Abbey National Told Me I Was Dead TWICE! They Stopped My Account and When I Complained They Tried to Silence Me with a Paltry Offer of Pounds 750

The People (London, England), January 26, 2003 | Go to article overview
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Abbey National Told Me I Was Dead TWICE! They Stopped My Account and When I Complained They Tried to Silence Me with a Paltry Offer of Pounds 750


Byline: JOE DORAN

AN Ulster mother told of her despair last night after a bank insisted she was dead - TWICE.

In a story set to shock thousands of bank account holders, fibromyalgia sufferer, Mary Scott had to convince the Abbey National she was still alive.

Emotionally fragile Mary also told The People how the Abbey National:

Stopped her account

Slapped a confidentiality clause on a compensation offer just before going into court.

Two weeks ago, the Belfast woman was left gutted after a judge threw out her claim for negligence.

Dismissing the case of Mary Scott v Abbey National Plc he ruled there was no evidence linking the bank's massive errors and Mrs Scott's ill health.

But almost four years on from the start of her ordeal the Andersonstown woman insists the bank's major blunders have taken a huge toll on her health.

"They use the phrase 'because life's complicated enough'.

"They've certainly complicated my life and ruined my life," she said.

Tearful Mary described how it all started on April 17, 1998 during a family holiday in Newcastle, Co Down.

"When I went to withdraw cash the machine told me I had made an invalid transaction.

"Penniless, we had to make our way back to Belfast," she said.

Back home a furious Mary contacted her Abbey National Branch in Belfast demanding an explanation.

They blamed her cash card and said they would send her a new one.

But as she awaited its arrival, a letter from insurance company, Mastercare, arrived on May 7 at her Commedagh Drive home.

Expressing sorrow to Mary's executors for their sad loss, the letter demanded an outstanding balance of pounds 76.30 for a policy on a Hi Fi be paid.

When upset Mary contacted Mastercare they told her bank had put a Code 2 on her account, which meant she was no longer alive.

Stressed and emotionally drained, Mary contacted Abbey National demanding answers.

She was told a clerk in their Glasgow branch had made the huge blunder.

Days later an apologetic customer service manager assured Mary the Code 2 had been removed and her direct debits restored.

But soon afterwards the Scott family received a letter from insurance giant Prudential.

It said a direct debit on a life insurance policy had been cancelled on April 17.

"We couldn't believe it. Abbey National told us our mandates were back in place when they weren't.

"We got very worried and this all began to have a terrible affect on Mary's health," said husband Colm.

Finally, after months of endless phone calls, letters stopped arriving and the Scott family were convinced their nightmare was over.

The family contacted their solicitor after Mary, whose health started to worsen, was prescribed anti depressants for the first time in her eight-year illness.

Fibromyalgia is classed as a collection of symtoms rather than a specific disease process.

Besides pain & fatigue, symtoms often include unrefreshing sleep, waking up tired and stiff, widespread pain for more than three months together with pain in at least 11 of 18 specific tender point sites when they are pressed.

Patients suffer headaches, memory and concentration problems, numbness and it often leaves them feeling depressed.

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