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solitaire2003

Unauthorised 3rd party withdrawals from bank account.

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My Aunt died aged 94 in hospital from Alzheimers which she had for over 10 years

during which time she never left her home

 

. I and my father,(her brother) cared for her.

I was executor and it was apparent that over the past few years

there had been withdrawals of large sums of money from her bank :

£13,000 £5000 £6000 etc a total of £75,000 in 6 years.

 

Her outgoings were very small, under £300 per month.

I bought clothes, food etc.

 

There was no POA.

The bank refused to state who had withdrawn these amounts

but when my father died aged 92 two years ago

it was apparent from his bank statements that he had been responsible for these withdrawals.

 

The financial Ombudsman has been no use

. The bank stated that they phoned my aunt and she agreed the withdrawals

. Their security check was that she knew her telephone number

and that they 'recognised her accent'.

 

My Aunt didn't even know what year it was and was not capable of giving her permission

. As she had never left her home in 10 years I don't understand how anyone from the bank could recognise her accent.

 

The bank are refusing to acknowledge their mistake or to recompense .

 

I now need to know if I can claim back this money from my father's estate

or how difficult would it be to take the bank to Court?

Thank you for any input.

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I think for something like this, you may need to consult a specialist lawyer. We could give advice, but the bank will definitley challenge you and flood you with legal fees hoping you give up. Remember, youre talking about 75k and there is absolutely no way theyll back down without a fight.

 

But the first step IMHO would be to send a SAR and see exactly what their internal notes say regarding the security checks.


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Yes, unfortunately the size of this problem – £75,000 – means that the bank will put up a vigourous defence and they will be happy to do so because they will know that that they can intimidate you with the possibility of huge costs if you lose.

 

If this matter was within the small claims limits – less than £10,000 then I think that you would have them over a barrel

 

Have you fully exhausted the FOS route? I wouldn't expect the FOS to find in your favour anyway, but what would be interesting would be for the FOS to be able to give an account of the security checks which have been put in place even though the FOS would eventually so that they were satisfactory and find against you. It sounds from your account that to some extent this has happened.

 

It seems to me that this is a matter of unfair treatment and therefore subject to BCOBS, but the problem of course is bringing the action. As far as finding a specialist lawyer to deal with this, I think that you will have a lot of difficulty. I don't think that there are any banking lawyers who would be affordable and who would understand the significance of BCOBS. All other lawyers will have no idea and will simply shuffle paper around and charge you a load of money and eventually tell you that it's not worth your while.

 

I'm afraid that unless you really want to take a risk on the question of costs, if you have exhausted the FOS procedure, then the only thing to do is to set in for the long haul and start writing around to interested members of Parliament and see if you can enlist some help there. From what you say it seems very clear that the court bank has been completely negligent – but even the Co-op is too big to give a rats arse about you or any of their other customers.

 

Certainly, send the SAR and check it very carefully, not only for what is there but more interestingly, what is missing.


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Just to add to the above, I suddenly had an idea that might help you. If you can identify one particular withdrawal that is well under the small claims limit of £10,000, then you could consider bringing a small BCOBS claim for that sum alone and see how that went.

 

A withdrawal of about £5000 or less would be very handy. If you could discover all the circumstances of that withdrawal – how it was made, what security checks were – et cetera. I think that this would be well worth a punt. We would be very pleased to help you with a BCOBS action for something at that level. Of course, don't imagine that the bank won't fight tooth and nail – but at least if you lose, you will have lost your claim fee and may be a hearing fee – but not much else. If you can win on one action for a small amount then firstly you will probably have gathered a lot of information from disclosures and from conversations with them, and also you may have loosened them up and also you will have given yourself confidence to try another one. I think it might be an idea to identify a number of withdrawals all less than the small claims limit. Research the circumstances of all of them and then cherry pick a nice easy one for a small amount and run with that and see how it goes.

 

We will help you of course.


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Thank you both for your helpful advice. I'm not familiar with SAR but have seen that its about the banks rules and regs. I will go to CAB tomorrow to see if I can get more info and help with SAR. And yes you're right in that my usually helpful solicitor just accepted what FOS had said. I know for sure that my aunt's signature was forged on the cheque she supposedly signed 4 days before she died, but the bank say it matched what they have on file...also forged of course because they weren't signed in front of anyone.

