Russell Alexander says he  had planned to use the money on renovations for a doer-up house that he purchased.
Russell Alexander says he had planned to use the money on renovations for a doer-up house that he purchased.

A 54-YEAR-OLD handyman from Norfolk, UK bought a house, using his savings, after money was mistakenly credited into his account and he was incorrectly told he could keep it.

He intended to use the windfall to renovate the house.

Russell Alexander was startled to find £30 000 (R632 215,64) mysteriously lodged in his bank account in December last year.

According to reports, the bank realised the mistake nine months after the cash started appearing in Alexander's account.

Over time, more strange payments started to appear – leading the handyman, of Sutton, Norfolk, to contact Barclays, who incorrectly told him the money was his to keep.

The bank has now ordered the 54-year-old to pay it all back.

After he queried the deposits, he claimed a bank worker told him a few weeks later that he could spend the money as it looked like direct inheritance funds.

According to the Daily Mail, the bank admitted that the money was transferred by another person erroneously and that Russell was "incorrectly advised that he could keep the funds".

They were able to get back the money from the man's account as he left its equivalent there along with some extra cash. The bank has gone on to offer him £500 (R10 420) as compensation.


In June, he used his own savings to buy a £237 500 (R4 994 601,25) doer-upper new home and kept the £110 000 (R2 315 195,84) windfall to one side, expecting to use it to fund extensive repairs before opening the property as a B&B.

But in September, a former customer of Alexander's revealed they were the accidental benefactor and Barclays took the money back out of Alexander's account.

A dumbfounded Alexander said: "I never would have bought [the house] if I didn't have the extra money. Barclays have stolen my future plans and left me living like a stowaway."

He added: "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."

"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."

Alexander blames the bank and said he's now 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 Alexander was "incorrectly advised that he could keep the funds".

A shocked Alexander added that he was "totally outraged" at the bank's offer of £500 (R10 420) compensation.

He said: "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."

Mr Alexander is himself a former B&B owner and ran a hotel business with his ex-fiancee, who he split up with in March last year.

He says the debacle around his finances began on December 29, 2020, when a mysterious payment of £30,000 (R632 215,64) landed into his account, with the reference 'last of mum's' - which meant nothing to the handyman.

On January 15, he received further payments of £30 000 (R632 215,64) and £777 (R16 352,24).

At this time, he queried the sums with Barclays and a few weeks later, a bank worker called to say the transfers looked like direct inheritance payments to him and he could spend it.


Five months later, Mr Alexander used his own money from a property sale to buy a £237,500 (R4 994 601,25) doer-upper new home. He said he kept the pot of mystery cash aside to fund the extensive repairs.

Alexander moved into his project house on June 23. 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 (R1 052 088,27) landed in his account in August - bringing the total mystery payment up to £110,000 (R2 315 195,84).

But in September a customer of Alexander's former business rang him up and confessed he'd been the one to accidentally give the money to him and Barclays took the £110 000 back.

The bank mistakenly took an extra £6 000 (R126 448,45) of Alexander's own money, which was later reimbursed.

Alexander called Barclays who confirmed they had made a mistake and offered him £500 (R10 420) compensation, he said.

"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. After giving me nine months of false hope, their £500 (R10 420) compensation is a total insult. They make billions of pounds a year.

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 (R632 215,64) 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.

Voting Booth
With the high rate of GBV in Mzansi, is there anything to celebrate this Women's day?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
No, there is nothing to celebrate.
52% - 45 votes
Yes, we have a lot to celebrate.
35% - 30 votes
I don't know.
13% - 11 votes
Let us know what you think

Contact the People’s Paper with feedback on stories and how we could make even better!

Learn more
Do you have a story for the People’s Paper?

Click below to contact our news desk and share your story with SunLand!

Let's do it!