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  • FIRST POST
    • plewis00
    • By plewis00 17th Sep 19, 5:01 PM
    • 19Posts
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    plewis00
    Advice needed - Barclays took money from my accounts and froze them
    • #1
    • 17th Sep 19, 5:01 PM
    Advice needed - Barclays took money from my accounts and froze them 17th Sep 19 at 5:01 PM
    Hi all, I am in a difficult position and before I take legal action (or try to) wanted some advice from people here, any is welcome and I'll answer any questions where I haven't been clear.

    Back in January 2018, someone contacted my business to buy some products, as people frequently do - we are limited and VAT registered company. They stated a few products totalling approximately £1500 and offered to pay by bank transfer, everything checked out fine, the payment was made, checked and confirmed with Barclays and products sent and received.

    A couple of weeks later, I couldn't access the company or my personal accounts. I thought it was something else so went into my local branch and they wouldn't tell me anything, obviously I was pretty distraught as it hampered trading and had a negative impact as I couldn't believe this is normal protocol.

    After some Googling (which led me here) and digging around it seemed as though it was likely linked to Money Laundering Act 2002, when I challenged Barclays with this they conceeded it 'probably was but I'd have to be patient'.

    I regained access to my accounts (personal and business) but they took the £1500 - initially I thought they were going to fight on my behalf with the sending bank as it should have been picked up by them, but no, they said it's my fault (even though I checked the payment had cleared with them and sent the products in good faith).

    Long arguments ensued with Barclays largely rude and unhelpful including some fresh customer service staff who had literally just left university. I decided to follow protocol and not take them to the Small Claims Court immediately but referred it to Ombudsman. It took the Ombudsman a staggering 13 months to decide that this is normal if they suspect something (which seems very vague as an excuse for nearly ruining someone's livelihood) and they said (to their own surprise) 'there is little to safeguard personal or small business accounts against this', which makes me realise that BACS is not safe at all, in fact cash or PayPal is safer because cash is final and PayPal will actually fight your corner, whereas big banks will bully and wash their hands of you - and dare I say it, I think the Ombudsman knows this too.

    So my concern is this - what do I do? I think Barclays handled it poorly and are complicit for accepting the funds into my account and should cover me as a gesture of goodwill, or at least provide information on the sending bank who should be the liable party because obviously their safely countermeasures failed.

    Thanks in advance.
Page 1
    • colsten
    • By colsten 17th Sep 19, 5:09 PM
    • 11,049 Posts
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    colsten
    • #2
    • 17th Sep 19, 5:09 PM
    • #2
    • 17th Sep 19, 5:09 PM
    It seems to be word against word, and the "buyer's" word appears to have been more convincing than yours. You'd probably have to sue the buyer if you wanted any hope of seeing your money again. IANL, mind.
    • plewis00
    • By plewis00 17th Sep 19, 5:32 PM
    • 19 Posts
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    plewis00
    • #3
    • 17th Sep 19, 5:32 PM
    • #3
    • 17th Sep 19, 5:32 PM
    It seems to be word against word, and the "buyer's" word appears to have been more convincing than yours. You'd probably have to sue the buyer if you wanted any hope of seeing your money again. IANL, mind.
    Originally posted by colsten
    The 'buyer's payment' came from a 'compromised account' according to Barclays. I have never seen a reversed BACS payment, the majority of people will tell you it's one-way and you can't take it back. As the banks are a third-party that facilitated the transfer, I am working off the assumption that they have joint liability, even though I don't know who the sending bank is.
    • londoninvestor
    • By londoninvestor 17th Sep 19, 5:47 PM
    • 1,335 Posts
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    londoninvestor
    • #4
    • 17th Sep 19, 5:47 PM
    • #4
    • 17th Sep 19, 5:47 PM
    Have you reported this to the police? You at least know the address the goods were delivered, but it may be a long shot after 13 months.
    • plewis00
    • By plewis00 17th Sep 19, 9:06 PM
    • 19 Posts
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    plewis00
    • #5
    • 17th Sep 19, 9:06 PM
    • #5
    • 17th Sep 19, 9:06 PM
    Have you reported this to the police? You at least know the address the goods were delivered, but it may be a long shot after 13 months.
    Originally posted by londoninvestor
    Yes, but the local police constabulary said it's technically a civil dispute between me and Barclays not a criminal one, so it got referred to Action Fraud instead (who didn't do anything, though I did file reports) and I recorded all the items as stolen on Immobilise too. Any ideas?
    • londoninvestor
    • By londoninvestor 17th Sep 19, 10:23 PM
    • 1,335 Posts
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    londoninvestor
    • #6
    • 17th Sep 19, 10:23 PM
    • #6
    • 17th Sep 19, 10:23 PM
    Yes, but the local police constabulary said it's technically a civil dispute between me and Barclays not a criminal one, so it got referred to Action Fraud instead (who didn't do anything, though I did file reports) and I recorded all the items as stolen on Immobilise too. Any ideas?
    Originally posted by plewis00
    The police are right inasfar as the dispute between you and Barclays is a civil matter. But the "buyer" I'd think has committed criminal fraud with you as the victim.

