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My elderly Mum left in the lurch, pleasee help

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I sold my car last week for £4000 to pay my elderly Mum back for helping us out of debt. The guy who bought the car paid by cheque so I told him that I would give him the car once the cheque cleared. I paid the cheque in on Tuesday 13th July.


Immediately my balance showed the £4000 in account but NOT available balance. My account showed the same until Friday 16th which then said available balance. Using the internet banking service I transferred £3700 into my Mum's account. Obviously Mum was happy to have saving put on an even keel and went and spent £1200 on a holiday for her and Dad.


This morning the cheque has been returned and the bank have taken the liberty of taking the £3700 from my Mum's account which will have put her £1200 overdrawn straight away.


Surely I'm liable for that money until I sort it out with the guy who bought the car and not my Mum. How dare they access her account without her permission. She has been with the bank almost 30 years and never been so much as a penny overdrawn.


What with my daily radio therapy and my Mum's weak heart this has caused all matter of problems.

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I am sorry to hear of your problem. I hope the purchaser has made an genuine mistake with the cheque and it is nothing more than that.


I am no expert on this sort of matter but I think the Co-op have probably protected themselves on this sort of thing for your own account, in the T & C's with regards the cashing of the cheque. In my smile T & C's is this, so probably the same for your Co-op account:

2.3 A cheque paid into your account may be returned unpaid. If this happens we will tell you and the amount may be taken from your account. We may ask for payment again from the bank of the person who issued the cheque or return it to you. If you withdraw some or all of the amount of a cheque which is later returned unpaid and this withdrawal or the unpaid cheque causes your account to go overdrawn or over any formal overdraft limit this will be considered an informal request to access our overdraft services in accordance with condition 13. You can assume that at the end of six business days, the cheque is cleared. After this time you are protected from any loss if the cheque is subsequently returned unpaid, unless it is found to be fraudulent or you are a knowing party to fraud.

I must admit I didn't realise that before six days they could do this :eek:


But for the bit about reversing a payment to another account seems very dodgy. When (for a much smaller amount) I had mistyped an account number for an online-payment which had left my account, I called and asked what the situation was about getting it back and they said, (apart from more fool you for typing it in wrong :oops:), it is your responsibility to enter details correctly. AND 'there is nothing we can do once the money has left your account'. In my case there was no account matching the number so the money came back after a few days - phew!


The Bank should have contacted you as per their condition above, and then which ever bank should have at least contacted your mum to ask for the money back? Perhaps come to some agreement on how to repay the money under the circumstances. Perhaps even honour* the amount while the situation is resolved. After all your Mum was expecting a payment and acted in good faith. It is not like your mum just happened to "find" some money in her account and went and spent it without considering where it came from. For example if the DWP messed up on my DLA payments and paid too much they would not just get their bank to swipe it back? They would have to ask for it back. I know when I was over paid by previous employer one month they didn't just take it back, the Personnel bod rather red faced came up to me and said we've coc##d up - we came to an amicable agreement. Surely even if your mum's account is with the same Bank they can't do that without authorisation / request?


But I do wonder though if the Bank are trying to get away with this under the guise of fraud so they think they can do anything?


I would be asking your mum's bank to be lenient regarding probable overdraft charges while the situation is looked at.


I know these are not directly related but these are interesting non the less. 1) Someone made a payment to the wrong live account 2) The Financial Ombudsmen Service commenting on mistaken credits.


BBC NEWS | Business | When click of a mouse cost £2,000


banking: mistaken credits - issue 33 - Nov 2003


Hopefully someone with a few more grey cells than me will be along to give you their view on this.


Best of luck.


* or is that an oxymoron; bank and honour in the same sentence :)

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