I’m looking for feedback on behalf of Naresh Sandhir who lost £8,000 in a week from four deposits to cover PayPoint, Lottery and bus passes at his local Halifax branch, even though he had followed procedure and deposited the money using the key provided for the purpose into the bank’s safe.
Naresh trades as Powis News and Wines in South London’s Woolwich area so I would be particularly interested in hearing if anyone in the vicinity knows anyone else who has been caught out in this way.
His daughter Anita first told me the story. “Instead of having to queue up, the Halifax gives you a key to do a direct deposit in the bank’s safe. Then we got a letter saying there was a discrepancy. There was £2,000 missing from each deposit four times in one-and-a-half weeks. The bank says that it’s our fault, even though we always double-check. Dad is sick over this.”
PayPoint has suspended his account saying this is the
first time it has come across such a case.
However, Nimish Patel who runs Shiraz Food & Wine in nearby Greenwich, also lost £3,000 that he had deposited to cover PayZone and Lottery monies owed at around the same time in July and at the same branch.
Both retailers have reported it to the police and to the Financial Ombudsman. I rang the Halifax’s press office which has promised to look into it. I asked if the internal cameras get switched off at any point because clearly somebody, somewhere has had the money.
Naresh, who has been in retailing for 25 years, says: “It’s got to be internal. The deposit slot is inside the bank. You can miscount ten or twenty pounds, but not thousands. This is not even our money – it’s our suppliers’ money. Four times has got to be planned.”
If you have ever heard of a similar case anywhere, please get in touch.