    As a loose analogy, suppose the buyer had paid in physical cash, you took it to the bank to pay in and they rejected it because it was counterfeit. The buyer clearly has a criminal case to answer there.

    You could stress that again to the police, and largely leave your beef with the banks out of it, though I have to say I wouldn't be that optimistic the police will spend time on it.
    • sal_III
    • By sal_III 18th Sep 19, 9:22 AM
    • 1,395 Posts
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    sal_III
    • #7
    • 18th Sep 19, 9:22 AM
    • #7
    • 18th Sep 19, 9:22 AM
    Yes, but the local police constabulary said it's technically a civil dispute between me and Barclays not a criminal one, so it got referred to Action Fraud instead (who didn't do anything, though I did file reports) and I recorded all the items as stolen on Immobilise too. Any ideas?
    Originally posted by plewis00
    You are looking at it wrong - your conflict is not with Barclays, who have followed some rules around fraud. I don't think you will get anywhere pursuing this angle.

    Your conflict is with the buyer, who effectively has not paid you for the goods provided. You should chase him for the money, although by the sound of it he was a crim who compromised someone else's account and paid you from it, when the account holder realised he must have alerted his bank who in turn alerted Barclays, who refunded the compromised account. I wouldn't hold much hope of reclaiming the funds from such a person.
    • plewis00
    • By plewis00 19th Sep 19, 10:20 AM
    • 19 Posts
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    plewis00
    • #8
    • 19th Sep 19, 10:20 AM
    • #8
    • 19th Sep 19, 10:20 AM
    I am pushing Barclays because of their handling of it and lack of protection - which I find kind of shocking really. I would expect both end parties (legit account holder and myself/business) who transacted in good faith to be offered protection as I would believe itís between Barclays and whichever bank sent the money by allowing an account they control to be compromised and not picked up on for weeks.

    As to the person who said, if they paid with cash, you can check for this at the time - you canít verify the bank account is genuine without asking some rather intrusive questions or demanding proof of some sort.

