A retired ST Andrews businessman has claimed that one very fortunate customer of the Royal Bank of Scotland is celebrating an unexpected four-figure cash windfall - money he says belongs to him.
The local resident is now in dispute with the bank over the missing cash, which HM Revenue and Customs say was paid into his bank account.
Unfortunately, he alleges it was deposited into an account he closed some years earlier and which he maintains has since been re-issued to a new RBS customer.
The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Citizen in an exclusive interview: ”In November, HMRC sent a tax refund to my old personal account at the RBS in St Andrews which I had closed years ago in favour of a joint account.
“HMRC say the money has not been returned by the bank so they, perhaps understandably, say there is nothing they can, or will, do about it.
“Tellers at the bank have told me it is their policy to give old account numbers to new customers, although management refuse to either confirm or deny this. However, someone has my money.
“At all times I have found RBS to have been particularly uncaring and unhelpful, initially saying it was my fault and there was nothing they were prepared to do.
“After a lot of pressure from me they have now finally said they would only act if HMRC approached them directly, even though I have repeatedly advised them HM Revenue and Customs will have no more to do with it as the money has not been returned to them and is in the bank somewhere.”
The man contacted Fife Police in the hope they could help.
He added:”I was told that if someone has received an unexpected tax refund which is not theirs, but they did not actively solicit it, then they cannot act as it is a civil matter between the bank and the tax office.
”So, I have ‘lost’ a four-figure sum thanks to the Royal Bank of Scotland refusing to help.”
The man wrote to RBS headquarters expressing his unhappiness with the service he had received, and a letter from a member of its customer services department said that his complaint was being “fully investigated.”
Then, in a further phone call to his home a few days ago, an RBS official said that the matter had been discussed with its legal department.
The resident said: ”She told me there was nothing RBS could or would do to retrieve my money. Again, she refused to confirm or deny if the bank re-issued old account numbers or even suggest what had happened - thus proving that they do have that practice and someone is sitting on my money.
“She said they had to hear from HMRC if they were to act. I have told them several times that HMRC hadrepeatedly, and separately, told me and my accountant that the money was banked at RBS so it was not their problem.
“The moral of this must be that if you find an unexpected million pounds in your account, go out and spend it.”
The Citizen contacted RBS headquarters in London and spokeswoman Amy Pickerill said: ”The person needs to contact HMRC to advise them if the funds he was due did not arrive. It is for HMRC to establish what happened to the funds, and ensure they arrived at the intended destination.
‘‘We will be happy to work with HMRC to resolve this, and await their contact.”