Until a bank has actual notice of a customer’s death, the customer’s account operates as usual as if the customer is still alive. It was not disputed that the bank had not been advised of Vijay’s father’s death when his aunt had withdrawn the funds, and so the bank was able to act on the instruction to withdraw funds from the account.
It was clear, however, that Vijay’s father had not authorised the withdrawal and the terms and conditions of his account said he would not be liable for any loss resulting from an unauthorised withdrawal unless he had acted dishonestly or negligently or had failed to take reasonable steps to protect his banking details. Information supplied by the bank showed the withdrawal had been authorised after correct entry of Vijay’s father’s internet banking credentials and password, along with a code generated on a physical token that had been issued to Vijay’s father as additional security for his accounts. This token needed a PIN to gain access to it. It was clear to us the aunt not only had his internet banking details and password but also the physical token and access PIN – all indicating he had either given these to her or not kept them secure. Either scenario was a breach of the account’s terms and conditions. The bank was not therefore liable for the loss resulting from the withdrawal.
We did not uphold the complaint.Print this page