Customer Deposit Got My Bank Accounts Frozen!!!

Business By 60sBunny Updated 12 May 2010 , 6:35pm by 60sBunny

60sBunny Posted 11 May 2010 , 11:07am
post #1 of 34

excuse me if this goes off into a rambling screaming rant but I have seldom been so hacked off.
Essentially I have doubts over receiving money directly into my account from a Bride.
I've had a terrible week, hospital visits, house break in, and to top it all off my bank accounts have been frozen.

A bride put a measly £43 into my account and my banks has frozen all of my accounts, including my personal account. They wont tell me why, just that they have the right to. No-one called me to tell me there was a problem, the first I knew was logging in online to check my balances, I have since had to provide about a million documents to them, including asking the bride to confirm she was paying me for a wedding cake. She let slip at the time that she was having problems with her account, the bank also let slip that there were a number of accounts involved in my issue, both quickly back tracked.

I am angry at my bank and will complain to them till I am blue in the face, and I will get a written apology for my treatment.

But with regards to the bride, her wedding is not until Dec 10, this will be long blown over (I hope, i really really hope) I will have a different bank thats for sure.
Would you accept payment in any form except cash for the remaining balance? I havent done anything wrong, and I know theres a chance her troubles are nothing to do with her either. But I can't take the risk of having all access to my money withdrawn for nearly a week just before Christmas. But I risk losing business by insulting her.

I know anger and upset have a lot to do with my being distrustful, but when it first happened I was quite determined to cut off my nose to spite my face and cancel her order all together, thankfully I came to my senses and realised that that was just plain bad business and bad manners. But I have to protect my business interests and my family. I have bills to pay on a home as well as a business.

Any advise greatly received, on protecting myself from this in the future, complaining to banks, how to deal with the bride, rage calming activities (off to archery tonight to take fristrations out on some poor unsuspecting baloons)


33 replies
foxymomma521 Posted 11 May 2010 , 11:23am
post #2 of 34

It's no harder for her to take cash out of the bank and put it in your hand. Cash or no cake. I'm so sorry you are having such a horrible week icon_sad.gif

mazz Posted 11 May 2010 , 11:27am
post #3 of 34

Hi, I am so sorry for everything you have been going thru. I really hope things work out for you real soon.
I'm not sure I am clear about you saying that "I have doubts over receiving money directly into my account from a Bride". I would not let anyone have access to my bank account directly - if that is what you are saying
But if you mean there was a problem with her check then my suggestion would be to always cash the check at their bank. This way it will clear automatically. If you deposit it in your account the banks here have up to 7 days before it officially clears the system and it can bounce at any time if there is not enought funding on the brides part. I have never heard of freezing someone's account over a check problem. Hope you figure out what is going on and get it resolved soon.
My positive thoughts are with you.

cakemom42 Posted 11 May 2010 , 11:30am
post #4 of 34

When all is calm down & you are settled in thought.. I am sure you will come up with a creative resolve to this. When things go wrong is when you become your most creative in solutions...

On the direct deposit side: there are too many scams in this world and I would never let anyone do this... it could cost my hiusband his career if something like this were to happen & no cake is worth it.... I would also say your home your, business, the stress this has caused is not worth it either...

On the wedding cake side: do you really have to have this wedding.. I personally would drop her or charge WAY MORE for all the trouble she has caused...

Lastly & sadly banks all over the world can shut your accounts down w/out notice... it happened recently to my-sister-in -law after 30 yrs of doing business with a bank.. (My brother in law died & it was a joint account) still after 30 years you'd think the bank would take care of her in a time like this... nope... needless to say she has a new bank now..

60sBunny Posted 11 May 2010 , 11:44am
post #5 of 34

Thanks for the replies and support so far.

The reason I offer my customers the choice to deposit into my business account is because a lot of places in the UK won't even accept cheques any more. I don't even have a cheque book for my regular bank account.

I will check with my bank manager though if this is ok, I am used to working with much bigger companies and we do all of our payments and receipts like this, maybe I am thinking too big.

Melnick Posted 11 May 2010 , 11:46am
post #6 of 34

I assume you are talking about a direct deposit? I think I would keep going up the chain until I found someone that would talk to me. If you make a call, make a note of the person's name and if they can't help you, ask to speak to their manager/team leader. Keep going up until you get someone willing to speak to you. I assume it is like Aus where they record your phone calls for 'quality and training purposes' but if you have a list of names it will help. If they hang up on you or won't help, call back and don't give any details, just ask for the details of their manager/team leader.

I would get the facts and I would talk to the bank about their feelings about allowing brides to direct deposit into your account. Is it possible that money has been taken from your accounts and a number of others and the bank is investigating? I know a bank error once resulted in $600 being withdrawn from my account. I nearly had heart failure. They fixed it but I don't know how they made a mistake - my aunt (works in the bank in another city) found out that the error was made in a branch and was given to someone who walked in.

I think you would be more than within your rights to tell the bride that you have had to modify your policies since this incident. Or it might be worth establishing an account solely for direct deposits which you could then transfer into your business account?

GuinnessTigger Posted 11 May 2010 , 11:51am
post #7 of 34

I agree that accepting cash only from the bride for the remaining balance would be appropriate in this situation. If you are unsure the cause, I'm sure she would understand if you explain to her that you understand this may be outside of her control, but in order to protect your family you would like to get the balance in cash. I'm sure she could just as easily take out the cash.

I'm sorry you are having such a bad week. Hopefully things will look up for you soon!

endymion Posted 11 May 2010 , 12:14pm
post #8 of 34

I would be very wary of allowing anyone to directly deposit money into my account (except via PayPal, or something similar.) It would appear (to observers of the account's activity) to be kind of "fishy" -- if it happens very often and is never the same person depositing, it begins to look to the bank like a money laundering account or something!

Also, it must compromise the security of your account, because wouldn't these brides need your account identification in order to deposit money into it?

Forgive me if I am misunderstanding anything in the situation. I don't think there is any harm in asking for cash or traveler's checks from the bride in question.

dldbrou Posted 11 May 2010 , 1:05pm
post #9 of 34

One thing that my husband does if his client gives him a check is to go to their band and cash the check. You will know automatically if the check is good. At that point you can request cash or no cake.

leah_s Posted 11 May 2010 , 1:08pm
post #10 of 34

I was also going to suggest PayPal. The brides deposit $ to PayPal and then I transfer the $ into my account.

Peridot Posted 11 May 2010 , 1:28pm
post #11 of 34

I work in a bank as an administrative assistant for an upper executive managment person - SVP/director. Just remember "shit runs down hill". You just keep going up the ladder until you get results. Everyone reports to someone, even the top CEO reports to the Board of Directors. The teller reports to a branch manager and that manager reports probably to a district manager and then up the ladder you go to a regional manager, etc.

I would not stop until you get what you want and if that's an apology or all fees and fines waived that are associated with freezing your accounts, any type of derogatory remarks made on your credit bureau (if the UK has credit bureaus), etc. Top executive management doesn't like stuff like this and if you are writing letters make sure you copy the world - get the names of all of the management people for that particular area or branch that you can and make sure they all get a letter. You will get results I guarantee it! A letter to the CEO always gets results! They just hate to hear that you are going to pull your accounts and go to another bank.

And like Leah suggested do the PayPal thing or some other method of payment that will not affect your personal or business accounts if something does not work out.

Best of luck to you in getting your situation cleared up as soon as possible. Keep us posted on the outcome I would be interested in what the bank did to finally clear up the situation.

60sBunny Posted 11 May 2010 , 2:32pm
post #12 of 34

i had considered paypal but the fees put me off.

Maybe now the fee is a good price for me peace of mind.

I've taken everyones names the good the bad and the downright ugly. The last woman i spoke ot in fraud in a 20 min call had me on hold for 10, asked me questions for 5 and then after i got a chance to ask my questions told me she would dosconnect the call as we were simply going round in circles aka not asnwering my questions.

I wasnt aggressive or shouting, I was in my day job office and close to tears, i could barely get words out never mind get them out with venom.

We have a credit register in the UK, I will be sure to get it in writing (along with my apology) that this will not impact my credit rating.

I am quite wary of going elsewhere in case it has, if i try and open a new business account and current account with 2 different banks (best choices for me) and they get rejected it will impact on me hard.

I dont think we can cash cheques like that in the uk at the ussuing bank. I will check though. Thanks

Melvira Posted 11 May 2010 , 2:59pm
post #13 of 34

I just wanted to chime in and say how sorry I am that you are going through this. I have to say I would certainly tell this customer that due to the 'issues' you both have experienced, you can only accept cash for her cake. If she doesn't understand that, she doesn't DESERVE to have you do her cake. How would SHE feel if the situation was reversed. You have every right to ask for cash. I mean, if your personal accounts have even been affected, what are you supposed to do for personal expenses? Even simple things like buying FOOD! She has really screwed you up here. I'm not even sure I'd continue with the order. Chances are good that this little muffin might be in some trouble.

