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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2850
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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Hello, In March I made a wrong online money transference:

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In March I made a wrong online money transference: instead of sending £250 to my ISA account, I sent it to someone else's account.

The mistake was mine, cause I entered the wrong sort code.

I contacted my bank (HSBC) and after a lot of pestering, they claimed they sent a letter to the beneficiary of my wrong transfer, and also tried to contact him/her by phone, but the beneficiary has not replied.

I contacted the ombudsman to look into the matter, and he said that HSBC has done everything it was in its power.

I contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau and they told me there is not much I can do to get my money back.

However, I understand that if a person receives funds into his/her account by mistake, and fails to return it, he/she is committing a crime.

My question is: is there anything I can do to recover my money? I understand that HSBC can do nothing about it, but can I sue the beneficiary? HSBC would not reveal his/her identity unless required by the court I believe.

Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you

Kind regards

My name is***** and I'm happy to help with your question today.

It would be difficult to prove the beneficiary has committed a crime because the mistake was yours, not theirs. They had no part to play in the transfer itself and there is no evidence of dishonesty on their part.

However, you can sue them on the grounds of unjust enrichment.

In legal terms this is a general equitable principle "...that no person should be allowed to profit at another's expense without making restitution for the reasonable value of any property, services, or other benefits that have been unfairly received and retained..."

In simple terms no person is allowed to profit from your mistake.

You can issue the proceedings in the County Court but before doing so make an application for pre-action disclosure from the bank for name and address of the beneficiary. Once you have the other person details you can write to them and if your money is not returned you can sue them.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Alex,


Thank you for your reply.


Do I need a lawyer to issue the proceedings in the County Court? or can I do it myself?


Also, the bank claims they would not reveal the name and address of the beneficiary unless required by the court. How should I approach them? Do I need to do this through a lawyer?


This application for pre-action disclosure from the bank you mention, do I deal with it with the bank or with the County Court?


Thank you again and I look forward to hearing from you


Kind regards



No problem.

You do not need a lawyer for this - the expense would be too great and wipe out your claim.

You should write to the bank (again!) asking for the beneficiary's details. If they fail to do this you can make an application to the court against the bank for pre-action disclosure.

The application is made on form N244 (see below) and you will need to explain the basis of your potential claim. You can say that the bank is a potential party to the claim and that you require documentary evidence of the beneficiary's details.

The judge will consider your application and providing you satisfy the above will consider an order for disclosure of the documents you reasonably request.

The form can be found here:

You can issue the application at your local county court:

Details of the court fee can be found here:

I hope this assists.

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