Lloyds Bank closed the current account of its customer John Hill, who lives in Devon, and cancelled his direct debit payments after mistaking him for being dead
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A customer of Lloyds Bank had his account closed and direct debits cancelled after the bank wrongly declared him dead.
John Hill, who lives in Devon, realised his account had been shut down after he received emails from his utility providers about his payments.
Due to the bank error, Mr Hill became liable for a late payment fee of £25 from his credit card provider – but this was later waived by the card issuer.
The mistake is thought to have happened after Lloyds was informed about the death of someone with a similar name to Mr Hill.
Mr Hill told MoneySavingExpert, who first reported the mistake: “I immediately rang the bank but the automated system put my number through to the bereavement team.
Have you been treated badly by your bank? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
“It is then that I learnt Lloyds had been contacted by a company called Fraser and Fraser, who it turns out are a company of genealogists and probate researchers.
“Fraser and Fraser informed Lloyds about the supposed death of someone with a similar name to mine.”
Lloyds says it unblocked the account as soon as it was made aware of the error – but Mr Hill said it still took around one week for him to be able to fully access his account again.
The bank went on to offer Mr Hill £525 in compensation for the mishap and called it an internal mix-up.
They also provided Mr Hill with a list of companies who he previously had direct debits with so he could make sure the payments had been correctly set back up again.
A spokesperson from Lloyds Bank said: “We are extremely sorry to Mr Hill for the distress and inconvenience this has caused him.
“While we can say this is an isolated incident, we want to make sure this never happens again, and we’ve worked hard behind the scenes to understand what went wrong.”
A spokesperson for Fraser and Fraser told MSE: “Since the Death Notification Service commenced in 2018, we have placed thousands of notifications and we are aware of only two instances of mistaken identification like this one.”
If you’ve received unsatisfactory service from your bank, you should contact it directly to make a complaint.
In your complaint, you should include details about how the issue affected you and evidence of the impact it had on your day-to-day life.
For example, you should include screengrabs of your account if an error led to you missing a payment.
If you’re not happy with the response from your bank, you can complain to the free Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
Chris Newlands, news and investigations editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “The death notification service is there to help loved ones report someone’s passing… and though rare, this is one whopping case of mistaken identity.
“Whatever the circumstance, if you feel you’ve not received good customer service from your bank in their response to a complaint, then your best option is to contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).”