Pensioner loses £193,000 inheritance after sort code error

A pensioner has lost £193,000 inheritance after giving out the wrong sort code. 

Peter Teich, 74, from Cambridge, got one digit wrong and as a result Barclays are refusing to refund the pensioner with his inheritance, due to the customer who received the money, not giving the bank permission to withdraw the funds. 

Mr Teich only discovered his blunder when his sister had already received her share of their late father’s estate, but he had not. 

Less than 12 hours after he had realised his catastrophic mistake, he contacted Barclays who advised him that his inheritance would be returned to him in less than a week. 

However, this didn’t occur. The bank investigated the incident, and it transpired that the person who received the money refused to return it to the pensioner. 

Following the recipient’s refusal, the bank refunded Mr Teich £25 as a small token gesture. 

Peter told the Guardian: 

“Barclays insisted that I bear the full and sole responsibility of pursuing their own dishonest customer. 

“I freely acknowledge my mistake in this unhappy saga: I provided the sort code of the wrong Barclays branch. 

“But my error fades into insignificance when considered in the context of Barclays’ conduct.” 

Consequently, Mr Teich instructed lawyers and spent £12,000 in legal fees just to get the name of the Barclays’ customer who received the money by mistake. 

A battle in the high court followed, which cost a further £34,000 to obtain a freezing injunction before the court finally ordered the other customer to return the inheritance money to the rightful owner. 

At first Barclays declined to recompense Mr Teich’s legal fees due to him claiming back his own money. However, the bank finally decided to repay the legal fees in full to the total of £46,000 and an additional £750 in compensation. 

Mr Teich retaliated by saying: 

“It could have taken Barclays a few days to recover the misdirected funds, but instead they did nothing.” 

As with the case above, we know errors can happen when it comes to sharing bank details for important transactions.  

Lawyer Checker have a suite of tools to help legal professionals protect themselves and their clients from fraud. Consumer Bank Account Checker enables legal professionals to check whether the bank details they have for their client belongs to them. 

The tool can be used to double check the account details provided by the client and will flag up any human error preventing scenarios like Mr Teich’s playing out. This provides peace of mind to the client, law firm or probate professional. 

Lawyer Checker believe in a jargon free, straightforward and accessible approach to cyber security.   

We offer a fully inclusive suite of products and services designed to help protect your firm from money transfer fraud and the imminent threat of cyber crime.   

  • Check the legitimacy of the firm on the other side with Account & Entity Screen  
  • Prevent fraudsters from cloning your emails with OnDMARC  
  • Verify client ID and source of funds in minutes with Thirdfort  
  • Protect your firm from 80% of cyber attacks with the Government backed Cyber Essentials accreditation  
  • Use our dark web monitoring service to alert you if anything suspicious is found  
  • Conduct regular website/network vulnerability scans and penetration testing to identify weaknesses in your systems  
Book a consultation to find out more about our services and how we can help to protect your firm from financial loss, increased PI premiums and scrutiny from regulators.  
Call: 0800 133 7127 Email: