiver on Bank Charges:http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Doing/Regulated/Notify/Waiver/pdf/dir_quart_0709.pdf

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well if it was me:

 

1. Letter to the bank in question asking for a refund of the monies lost, plus sufficient compensation. Send it via special delivery. Give them 14 days to respond.

Difficulty, with all due respect, is that any items held in safe custody are not itemised but merely stored as either envelope or box. No bank staff would know what was contained within this and so it would be difficult to prove what is actually in the box.

2. If no satisfactory solution is reached, send a Letter Before Action, detailing that you will be suing the bank in the county court for a refund plus compensation. Again, send it via special delivery. Again give them 14 days to respond.

Again see above.

3. Sue them. Use www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/ . It costs but you can claim these back from the bank.

 

This is a simplistic approach but, given the facts (the bank gave your money away to an unauthorised third party), you should be onto a winner. i mean, despite their disclaimer, would they really like your situation to become common knowledge?

 

The difficulty is in assessing what is contained within safe custody because it is not itemised and any box/envelope is provided by the customer and not the bank. There maybe a case of fraud and theft but that is against the individual who took the safe custody. If this is a clear breach of bank guidelines then the OP certainly has a case for compensation for this(I would expect perhaps a member of staff might get sacked at worst over it).


.

FSA Waiver on Bank Charges:http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Doing/Regulated/Notify/Waiver/pdf/dir_quart_0709.pdf

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Yourbank, I see your point, and one that the Bank's Customer Relations keeps drumming into me; but I did not ask to be put into this situation; they released the box without my permission to a party that I did not know, never had authorised; I now know this party, and without giving names away, this has occurred because myself and my wife have the same initials as the third party and his wife, and yes the same surname; but then how many Smiths and Lees and Watsons, and patels are there! The Bank *Should* have compared signatures, and apparently did, but have also told me explicitly that the release signature does not match with those on the Lodgement Record.

My predicament is how do I prove what jewellery was in the box.

 

Thanks for the comments.

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Yourbank, I see your point, and one that the Bank's Customer Relations keeps drumming into me; but I did not ask to be put into this situation; they released the box without my permission to a party that I did not know, never had authorised; I now know this party, and without giving names away, this has occurred because myself and my wife have the same initials as the third party and his wife, and yes the same surname; but then how many Smiths and Lees and Watsons, and patels are there! The Bank *Should* have compared signatures, and apparently did, but have also told me explicitly that the release signature does not match with those on the Lodgement Record.

My predicament is how do I prove what jewellery was in the box.

 

Thanks for the comments.

 

I am assuming it was not in a locked box but in an envelope, right?

Did the other individual return the item since it was not theirs?

  • Haha 1

.

FSA Waiver on Bank Charges:http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Doing/Regulated/Notify/Waiver/pdf/dir_quart_0709.pdf

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it was a locked petty cash box - which implies it may not be pickable - though the insurance company person who arrived and was an ex policeman tells me it is as easy as lemon-squeezey!

 

The other indiividual kept the box for 4.5 years, never questioning it was not theirs, and only returned it, 'cos fate brought us together and we had formed a friendly relationship. Ouch! Does this hurt! In this episode I have lost a dear friend!

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it was a locked petty cash box - which implies it may not be pickable - though the insurance company person who arrived and was an ex policeman tells me it is as easy as lemon-squeezey!

 

The other indiividual kept the box for 4.5 years, never questioning it was not theirs, and only returned it, 'cos fate brought us together and we had formed a friendly relationship. Ouch! Does this hurt! In this episode I have lost a dear friend!

 

Four and a half years??? Blimey O'Reilly. I gotta say this is an odd one. When an item is taken out of safe custody then a line is struck through the item and audits are carried out every 12 months. Did they stop charging you for having it in safe custody?

Were the items of sentimental value?

Gotta say this is probably one of the most unusual cases I have heard. Am not really sure what to advise cos technically the bank are at fault for releasing the item to someone by mistake.

However, that person is guilty of an offence since they did not take the item back to the bank when clearly they knew it was not their item. I am amazed at what they did with something that was not theirs because it would have been pretty obvious to that person that it didn't belong to them.


.

FSA Waiver on Bank Charges:http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Doing/Regulated/Notify/Waiver/pdf/dir_quart_0709.pdf

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*sigh* there is the temptation to put a line thru the episode, swallow my pride, and let bygones be bygones, as one thing this will not do is bring back those sentimental items ...