I'll also write to Alan Campbell my local MP who is usually very helpful. Thank you again.

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That's an excellent idea Bankfodder. I hadn't even thought of that. There are many withdrawals of amounts under £10,000 and still money in my father's account which was withdrawn from my aunt's account and deposited in to his on the same day. My father's estate is due to be wound up soon, I am sole executor but not sole beneficiary. My solicitor told me to put a claim in to that estate. I don't know what you think because both the bank and my father are equally responsible.

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By all means go to citizens advice. As much information as possible is a good thing. However, you can be almost certain that citizens advice will not know anything about BCOBS and am afraid although they are well-intentioned, they are not sufficiently informed or aggressive enough to deal with this kind of problem

 

You don't need any help from citizens advice with the SAR. Simply follow the SAR link and use our template and modify it that by and large make sure that you ask for everything – including screen notes, call recordings, call logs, all correspondence internal and external. Pay the £10 fee with a cheque and keep an eye on your bank account to see when the cheque has been cashed.

 

Don't expect easy. Because there has been an FOS complaint about this already, the bank will be highly defensive and could be quite selective about what they choose to send you – even though that would be unlawful.

 

I think you will eventually find that the help you get here will be rather more direct and businesslike than Citizens Advice – but you should make your own mind up about this.

 

If you are dealing with forged cheques and if the signatures are good, then there would be comparatively little that you could do, I can imagine. On the other hand, if the security checks are as you have said in your first post – merely on the telephone and the accent sounded correct, then I think that you may have something to work with.

 

Make sure that the SAR discloses everything including the cheques. If you are sending SARs for your answer state and also for your father's estate, then you will need to send two SARs. Of course this kind of complication will delight the bank because it will give them lots of opportunity to try and raise obstacles in your way. The more obstacles you raise, the more you can start to believe that they realise they've made some errors and they want to cover them up.

 

Make sure that your bank knows that you are involving your MP. You can do this by writing letters of complaint and making it clear that there is a copy sent to your MP. You need to ramp it up but it will be a hard slog.


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That's an excellent idea Bankfodder. I hadn't even thought of that. There are many withdrawals of amounts under £10,000 and still money in my father's account which was withdrawn from my aunt's account and deposited in to his on the same day. My father's estate is due to be wound up soon, I am sole executor but not sole beneficiary. My solicitor told me to put a claim in to that estate. I don't know what you think because both the bank and my father are equally responsible.

 

Get all the information you can and then we can have a look. The kind of suggestions I'm making here are not the kind of suggestions that you will ever hear from Citizens Advice or any high Street lawyer.

 

The fact that your father may be jointly liable with the bank may be helpful because it could give you a negotiating position whereby the bank agrees to refund half the money – probably under conditions of confidentiality – and they would feel that this was a good situation for them rather than suffering the humiliation of having to cough up the lot. However, I wouldn't talk about this kind of arrangement with the bank yet. This is the kind of proposal that you hold onto until the last moment – and in fact, it would be better for the bank to work out that kind of suggestion themselves so that they feel that it was their idea and that they were in control and that they had won a compromise. If the suggestion came from you then they would more likely feel that they had still lost control of the situation and they would be less likely to agree to this kind of compromise. This is how stupid and vindictive these people are. Very quickly becomes personal with them and then they become incapable of making sensible businesslike decisions. You will have to try to be the mature one in the eventual negotiation.


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That's really helpful thank you. I'll not bother with CAB and I've read about BCOBS previously which I will pursue. I'll be sure to send copies to my MP. haven't had sight of the cheques or the signatures but my aunt was so ill that she couldn't sign before she died and my father told me he withdrew forged her signature on a cheque for £13000 to pay her funeral and other expenses. BTW I paid for her funeral.:-)

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You should visit the CAB. There's nothing wrong with getting a bit of extra free advice.

 

Where did you read about BCOBS? It's very unusual to find any references to it other than on this forum.

 

You didn't answer my questions about the extent of your FOS complaint


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Sorry, been looking up my paperwork. This is where I'd seen BCOBS

 

The FOS said that the bank had agreed to pay me £150 so I guess that's a small admission that they did something wrong. I would have to find the appropriate docs for the complete reply.

I'm not fazed by having to goto Court as I was adviser to the Judges for 14 years for family matters, but of course this is different and I'd like to get it right ...and not lose.!

