What to do when a bank wrongly deposits millions in your account
TWO stories on banking errors. The first involves the €18m deposited into Laura Hughes’s bank account. Hughes, of Athenry, Co Galway, was surprised to see the new balance in her Ulster Bank account of €18,099, 425.99 – a figure that includes the 35c she had saved before the windfall.
Hughes moved €9,000 into another account. She thought about buying a new Nissan Micra car. She says her “gut instinct wouldn’t let me do it”. Then the bank shut down her account. How fair is that? They make the error and hen forcibly close your account?A lawyer tells the Irish Independent that had Hughes spent the cash, the bank would have gone after her.
Better, perhaps, had she acted like the German man, known only as Michael H., whose bank, Comdirect, gave him €200 million in error. He had sold shares to the value of €20,000 – but Mr H’s online bank put a lot more in his account. Michael H. quickly moved €10 million to a different bank. Comdirect did get their €200 million back. They then ordered the man who pay them €12,000 in interest on the transfered cash.The matter reached the court in Itzehoe, Schleswig-Holstein, which ruled that Comdirect should let the man keep the €12,000 – and the interest it accrued over the last year. A spokesman for Comdirect, owned by Commerzbank, is not happy. The bank wants to appeal. He says:
“People who want to use money that does not belong to them generally have to pay interest. That is the same for everyone. We only implemented normal procedures – it was nothing more than correct protocol.”
Priceless. The banks make errors with their customers’ money and then tell you about correct protocols.