 

But I may feel different tomorrow ...

 

And England may re-win the Ashes ...

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*sigh* there is the temptation to put a line thru the episode, swallow my pride, and let bygones be bygones, as one thing this will not do is bring back those sentimental items ...

 

But I may feel different tomorrow ...

 

And England may re-win the Ashes ...

 

I think the bank does need to compensate you but I am gobsmacked by the whole thing......don't think I am in anyway saying that this is not a serious issue cos I think it is. I am gobsmacked with the bank, the other person concerned and the whole thing. I just don't know what to advise.


.

FSA Waiver on Bank Charges:http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Doing/Regulated/Notify/Waiver/pdf/dir_quart_0709.pdf

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Have I read this completely wrong, but why has it taken you 4 and a half years to claim back what is rightfully yours?:confused:

 

x:)x

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never had need to go look at the items at all in the Bank for such a long time; seriously that is why; incredible that isn't it? And when we did go back to get access, and discovered it had long been gone, we had to take time out, and pinch ourselves - THIS CAN'T BE TRUE - we asked ourselves; but hey it is true - Once we stirred up a fuss, it took circa 6/8 weeks for the box to be returned to us via the bank ...

 

The point really is that this should not have happened at all, and the Bank is negligent - the third party to me is just simply noise ...

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I hear that there is some website where one can post potential cases, and which solicitors visit to search for potential cases - anyone know name of this website?

 

For my issue, I have now referred to the Financial Ombudsman, but am mindful of the time they take (as they are not adequately resourced).

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I hear that there is some website where one can post potential cases, and which solicitors visit to search for potential cases - anyone know name of this website?

 

For my issue, I have now referred to the Financial Ombudsman, but am mindful of the time they take (as they are not adequately resourced).

 

it will take time via the Financial Ombudsman but at least the case is alive

 

having them onboard is a plus for you


post office WON 12/11/06

 

abbey.LBA sent 30/10/06.MCOL claim submitted 8/11/06.allocation questionnaire sent 16/12/06.schedule of charges sent 16/12/06.WON

 

2nd abbey claim SAR sent 3/1/07.WON.complaint letter sent 18/1/08

 

alliance and Leicester.WON

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Your note of 8 July states that the box was returned to you, presumably you are also stating that items were missing. It seems therefore that you can take criminal action against the people with the same name for theft. I would have thought you also have a case against the Bank for negligence and hence compensation. However the items in the boc/envelope should have been insured and you should claim on the policy for their value. The Bank has taken the safe custody item as contents unknown to the Bank and as such would have no knowledge of the contents and not be liable to remunerate you for the actual lost value. As for sacking the employee i would have thought after 4 and a half years it would be impossible for them to even trace who dealt with it.

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I have to agree with Rhino and yourbank on this; whatever we feel about it the bank's obligations are to keep the item in their safe custody area and do not insure the contents, or even know what the contents are. The safe custody records will only show "small locked box, sealed envelope or perhaps even small suitcase" nothing more.

 

Where they have clearly failed is in releasing the item to the wrong person and here they clearly have a duty of care to ensure just as they do with reagrds to giving money from your account to a namesake.

 

The compensation will be based on a scale and limited to the size of the item on deposit, therefore an envelope will be worth less than a small box etc and you still need to insure the item yourself. Having said that, insurers are usually quite happy that the item is in bank vault!

 

You can take proceedings for theft against the third party who took the box out of the bank as they must have known it wasn't theirs. Even if they also had a deposit in the same bank, and even if their box was identical to yours they must have known once they opened it...

 

The banks usually carry out six monthly or annual safe custody audits where items are checked against the log andthis is what triggers the safe custody fee charges. If the box was "withdrawn" as opposed to merely being taken out with the potential to be returned, then the entry in the log would be closed off and all future charges would cease.

 

I disagree that they can't trace transaction history though. As these are customer records, they fall under the 6 year rule so if they can't provide the details its more likely to be because its too much hassle and you haven't made enough noise about it. Besides, there will probably be a couple of people nominated with responsibility for safe custody so it should be a short list.