 

I had to cut out the reference but I found out about BCOBS on BBC news business-19511542

This forum won't let me post the link?

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Not a small admission. Its basically a pay off for you to go away and to agree never to bother them again.


Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

:D

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[...] my father told me he withdrew forged her signature on a cheque for £13000 to pay her funeral and other expenses.

 

Was this cheque made out after your aunt's death ?

 

All her accounts should have been frozen and no transactions should have been permitted by the bank except those given by the executor of the estate.


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Was this cheque made out after your aunt's death ?

 

All her accounts should have been frozen and no transactions should have been permitted by the bank except those given by the executor of the estate.

 

No the cheque was cashed shortly before she died.

 

Not a small admission. Its basically a pay off for you to go away and to agree never to bother them again.

 

I thought that and didn't accept the offer which was made via the ombudsman.

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Its a little confusing this solitaire..just to confirm a few blank spots.....

 

Was you a beneficiary to your Aunt's estate ?

 

Without being nosey why are you not to your fathers estate?

 

As you are and were executor to both estates what has happened to raise this point and what/where (if successful) do you intend to do with the £75K ?

 

Feel free to ignore the above points...but it would add clarity to the problem.

 

Regards

 

Andy


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Hi Andy,

Yes I am beneficiary and sole executive to both estates. Although co-op bank wouldn't tell me who had withdrawn the money, what has happened is that after seeing both bank statements it was clear that monies had been transferred directly from my aunt's bank account to my father's. As to what I would intend to do with £75,000 I haven't thought that far. It should go to any beneficiaries of my aunt's estate, in theory and in practice I would have thought.

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I had to cut out the reference but I found out about BCOBS on BBC news business-19511542

This forum won't let me post the link?

 

I thought that it might be that. Nice to see that at least one person has read it.

 

Actually, it fails to point out that there is an even better route to bringing a BCOBS action because it also confers a direct right of action on aggrieved persons.

The right is tucked away in the transitional provisions of BCOBS which is why it didn't register when I wrote the piece. Very careless.

 

The FOS said that the bank had agreed to pay me £150 so I guess that's a small admission that they did something wrong. I would have to find the appropriate docs for the complete reply.

I'm not fazed by having to goto Court as I was adviser to the Judges for 14 years for family matters, but of course this is different and I'd like to get it right ...and not lose.!

 

 

Yes, you have the basis of a complaint - but that is not the same as having a case.

I expect that it will take some months of preparation to see if you have something solid. It is worth being cautious.


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I sent a reply earlier on my mobile but it doesn't seem to have materialised?

I wrote the letter this morning to the Bank re SAR and will post by recorded delivery today. I'll keep in touch.

BTW I made a donation ut hopefully a much bigger one if I receive compensation from the bank...here's hoping:madgrin:

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Well, thanks very much – but I wouldn't start spreading largesse too much before you get a result.

 

I see that your name is very apt for somebody who was advising judges. I can imagine that it attracted a lot of comment.


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Hi Andy,

Yes I am beneficiary and sole executive to both estates. Although co-op bank wouldn't tell me who had withdrawn the money, what has happened is that after seeing both bank statements it was clear that monies had been transferred directly from my aunt's bank account to my father's. As to what I would intend to do with £75,000 I haven't thought that far. It should go to any beneficiaries of my aunt's estate, in theory and in practice I would have thought.

 

Don't finalise your Father's estate just yet then until you resolve this...of course the further you dig and try to resolve it you realise your father will then be deemed to have committed fraud and there may be fallout from that estate....unless your the only beneficiary.

 

Andy


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Hello again, I have eventually received info from Britannia bank. The checks they made with my aunt, were to phone her on 3 occasions and said that she knew her telephone number, her DOB, knew the balance of her account and that the caller recognised her accent. Considering that my aunt had very severe alzheimers for over 10 years, didn't even know what year it was, she was not capable of giving permission to access her account. They have verified that 3 cheqes totalling £17,000 were written to National Savings.(Bonds) They were deposited with National Savings in the name of my father and now form part of his estate.

The bank states that there was a signed 3rd party agreement beginning in 2010 but there was nothing before that date, yet they allowed withdrawals regardless.:-x

Britannia feel that all avenues have been exhausted and they are not prepared to consider my complaint.

They have not addressed any of my concerns but just sent a generalised non specific reply.

I can PM the correspondence if necessary.

Where now???

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