    I need to work out the best approach, as I donít think we should take the loss on the chin like that and Barclays arenít revealing anything further so I canít approach the bank who sent it.
    • eskbanker
    • By eskbanker 19th Sep 19, 11:19 AM
    • 11,388 Posts
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    eskbanker
    • #9
    • 19th Sep 19, 11:19 AM
    • #9
    • 19th Sep 19, 11:19 AM
    I think Barclays handled it poorly and are complicit for accepting the funds into my account and should cover me as a gesture of goodwill, or at least provide information on the sending bank who should be the liable party because obviously their safely countermeasures failed.
    Originally posted by plewis00
    The 'buyer's payment' came from a 'compromised account' according to Barclays. I have never seen a reversed BACS payment, the majority of people will tell you it's one-way and you can't take it back. As the banks are a third-party that facilitated the transfer, I am working off the assumption that they have joint liability, even though I don't know who the sending bank is.
    Originally posted by plewis00
    I am pushing Barclays because of their handling of it and lack of protection - which I find kind of shocking really. I would expect both end parties (legit account holder and myself/business) who transacted in good faith to be offered protection as I would believe itís between Barclays and whichever bank sent the money by allowing an account they control to be compromised and not picked up on for weeks.
    Originally posted by plewis00
    While this is obviously frustrating, I can't see that Barclays are guilty of anything other than perhaps some grumpy customer service.

    If the majority of people see bank transfers as one-way and irrevocable, then frankly they're wrong - if the sending bank has reason to believe that the transaction was fraudulent then they can, and do, liaise with the receiving bank to get the money back.

    You may feel that the 'compromised account' signifies a fault by the sending bank but as far as I can see don't actually have any evidence for this. However, even if this was the case, that doesn't mean that Barclays have any responsibility to compensate you - their receipt (and subsequent return) of the payment doesn't in any way make them 'complicit'.

    I do understand why you're miffed (we all would be) but if you're expecting protection from Barclays then you should make a case based on relevant laws, regulations and evidence, rather than simply expecting them to reimburse you out of sympathy when they haven't done anything wrong. Obviously you'd need to construct something that would hold water if taking this to court anyway, and courts are inevitably more interested in facts than unsupported grievances - the fact that you didn't get a successful result at FOS would also count against you, as they already consider woollier matters of 'fairness' and so on, as well as the letter of the law.

    As above, it would seem more constructive to pursue the buyer for non-payment, rather than trying to pin it on one or other of the banks who simply did what they were supposed to both during and after the dodgy transaction....
    • plewis00
    • By plewis00 21st Sep 19, 8:20 PM
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    • 4 Thanks
    plewis00
    While this is obviously frustrating, I can't see that Barclays are guilty of anything other than perhaps some grumpy customer service.

    If the majority of people see bank transfers as one-way and irrevocable, then frankly they're wrong - if the sending bank has reason to believe that the transaction was fraudulent then they can, and do, liaise with the receiving bank to get the money back.

    You may feel that the 'compromised account' signifies a fault by the sending bank but as far as I can see don't actually have any evidence for this. However, even if this was the case, that doesn't mean that Barclays have any responsibility to compensate you - their receipt (and subsequent return) of the payment doesn't in any way make them 'complicit'.

    I do understand why you're miffed (we all would be) but if you're expecting protection from Barclays then you should make a case based on relevant laws, regulations and evidence, rather than simply expecting them to reimburse you out of sympathy when they haven't done anything wrong. Obviously you'd need to construct something that would hold water if taking this to court anyway, and courts are inevitably more interested in facts than unsupported grievances - the fact that you didn't get a successful result at FOS would also count against you, as they already consider woollier matters of 'fairness' and so on, as well as the letter of the law.

    As above, it would seem more constructive to pursue the buyer for non-payment, rather than trying to pin it on one or other of the banks who simply did what they were supposed to both during and after the dodgy transaction....
    Originally posted by eskbanker
    The end points are me/us and the buyer, but there is a breakdown in the middle and this is an obvious loophole that people can exploit.

    What you say about bank transfer is true but actually then, it's a flawed method and the banks telling you it is one-way and irreversible (which they do) is totally false. Cash or a payment processor (e.g. PayPal) would have been the best option.

    I'm not expecting Barclays to compensate me and accept blame - I'm expecting them to do all they can to get a fair resolution and by helping rather than impeding me and if that includes a gesture of goodwill along the way, then let's face it - they can afford to. Had this been PayPal they would fight my side, Barclays get away with doing nothing and allowing this to happen by the looks of it.

