Belfast Telegraph

Man sent £1,200 cheque in error from health service told 'bank it'

The man refused to lodge the cheque in his account.
The man refused to lodge the cheque in his account.

A Northern Ireland man has spoken of his disbelief after he tried to return a cheque for £1,200 mistakenly sent to him by the Health Service and was instead told to bank the money.

Enniskillen man Neil - who asked not to be fully identified - said "out of the blue" he received a cheque in his name in the post from the Department of Health's Business Services Organisation back in January.

After a number of calls staff were unable to explain what the money was for, only that apparently he had paid them and was due a refund.

After contacting the BBC Stephen Nolan show to tell of his experience, someone eventually was able to get in touch with him on Tuesday to explain the money was intended for someone else and sent to him in error.

They were unable to explain how they had got his address given he said he had "no connection at all" with the department concerned. The Department of Health has begun a review into the matter.

"I was told to just bank the money and if it came up on their system it was missing they would be back asking for it," Neil told the Belfast Telegraph.

He rang around the health service but was unable to get answers. He tried his bank and even contacted the police who interviewed him about it. He thought the letter itself could be an attempted scam.

"I was not putting it in my account," he added, "I was could not have lived with that over me. I was for throwing it in the bin."

The 51-year-old painter said to him it was a big deal of money and didn't think the health service could "throw money about".

"Plus there might have been someone out there who was waiting on that money."

It was only after contacting the BBC's Stephen Nolan that someone got in touch to apologise and partially explain what happened.

"I don't understand why - after ringing around so many people - it took Stephen Nolan to get answers. You have to wonder how many people this has happened to."

In a statement the Department of Heath said: "The Business Service Organisation (BSO) has been in direct contact with the person concerned to offer an apology for any inconvenience caused and to acknowledge and thank him for the efforts he personally made to bring this to the attention of the relevant organisation.

"The Business Service Organisation has also commissioned a review of its current protocols.”


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