Handyman who received mystery £110,000 wrongly told by bank to keep it

Handyman, 54, who received mystery £110,000 deposit into his account and was told by Barclays he could keep it, intended to use funds to renovate house – but bank takes it all back with an EXTRA £6,000 nine months later

  • Russell Alexander, 54, of Sutton, Norfolk, found mystery £110,000 in his account
  • He queried it with Barclays, who wrongly advised him he could keep the money
  • Mr Alexander planned to use the unexpected cash to convert a house into a B&B
  • Nine months later, Barclays took the money back plus another £6,000
  • He says he has suffered sleepless nights and £500 compensation is ‘total insult’

A man has told how he’s been left out of pocket after a stranger put £110,000 into his account and his bank accidentally told him he could keep it.

Russell Alexander, 54, was surprised when huge sums of money – up to £50,000 at a time – started popping up in his account.

He immediately queried it with Barclays, and after initially getting no reply, was eventually told the money was from an inheritance and his to keep.

The grandfather from Sutton, Norfolk, used other money from his separation to buy a £237,500 doer-upper new home. He said he expected to use the £110,000 windfall to fund the extensive repairs. 

But nine months after the cash started hitting his account, Barclays realised their mistake and took it all back – including an extra £6,000 of Mr Alexander’s own money.

Russell Alexander, 54, says he has been left out of pocket after a stranger put £110,000 into his account and his bank accidentally told him he could keep it

Mr Alexander had planned to use the money on renovations for a doer-up house that he purchased but says he has now been left in limbo 

The handyman blames the bank and said he’s been left living in a semi-derelict home with no heating, and no funds to renovate it.

Barclays has admitted the money was transferred by another sender in error – and Mr Alexander was ‘incorrectly advised that he could keep the funds’.

Shocked Mr Alexander said: ‘I’m totally outraged at their offer of £500 compensation.

‘I’ve been a loyal customer for 40 years and they clearly told me twice the money was mine to spend.

‘I planned to renovate the house to rent out rooms on Airbnb, but I’ll need to work now to earn the money and it will take years.

‘I never would have bought it if I didn’t have the extra money. Barclays have stolen my future plans and left me living like a stowaway.’ 

Inside the house that Russell Alexander bought with the £110,000 he was accidentally given

Mr Alexander was surprised to notice a payment of £30,000 land in his account on December 29, 2020.

The reference on the transfer was ‘last of mums’ – which made no sense to Mr Alexander.

He messaged Barclays chat on their website twice in December, but got no response, he said.

Another payment of £30,000 and one of £777 landed in his account on January 15 2021, so he queried them on the phone that month.

He said a few weeks later a bank worker called to say the transfers looked like direct inheritance payments to him, and he could spend it, he claims.

Mr Alexander moved into his project house on June 23, after he and his ex-fiancée sold their seven-bed B&B property.

His new home needs rewiring throughout, the heating system and the plumbing needs to be replaced, as do the roof, and foundations, he claims.

Another £50,000 landed in his account in August.

But in September a customer of Mr Alexander’s former business rang him up and confessed he’d been the one to accidentally give the money to him.

Mr Alexander called Barclays who confirmed they had made a mistake and offered him £500 compensation, he said.

They took the money back from his account on September 29.

He said: ‘It made no sense to me when the money just arrived, but I checked with the bank twice and with an accountant – they all said spend it.

‘I pulled the house to bits and planned to use the money to do it up, but now they’ve taken it back and I have to live in one room of a derelict house.

Mr Alexander had plans to convert the doer-up property into a B&B after £110,000 mysteriously landed into his account

‘I’ve had sleepless nights over this for weeks. I don’t know what the matter is with Barclays. This is no way to run a bank.

‘I’m disgusted that this is how they treat their loyal customers. I’ve banked with them for 40 years.

‘After giving me nine months of false hope their £500 compensation is a total insult. They make billions of pounds a year.

‘It’s been sat there nine months and they said if I’d spent it they couldn’t do anything, but because I didn’t they’ve just taken it back.’

In September, a customer of Mr Alexander’s former business rang him up and confessed he’d been the one to accidentally give the money to him

A spokesperson from Barclays said: ‘We’re sorry to hear about this customer’s experience.

‘It is evident that the sender of the funds had selected the incorrect intended recipient from their payee list when completing the online payment instructions.

‘There is a verification page displayed to allow the customers to check that the details entered online are valid and correct before proceeding to confirm the payment is to be made.

‘Unfortunately, when the recipient sought clarity regarding the unexpected funds being received in his account, he was incorrectly advised that he could keep the funds.

‘Subsequently the funds were removed from the account following a claim from the original sender.

‘However due to our error an additional £6,000 above the intended sum received was incorrectly removed. This will be returned to our customer together with lost interest.’

They urged customers to report unexpected funds immediately, and to regularly delete one-off payees from the app or online banking site.

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