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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Hi, I have a scenario where I bank with Santander and they

Resolved Question:

Hi, I have a scenario where I bank with Santander and they have frozen my account and raised a fraud flag on the account.
What has happened is my dad travelled on holiday last year with a large group of people and following a flight cancellation, they were entitled to compensation. My dad was the primary claimant and gained authority to handle on everyones behalf and finally received a large amount of compensation for around 14 people. My dad asked it to be paid into my account to keep it separate from his own money and because he was overdrawn, where as I use my account much less.
Once he received the confirmation they were due compensation he has contacted his friend in the travel industry who has gotten a quote for another trip for the same passengers later this year.
Once the compensation was received, we tried to transfer the money onto his friend who was going to make the booking and that is when the money was stopped.
We have provided written evidence from the airline of the amount of money that was paid, when and the settlement references to confirm it is legitimate money. We have provided my id and proof of address, and my dads ID and proof of address. My dad went into the branch with the letter of confirmation from the airline and was told ok that's fine, once you bring the account holder in (me) we will lift the freeze.
We have now both been in and they have now said as there is a fraud flag on the account it needs to be passed to the fraud team and my account remains frozen!!
Is this normal or should they not have been able to lift the freeze at the branch?
It's all getting very stressful and it's now been a week and 4 different visits to the branch to sort this out!
What is it the fraud department will be doing that the branch couldn't? It's all been proven to be legitimate money and the purpose of the transfer legitimate?!
Thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.
Alex Watts : Had you notified the bank in advance please?
Customer:

No the bank wasn't notified in advance as I have never had to do anything like this before so didn't know I needed to.

Alex Watts :

What was the amount please?

Customer:

The amount to transfer was £7135

Alex Watts :

And you don't use the account that often? What is the usual balance?

Customer:

I do use the account often but to be honest not with vast sums, normally only up to £500 or so. I totally understand what's happened initially and why it has flagged up, I'm just confused with why it is taking so long to resolve it when I've provided everything needed

Alex Watts :

That is why they have stopped it.

Alex Watts :

If you do not really use the account very often and you had not notified them in advance, clearly this set off alarm bells.

Alex Watts :

However the payment is one you are receiving for someone else - this makes matters worse.

Alex Watts :

This is actually money laundering

Alex Watts :

You are not a Claimant nor a party to the original dispute.

Alex Watts :

Therefore you are simply allowing your account to be used for funds that do not belong to you - this is money laundering and a criminal offence.

Alex Watts :

You need to co-operate with the fraud team. The branch staff will not be able to over ride the fraud team.

Alex Watts :

What you should do is write to the bank and set out your position

Customer:

Oh my god really? My dad asked me to do him a favour and I am now going to be in trouble?

Alex Watts :

If they do not respond or you are unhappy with the response then you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman.

Alex Watts :

Their website is: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Are you saying that the Fraud team are going to take action against me even when I didn't know I was doing anything wrong? I am really scared now! The way the branch explained it was they were concerned I was being used as a mule for money laundering or something but it was my dad and I gave him permission? I just don't understand

Alex Watts :

Not necessarily they will take action, but clearly they need to investigate the matter.

Alex Watts :

You should write to the bank, set out all your position and enclose all the documents.

Alex Watts :

It makes no difference whether or not you knew what you were doing, the fact it you allowed your account to be used for monies not intended for you.

Alex Watts :

But set out the position and explain the situation

Customer:

We already have set out the position and the situation which is what has been passed to the Fraud team along with the confirmation confirming the funds etc. Are you saying we need to write as well or do we wait to hear from them?

Alex Watts :

Yes you should WRITE to the head office or fraud team if you have the address

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

I am sorry for the delay, I'm just in shock at the thought that I have committed a criminal offence when it is all completely above board. Thank you for your answers though, even if they haven't been reassuring.

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