    The buyer is a criminal - there is no recourse there, especially not now as Barclays and the Ombudsman have let that drag on for 18+ months.

    The bit I cannot comprehend is when you hear that someone's account has been compromised and hacked, they usually get the money back (you know, in the papers or on Watchdog) - but you don't hear about the companies and businesses who were paid having the funds seized back having provided products or services in good faith, so how is this different? Or is it not different, just that we never hear about it?
    • boo_star
    • By boo_star 22nd Sep 19, 7:52 AM
    • 2,644 Posts
    • 1,973 Thanks
    boo_star
    The end points are me/us and the buyer, but there is a breakdown in the middle and this is an obvious loophole that people can exploit.

    What you say about bank transfer is true but actually then, it's a flawed method and the banks telling you it is one-way and irreversible (which they do) is totally false. Cash or a payment processor (e.g. PayPal) would have been the best option.

    I'm not expecting Barclays to compensate me and accept blame - I'm expecting them to do all they can to get a fair resolution and by helping rather than impeding me and if that includes a gesture of goodwill along the way, then let's face it - they can afford to. Had this been PayPal they would fight my side, Barclays get away with doing nothing and allowing this to happen by the looks of it.

    The buyer is a criminal - there is no recourse there, especially not now as Barclays and the Ombudsman have let that drag on for 18+ months.

    The bit I cannot comprehend is when you hear that someone's account has been compromised and hacked, they usually get the money back (you know, in the papers or on Watchdog) - but you don't hear about the companies and businesses who were paid having the funds seized back having provided products or services in good faith, so how is this different? Or is it not different, just that we never hear about it?
    Originally posted by plewis00
    I've never heard of a bank transfer being reversed outside of administrative error or very obvious fraud. And I don't mean "someone scammed me" as eskbanker suggests, but someone getting access to an account and transferring money out.
    • eskbanker
    • By eskbanker 22nd Sep 19, 10:29 AM
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    eskbanker
    What you say about bank transfer is true but actually then, it's a flawed method and the banks telling you it is one-way and irreversible (which they do) is totally false.
    Originally posted by plewis00
    Do you have any credible source/links for "banks telling you it is one-way and irreversible" as a recipient? Naturally they'll highlight that you can't just change your mind as a sender but if they're suggesting that the process is irreversible full stop then that would be rash and inaccurate.

    I'm not expecting Barclays to compensate me and accept blame - I'm expecting them to do all they can to get a fair resolution and by helping rather than impeding me and if that includes a gesture of goodwill along the way, then let's face it - they can afford to.
    Originally posted by plewis00
    You were initially making noises about taking them to court, which obviously requires you to prove that they are in breach of Ts & Cs, laws, regulations, etc. If you're resetting your expectations to hoping to persuade them that they could have done more and looking to squeeze some compo out of them then go ahead, but it's not clear how you'd plan to do this after having already gone through their own process and that of FOS.

    The bit I cannot comprehend is when you hear that someone's account has been compromised and hacked, they usually get the money back (you know, in the papers or on Watchdog) - but you don't hear about the companies and businesses who were paid having the funds seized back having provided products or services in good faith, so how is this different? Or is it not different, just that we never hear about it?
    Originally posted by plewis00
    I'd be very wary of basing your perceptions of how fraudulent activity is handled in the banking industry on what you read in papers or see on Watchdog!
    • born again
    • By born again 22nd Sep 19, 6:48 PM
    • 393 Posts
    • 186 Thanks
    born again
    Had this been PayPal they would fight my side, Barclays get away with doing nothing and allowing this to happen by the looks of it.
    Originally posted by plewis00
    Are you sure on that.
    PP account compromised. The acc holder would get the money back. Who supplied the goods would be out of pocket.
    The buyer is a criminal - there is no recourse there, especially not now as Barclays and the Ombudsman have let that drag on for 18+ months.
    Originally posted by plewis00
    But there was nothing from stopping you using the police while Barclays & FOS were dealing. As I would have expect that they will have told you too.

