Bank offers $500 over incorrectly addressed statement

Privacy & confidentiality,
Tani gave her new address details when opening a savings account, but the bank mailed her first account statement to her old address because of a technical glitch.
March 2013

A friend living at Tani’s former address opened the statement. Tani felt embarrassed because her friend had recently asked her for a loan. She had refused, saying she didn’t have enough money to help him out. By seeing Tani’s account balance, her friend now knew this statement was untrue.

Our investigation

Tani was upset the friendship had been damaged. She blamed the bank and came to us seeking compensation for the breach of her privacy.

We explained to Tani that it was her friend who had acted incorrectly by opening and reading mail that wasn’t his. The Postal Services Act 1998 makes it an offence for a person to wilfully, and without reasonable excuse, open mail not addressed to him or her. He ought to have redirected the mail back to the bank.


The bank offered Tani $500 compensation for the stress and inconvenience it had caused by failing to send the statement to the correct address. We said the offer was reasonable and suggested she accept it, which she did.

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