 

The cold facts are that the bank broke their own rules about releasing items from safe custody. They were clearly negligent and should pay for that; the amount probably won't bear any comparison to your loss, but as far as the bank knew, the box could have been full of platinum jewellery or just as easily have been completely empty; the person who took the items away from the bank is your legitimate target for legal action.

 

I guess it all depends how much these things mean to you?

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The EXACT same thing has happened to me just recently. But the bank was Barclays Bank. Please guide me as I have contacted them. They have issued my box to another party and are not telling me anything. I want to sue them as there were a lot of valueables in there. But the same problem how do I prove it now that teh WHOLE box has been given to some random person.

I just want to know HOW could they give the box without even CHECKING the eprsons ID?

I am out of my mind.

please guide me what to do.

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write a letter to the bank's chief executive asking how an item in their safe custody could be released to a third party? At this point there's no point in describing the contents, as the main point is one of processes and security. Once you have a meaningful answer to your first question you can move to the amount of loss. The biggest hurdle you will face is in proving that the contents were actually in their care. most banks simply record safe custody as "one large envelope" or "one locked box, contents unknown" and most advise taking out insurance for the full value of the deposit. The fact that you have taken the precaution of depositing the family silver or whatever with a bank should reduce the premiums but the bank's own insurance WILL NOT COVER UNDISCLOSED ITEMS and for pretty obvious reasons.

 

the main reason for writing to the CEO is to get your complaint elevated to the status of an "ExecutiveComplaint" which will be handled by a separate department, usually staffed by more senior people.

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dear o dear o dear Soie76; my experience .. some sweet talk from Customer Relations - where everything you say can and will be regugitated back to you - predicament - if you don't talk you cannot express your loss, but it is a fact finding quest - remember for there guys it is nothing more than a job - in my case some old gentleman expressing that he can see my point of view, my loss, BUT never admitting fault and even when they did they will throw in a clanger to incite you, but you try hard not to bite!

 

So, be factual, not emotional, and like the episode here shows - you will get some compensation - which won't be equal to your loss monetarily nor as a means of replacing sentimentality.

 

Finally- you will be made an offer which you won't like, you will go to the Ombudsman, you will get half a dozen letters from the Ombudsman saying they are really busy and the gov't does not give them too many staff, so you will get to a stage when you will not be looking for the Ombudsman's letter, and when 'that' one arrives, you will open it 2nd or 3rd instead of the first one to be opened, and then lo and behold ... "we have considered your case and in our opinion the Bank has made a reasonable offer and we advise you to accept it, and sign here please... however if you do not accept the offer, you are at liberty to take legal action ... blah blah blah PHat!

 

Sorry that this is negative, but it was a journey, and the journey taught me a few lessons in life; 1. you are small compared to the corporate, 2) Emotions do not work 3) Health and Character matter more than wealth 4) Move on.

 

BUT you have to go through the journey as otherwise you won't know whether yours would have taken a different route. You can always earn the money to replace the loss. Don't lose your health in the quest though. Good Luck.

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Thank you for your advice.The box had property papers and also a big amount of other valueables. Now I have recently discovered that. The properties have been sold. I am just amazed how could this be? Have an appt with the land registry ppl to sort it out. Can I clam compensation if this is linked to the box's disappearence.

 

 

 

 

 

write a letter to the bank's chief executive asking how an item in their safe custody could be released to a third party? At this point there's no point in describing the contents, as the main point is one of processes and security. Once you have a meaningful answer to your first question you can move to the amount of loss. The biggest hurdle you will face is in proving that the contents were actually in their care. most banks simply record safe custody as "one large envelope" or "one locked box, contents unknown" and most advise taking out insurance for the full value of the deposit. The fact that you have taken the precaution of depositing the family silver or whatever with a bank should reduce the premiums but the bank's own insurance WILL NOT COVER UNDISCLOSED ITEMS and for pretty obvious reasons.

 

the main reason for writing to the CEO is to get your complaint elevated to the status of an "ExecutiveComplaint" which will be handled by a separate department, usually staffed by more senior people.

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"Thank you for your advice.The box had property papers and also a big amount of other valueables. Now I have recently discovered that. The properties have been sold. I am just amazed how could this be? Have an appt with the land registry ppl to sort it out. Can I clam compensation if this is linked to the box's disappearence".

 

 

You made an appointment to see the Land registry people? well this just stunns me.......It's the police you need to see, and a good solicitor!

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