Bank offers $15,000 for failing to block previous owners from company’s accounts

Privacy & confidentiality,
Peyton bought a business in December 2020. In June 2022, the previous owners contacted Peyton's bank to say they had discovered their internet banking still gave them access to the accounts of the business. The bank realised it had failed to correctly de-link them from the accounts in December 2020.
July 2023

Peyton complained that this mistake had given the previous owners access to a lot of sensitive information, which they might use to mount a hostile takeover of his business when the restraint-of-trade period expired in their sale and purchase agreement.

Our investigation

We examined the information potentially available to the previous owners, but the bank could not say whether they had actually accessed any of this information. However, the bank acknowledged it had made an error that had caused Peyton to suffer – and continue to suffer – serious stress and inconvenience.

We explained to Peyton that we could recommend compensation for actual financial loss only, not potential financial loss. The previous owners had yet to act on any information they might have accessed, so any loss remained unrealised until they did so. We did, however, recognise that the bank’s error had caused considerable stress.

The bank offered Peyton $15,000 to resolve his complaint. It also gave him a statement from the previous owners saying they had accessed the accounts only on the day they had notified the bank.


Peyton accepted the bank's offer of $15,000.

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