Couple left without money after bank told them they were both DEAD

‘My wife isn’t deceased, she’s in the front room!’ Couple were left without money for weeks after their bank told them they were both DEAD

  • Ben Gibson, 63, was stunned after being told by the bank that his wife was dead
  • He then came home to his wife Gill reading condolence letters for his own death
  • Couple ‘furious’ over amount of time they have had to spend trying to fix error
  • Mrs Gibson said her ‘mental health is in tatters’ from the ‘nightmare’ ordeal 

A husband and wife were left without access to any money for weeks after both being told by their bank that the other was dead.

Ben Gibson, 63, was ‘furious’ after being told that his 65-year-old wife Gill was dead when he called the bank up about a card problem.

But just weeks later, he came home to find his wife looking at letters of condolence for his own death. 

Mr Gibson has been left infuriated with the amount of time he has had to spend trying to fix the problem with the couple’s bank, Halifax, who has launched a probe but are unable to workout how the error occurred.

The caterer, from Stratford-upon-Avon, said: ‘The guy on the phone said, ‘Excuse me sir but your wife has deceased’. I said, ‘No she’s in the front room – do you want to speak to her?’.

‘I’m furious about it. I dread to think how much time I’ve spent on this – hours and hours.

‘It has been an absolute nightmare. We’ve had to rebuild our entire financial life and that’s not easy.

The Gibsons (pictured) have described the experience of both being told that the other had died

Ben Gibson, 63, was initially told by the couple’s bank that his wife Gill was dead when he tried to order her a replacement card

The couple have been with Halifax for decades but the bank, part of Lloyds, do not know how the error occurred. Pictured: Halifax in Bridge Street, Stratford-upon-Avon – where the couple live

‘It’s been a constant worry. It’s horrible, and it’s been going on for a long time.’

Mrs Gibson, a teaching assistant, had gone to the bank on August 15 to replace her card that had stopped working while she was shopping.

The same thing happened to her husband just a week later, prompting him also to order a replacement.

However, while Mr Gibson’s arrived within a few days, there was still no sign of his wife’s.

After calling the bank – who they have been with for decades – to find out what was going on, he was told that his wife has passed away.

Despite staff chatting with Mrs Gibson and agreeing she was alive, the account remained frozen and the grandparents-of-four had to go through the bereavement team before they could get any of their money.

More problems then followed when Mr Gibson returned home to find his shaken wife looking over letters at their dining table on September 24.

The post, addressed to the executors of Ben’s estate from the DVLA and his car insurers, explained the bank had stopped payments to them – because he was dead.

The letter from the DVLA said: ‘We have been advised that the bank account in the name of Benjamin Gibson has been closed due to the death of the account holder. Please accept my condolences.’

After Mr Gibson was told his wife was dead, he then came home weeks later to find Mrs Gibson looking at letters of condolence for his own death

Mrs Gibson has been severely impacted by the ordeal. She said: ‘This whole thing has been a total nightmare. I would like to know who can inflict this on anyone – my mental health is in tatters.

‘Ben has worked tirelessly to try and sort this out.

‘When Ben told me the Halifax operator said I was deceased and wanted to speak to me I was numbed and shocked it was if the stuffing had been knocked out of me.

‘I still feel like that.’

The parents-of-three say they have since had to reopen numerous accounts.

And although the DVLA and car insurance was sorted quickly, Mr Gibson explained he was still reinstating cancelled payments in and out of the account at the end of September.

The bank explained to him that an external agency had declared Mrs Gibson dead, but no reasons was offered for his own apparent demise, he said.

Mrs Gibson’s ‘mental health is in tatters’ after she was left feeling ‘numbed’ and ‘shocked’ by the error

‘To be fair, the lady at the bereavement service was mortified,’ Mr Gibson said.

‘There are websites where you can go and say someone has died, all you need is to say where they bank, you don’t even need the account number.

‘They’re meant to help relatives after someone has died, but the bank should have some way of verifying the information.

‘This could have been malicious, it’s actually very scary. We’re fortunate to have a little put to one side in another account, but what if we didn’t.

‘Not everyone has friends or family they can borrow from.’

The couple say they were paid £300 in compensation on September 12 and a further £200 on October 3.

Halifax is part of the Lloyds Banking Group. A Lloyds spokesperson said: ‘We’re really sorry for the upsetting experience Mr and Mrs Gibson had and we are urgently investigating how this happened.

‘We have removed the block from their account and made a payment in recognition of their experience.’

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