Santander has pulled a dramatic U-turn and donated more than £3,000 to a cancer charity after British musician Paul Hardcastle threatened to send bailiffs to its head office.
Mr Hardcastle contacted This is Money after cash seemingly went missing from his son’s historic savings account for which he held the passbook.
The 80s hit maker was set to put the bailiffs onto the high street bank after £2,906.85 vanished from the account, which still showed the balance in the passbook.
Victory! Paul Hardcastle battled Santander – and the high street giant has sent a £3,011 cheque to charity picked by the musician after his son’s best friend tragically passed away
He had issued a court judgement against Santander after not accepting its response over the dormant account opened for his son, Paul Junior in 1991, by Paul Senior’s mother Joyce with the bank, which was then Abbey National.
Like thousands of others accounts saved for children’s futures, the money was left untouched for a number of years.
When they decided to withdraw the funds from the account, it transpired that two withdrawals had been made a number of years earlier – one for £500 and the other for £2,400.
The account terms state that the maximum withdrawal from the account without a passbook is £500 – and Mr Hardcastle is adamant it has been in his possession for the entire time.
The last time the Hardcastles had taken money from the account was in February 2008, when Paul Junior passed his driving test and £5,000 was withdrawn to purchase a car.
At the time, Paul Senior withdrew the money using the passbook and his driving licence and credit card as ID, being the trustee on the account.
However, in December 2016 and wanting to withdraw the rest, it transpired that two withdrawals had been made in the interim.
Red book: Paul, the trustee on the account, says he has been in possession of the passbook the entire time it has been open
Mr Hardcastle, who is now chairman of record label NUA Entertainment, has sold 20million records and re-released his landmark track ’19’ in 2015 to raise funds for British soldiers.
Mr Hardcastle said: ‘I believe fraud had taken place. I was told Santander would have to locate either the signature used or that CCTV would be a way of them finding out more information.’
Santander said that due to the significant time that had passed since these withdrawals, it no longer had access to evidence such as CCTV or the signature used.
The case was taken to the Financial Ombudsman who adjudicated in Santander’s favour, largely because of the time that had elapsed.
But shortly after our story, Mr Hardcastle was contacted by the Santander complaints team to say it was donating money to the charity he had chosen as a ‘means of resolving a complaint’.
Mr Hardcastle had previously stated that it wasn’t about the money, but the principle – and that when he and if he received the cash back, it would be donated to charity.
A cheque for £3,011.85 has gone to Teens Unite Fighting Cancer, based in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire – an extra £105, or 3.6 per cent interest, on the missing amount.
The charity in a letter to Paul, said: ‘We want to say a huge thank you for thinking of Teens Unite when resolving your complaint with Santander.
‘The £3,011.85 will help us support more young people. Your continued support means such a lot.’
Robbie Lee Raymond: Paul has donated the money to Teens Unite Fighting Cancer
The charity is close to Paul’s heart.
His youngest son, Ritchie, lost one of his best friend’s to leukaemia in February – Robbie Lee Raymond.
Mr Hardcastle said: ‘Robbie was one of the nicest young men you could ever meet and I am glad that after this long-running saga with Santander, the money has gone to a fantastic cause.
‘I’d like to thank the This is Money readers and my followers on social media for their support and it highlights that the threat of taking big banking boys to court is worthwhile.
‘Santander contacted me and were apologetic about not responding to my court judgement, claiming it hadn’t seen it – I think that’s what swung it in the end.’
It is not clear what made decision makers at Santander change their mind – whether it was the threat of court and bailiffs, and the potential publicity this would have created, or whether new information came to light.
This is Money outlined the case last month and indicated that Paul wanted to donate the money to charity – and also the fact it was unlikely he would put up such a fight if he wasn’t sure the money hadn’t vanished without his knowledge.
A spokesman had said in our original story: ‘Mr Hardcastle first raised the issue around his son’s account in December 2016 when we investigated and found no evidence of negligence or fraudulent activity.’
This is Money contacted the bank for comment on its change of stance and whether evidence of negligence or fraudulent activity were found upon further investigation.
It said that the donation is not an admission that it believes it was at fault.
A Santander spokesman added: ‘Following discussions with Mr Hardcastle we agreed that the best way to resolve this dispute was to donate a sum of £3,011.85 to charity.’