Questions of Cash: Struggling to recover funds deposited in wrong account


Q. In September last year I made a payment of £2,606.93 to the wrong bank account. The payment was meant for a company that had taken over some of the business of another supplier – but I paid the Barclays account of the old company.

In October I phoned Barclays, who were no help. I then wrote to the bank, but received no response. I again phoned and was told to get in touch with my own bank, Bank of Scotland. I was told it was BoS's responsibility to recover the funds for me. I spoke to BoS twice in October, who say they wrote to Barclays and that if they did not get a response they would send a second and then a third letter if it was still not resolved. After months without success, I received a letter in April from BoS saying it had been unsuccessful in recovering the money. I am now told by the first company that the Barclays account was closed in 2004 or 2005 and that the funds must be in a Barclays holding account, from which only Barclays can authorise a withdrawal. It is impossible for me to resolve this – can you? CA, Scotland.

A. Yes, we have – and the full £2,606.93 has now been restored to you. A Barclays spokesman says: "When an account is credited in error we require the sending bank to contact us to request the funds are returned. [The reader's] bank did contact us and we began the process to recover the funds.

"The funds were transferred to an account number in use and we are required to contact the account holder to obtain their authorisation for the funds to be debited. Unfortunately we do not hold any contact numbers for the beneficiary and despite sending letters to our customer we received no response.

"However, under the circumstances and as an exception, it has been agreed to recover the funds and arranged for this to be transferred to [the reader's] account."

Replacement Phone was truly mobile

Q. I have a "Silver" TSB account, which includes mobile, European travel and breakdown insurance cover for about £12 a month. I had to claim on the mobile phone insurance on my Galaxy S3 after it packed up completely. The claims handler told me that the phone was being "worked on", despite being sent to them with a technician's note from Samsung that it was beyond repair.

I was then sent a refurbished, not a new, replacement to the wrong address, some 50 miles away, and I was charged a £50 excess. There were two special deliveries which separately sent me the claim form and the phone, which involved a delay of a week in sending me a replacement handset.

After I got upset – understandably, I think – about having to wait a further one to three working days for a phone, I was offered a frankly risible 25 per cent discount on my excess.

I have spent weeks without a smartphone that I use for work. By my calculation I was entitled to an early upgrade for just £120 – my charges for the Silver account would have easily covered that. WS, London.

A. We took this up with TSB. It points out that claims on the mobile phone insurance are handled by a separate company under an agreement with TSB. According to TSB, the problems were caused by you sending in your phone immediately rather than – as it says you were told – waiting for a covering letter from the claims handlers that should have accompanied the phone despatch.

TSB's spokeswoman says: "We apologise for the unacceptable delay to the repair of [the reader's] phone. [The reader's] complaint has now been closed to her satisfaction." TSB is to pay you £160 in recognition of the expenses you incurred, for your inconvenience as a result of the service delays and as a gesture of goodwill.

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But we'll do our best to help if you have a financial dilemma. Email us at: