If it seems too good to be true, it probably is


The Complainants received an unexpected payment into their account. They did not know who had made the payment and contacted their Bank to ascertain this.


Despite numerous follow-ups, the Complainants’ Bank was unable to advise them who had made the payment and referred them to the third-party Bank. The paying Bank was also unable to assist the Complainants.


A month after the payment had been received, the paying Bank contacted the Complainants and advised them that the payment had in fact been made in error by the paying Bank itself. The paying Bank then demanded that the Complainants repay the funds. The Complainants were unable to make payment as they had by then utilised some of the funds.


Upon investigation it appears that the error was a bona fide human error on the part of the paying Bank. The Complainants had the use and enjoyment of the funds which they were not entitled to. The Complainants were unjustifiably enriched, and the paying Bank was legally entitled to repayment of the amount in question.


This office was of the view, however, that the paying Bank should not be entitled to charge the Complainants interest and other fees in respect of the repayment of this amount. The payment was made in error and the paying Bank cannot benefit from its error. The Bank in question agreed and requested the Complainants to enter into a payment arrangement only for the repayment of the amount that was paid in error.


PRINCIPLE:  If you utilise funds that were not due and payable to you, you will be held liable for the repayment of those funds.


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