    The bit I cannot comprehend is when you hear that someone's account has been compromised and hacked, they usually get the money back (you know, in the papers or on Watchdog) - but you don't hear about the companies and businesses who were paid having the funds seized back having provided products or services in good faith, so how is this different? Or is it not different, just that we never hear about it?
    Originally posted by plewis00
    Someone has to pay in the end and if the bank has done nothing wrong why should they. As we all know a retailer builds costs into product pricing to cover these sort of things.
    Even if the buyer had used stolen card details. You would have ended up out of pocket as the bank would claim the money back from the retailer.
    • plewis00
    • By plewis00 22nd Sep 19, 11:25 PM
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    plewis00
    Are you sure on that.
    PP account compromised. The acc holder would get the money back. Who supplied the goods would be out of pocket.


    But there was nothing from stopping you using the police while Barclays & FOS were dealing. As I would have expect that they will have told you too.



    Someone has to pay in the end and if the bank has done nothing wrong why should they. As we all know a retailer builds costs into product pricing to cover these sort of things.
    Even if the buyer had used stolen card details. You would have ended up out of pocket as the bank would claim the money back from the retailer.
    Originally posted by born again
    Yes, I am sure on that, PayPal have Seller Protection if you ship in line with their policies and this has occured before but been covered. As to your credit card point, you'd have to use a payment processor like PayPal and you'd be covered if you operated within their guidelines.

    The police didn't want to know and referred it back to Action Fraud who took the report but it was a dead end.
    • plewis00
    • By plewis00 22nd Sep 19, 11:37 PM
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    plewis00
    Do you have any credible source/links for "banks telling you it is one-way and irreversible" as a recipient? Naturally they'll highlight that you can't just change your mind as a sender but if they're suggesting that the process is irreversible full stop then that would be rash and inaccurate.

    You were initially making noises about taking them to court, which obviously requires you to prove that they are in breach of Ts & Cs, laws, regulations, etc. If you're resetting your expectations to hoping to persuade them that they could have done more and looking to squeeze some compo out of them then go ahead, but it's not clear how you'd plan to do this after having already gone through their own process and that of FOS.

    I'd be very wary of basing your perceptions of how fraudulent activity is handled in the banking industry on what you read in papers or see on Watchdog!
    Originally posted by eskbanker
    Barclays did make some pretty stupid claims - the branch manager told me to 'use my personal accounts' until I explained that they'd locked those out and that would also be terrible advice for tax reasons. If you genuinely told me that BACS payments are reversible from either end, it would be the first I'd heard of it.

    I made 'noise' about taking them to court because I don't think it was handled correctly and I don't think it should've gone down like this. As if the financial loss, loss of access to my accounts and emotional strain wasn't enough.

    Fortunately, I have little to go on with how banks handle fraud because the bank is just the hub not something we use regularly really. As I said, PayPal seems to be far better as a company to deal with, I just didn't know banks could do so little or be so disinterested and that's actually normal behaviour.
    • BoGoF
    • By BoGoF 23rd Sep 19, 5:03 AM
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    BoGoF
    As soon as they 'offered' to pay by bank transfer alarm bells should have been ringing with you. If you offered payment by credit/debit card or paypal why would anyone want to pay by bank trsnsfer?
    Last edited by BoGoF; 23-09-2019 at 5:12 AM.
    • Kentish Dave
    • By Kentish Dave 23rd Sep 19, 5:45 AM
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    Kentish Dave
    Iíd agree with the others above, Barclays are not in the wrong here and they are unlikely to compensate you.

    The money which arrived in your account looks to have been stolen, so was returned to the victim. Iím not sure why your bank should compensate you for this from their own funds.

