I have a horror story related to the way a receiving UK bank (Shabby, sorry - Abbey, National) dealt with a transfer from France to UK when there was a typo in the IBAN code.
1. I requested a transfer from BNP Paribas to my daughter-in-law's Abbey National account.
2. Two days later, I received a statement from BNP Paribas indicating that the transfer had taken place, but noting that the IBAN code did not match the a/c number (the last few digits of UK IBAN codes replicate the a/c number). My local BNP branch told me not to worry - the transfer had been accepted, so the receiver must be satisfied that the recipient's name and address plus her bank branch code and a/c number were sufficient (only the last digit in the IBAN code was wrong).
3. BNP Paribas transmitted the IBAN code correction 3 days after the original transfer.
4. For the next 8 days, no funds arrived in the target account, and Abbey National head office staff insisted that if there were a mismatch they would not have accepted the transfer. They also said they could not trace the transfer using the details on my BNP Paribas statement (date, amount, IBAN code with erroneous last digit, branch and account details, customer name and address). They insisted that the only solution was for BNP Paribas to send a SWIFT message requesting a trace.
5. On the 10th day, the Abbey National branch said they had received notification of the transfer and had just reversed it a short while before my daughter-in-law called, because the IBAN code did not match the account details. They said there was nothing they could do about it - 'it's all automated'.
I e-mailed BCSB helpline, who gave me the following useful response:
The banking codes do not cover the precise problem you have. I recommend that you contact our sponsor organisation, APACS, on 020 7711 6259, or at www.apacs.org.uk
as they are the trade association for payments in the UK and, I believe, will be able to tell you what the correct procedure would have been in the circumstances you describe.
Regarding how to make a complaint, the formal internal complaints procedure exists to enable customers of the relevant financial institution to obtain redress, and, as you say, you are not a customer. You may have a legal right to make a claim against Abbey as a third party if you can show that the bank owes a duty to you and if you have suffered loss as a result of an error on the part of the bank, but that falls outside any banking code provision. You must seek legal advice on this. Alternatively the intended recipient of the transfer funds, the account holder, should follow the internal complaints procedure.
Meanwhile, I'm waiting for the money to arrive back in my account before transferring it to my son's BoS account instead....
My daughter-in-law's boss has said their company will lend her the GBP4,000 so that they can pay the caterers for their wedding next week. Working for an enthusiastic small company can sometimes be wonderful.