    If you accept payment by bank transfer then this is sadly part of the cost of doing business.
    • eskbanker
    • By eskbanker 23rd Sep 19, 9:28 AM
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    eskbanker
    Barclays did make some pretty stupid claims - the branch manager told me to 'use my personal accounts' until I explained that they'd locked those out and that would also be terrible advice for tax reasons. If you genuinely told me that BACS payments are reversible from either end, it would be the first I'd heard of it.

    I made 'noise' about taking them to court because I don't think it was handled correctly and I don't think it should've gone down like this. As if the financial loss, loss of access to my accounts and emotional strain wasn't enough.

    Fortunately, I have little to go on with how banks handle fraud because the bank is just the hub not something we use regularly really. As I said, PayPal seems to be far better as a company to deal with, I just didn't know banks could do so little or be so disinterested and that's actually normal behaviour.
    Originally posted by plewis00
    Sounds like there are two separate issues here - the reversal of the £1500 transaction by the sending bank (was this actually BACS or just Faster Payments btw?) and the way Barclays dealt with you after the event.

    Obviously you won't get that stolen money back, but if you have clear evidence that Barclays' subsequent handling of your complaint was deficient compared with their policies, FCA regulations, etc, then you could try to make some sort of claim out of that.

    Did you push the original complaint as far as an ombudsman decision at FOS or was it just an adjudicator? If the latter then you have the right to escalate, but if it's already been in front of an actual ombudsman then you could share the Decison Reference Number on here so that posters can review the ombudsman's findings (via https://www.ombudsman-decisions.org.uk/) and see if there are any other angles that might work.

    Ultimately, though, Barclays aren't obliged to tell you anything about the sending bank, and even if they did, the sending bank wouldn't deal with you on the subject. Your earlier assumption that both banks have joint liability (to you?) is unfounded and likewise I still don't see any evidence that the compromising of the sending account signifies demonstrable security weaknesses at the sending bank....

    Moving on and looking forward, you might need to look more closely at your pre-transaction checks - when you say the buyer "offered to pay by bank transfer, everything checked out fine, the payment was made, checked and confirmed with Barclays", specifically what checks did you conduct at that stage?

    You'd probably also benefit from banking with at least one other bank to avoid the situation where problems with a business account impact on your personal accounts too.
    • Flobberchops
    • By Flobberchops 23rd Sep 19, 10:46 AM
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    Flobberchops
    An account coming under review is by its nature a frustrating time for the account holder - it takes time, the bank is gagged in that they're *not allowed* (not just unwilling) to divulge information, and it may conclude in money being permanently withheld if the bank decides it was transferred criminally.

    The fact that Barclays accepted the incoming payment shouldn't be read as them giving a final, unalterable nod of approval. It wouldn't be practical to delay all incoming payments for screening, and what's more the payment may not be disputed until after it has been received. Banks are obliged to take seriously any allegations of fraud, theft or criminal activity that are received internally, from other banks, or from the police. So, it may be that the incoming payment was from a hacked account, and it was only after the victim approached their bank to log it as a fraud that Barclays was alerted to the disputed nature of the payment and took action to freeze it. Consider it from the opposite point of view; if money went missing from your account you'd want the bank(s) involved to lock it down before the recipient could withdraw it and do a runner, wouldn't you?

    Incredibly frustrating and disappointing to be on the receiving end of, but it sounds like the bank was acting in accordance with the regulators who they rely on to retain their banking licence.
    Last edited by Flobberchops; 23-09-2019 at 10:49 AM.
    I work for a UK bank, but any comments made on this forum are solely my personal opinion. Caveat Emptor!
    • born again
    • By born again 23rd Sep 19, 11:17 AM
    • 393 Posts
    • 186 Thanks
    born again
    Y
    The police didn't want to know and referred it back to Action Fraud who took the report but it was a dead end.
    Originally posted by plewis00
    You are aware that Action fraud is the police.... And Action fraud pass the details of a report to the police force that would need to deal with it. So they can investigate it.
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