I found out about a week after doing a cake for a gal that she had just been fired for embezzling money from the bank!! I was scared to death that I'd be on a list of people to 'come after' because she had paid me with a check. I don't know a lot about the inner workings of banking, so I was afraid they could come take that money back from me.

Here's a big hug for you, I hope this gets cleared up quickly because I know you're in a pickle!

cheatize Posted 11 May 2010 , 3:08pm
post #14 of 34

I would stop giving out my banking information to people even if that inconvenienced them. Your customers can just as easily give you the cheque to deposit yourself. No one needs your personal financial information. Ever.

Secondly, I would tell the customer "cash only" from her. If she's a stable personality, she'll understand. She's probably embarrassed about the whole thing. I once had my checking account go crazy and my rent check bounced. I had to to pay all my landlord's overdraft fees and then pay future rent either in cash or with a money order (she would sign a receipt saying I had given it to her). It was embarrassing, but it was my fault so I did what I had to do to make sure I never affected her account again.

If the customer gets mad, then you know you don't want them as a customer. The customer has a problem and is trying to force you to put up with it. Losing one sale is disappointing, but it's not that big of a deal when looked back on from years and years of business. Do what you need to for the health and stability of your business. She doesn't get to put your business in jeopardy.

bakingshell Posted 11 May 2010 , 3:12pm
post #15 of 34

I am so sorry you are having that problem. I think I agree with the bride getting cash out of her bank account and giving it to you. It is just as easy since she has to deal with putting the money into your account anyways. I think you need to tell her about it and let her know that she needs to have cash in hand before you finish her cake. Just for the fact if she gets the cake before giving you cash then there might be a problem there as well.

I think before future checks or direct deposits into your account that you have a different account set up in a different bank that way you dont have problems with you personal account. We all know that we dont want our personal money on hold at anytime.

I hope you get the results that you need and hopefully no monies taken out of your account due to the foul play from the bank. icon_cry.gif

ninjacaker Posted 11 May 2010 , 3:17pm
post #16 of 34

Look, I am sorry you are having such a horrific week. But why on earth would you give anyone your bank account information?

dalis4joe Posted 11 May 2010 , 3:39pm
post #17 of 34

sorry about what happened... if the bank keep holding on u... threaten with callng ur local news..... send an email to the CEO.... I worked in a large bank and when someone sent a complaint to the CEO we would get a notice from our manager called a Presidential complaint... and WE BETTER FIX IT SOON.... that's how it went... so keep going higher in the chain.... u can get all the info via their website....

Good Luck

Melvira Posted 11 May 2010 , 4:05pm
post #18 of 34
Originally Posted by ninjacaker

Look, I am sorry you are having such a horrific week. But why on earth would you give anyone your bank account information?

She didn't necessarily give out her account info, actually. I know here you can walk into the bank and hand them a check, or get money out of your account and they will put it in anyone else's account without you having the numbers, etc. If you just know their name. Now, they obviously won't let you withdraw from someone else's account. Just sayin' she may not have done something quite as crazy as you think! icon_lol.gif

carmijok Posted 11 May 2010 , 4:34pm
post #19 of 34

I can't imagine a bank not telling you what the problem is! It's hard to address something when you have no idea what's going on. You must have access to your money! This is crazy. I would threaten with an attorney if you can't get some answers. Tell them your brother in law is a lawyer so it won't cost YOU anything to get some answers--but it sure will them! (ok...maybe not true, but most everyone hates the thought of being hounded by an attorney--much less the threat of a lawsuit). At least it might get you to the right person to talk to faster.
As for the future I would definitely start using PayPal. Up your cost to include the PayPal fee but don't tell the bride. Just say there's a 3% discount (or whatever their fees are) if the bride pays in cash. It's your business after all. As far as this current bride is concerned you might tell her that these are your policies now for everyone...not just her.

taniabanana Posted 11 May 2010 , 9:01pm
post #20 of 34

Here in the UK it is common practice for business (big and small) to put their bank account number and sort code on invoices. I've been doing it for years without a problem.
To the OP, have you contacted the banking ombudsmen? Banks cannot legally freeze your accounts without telling you why and how long any investigation might last. Their website is:

itsacake Posted 11 May 2010 , 10:41pm
post #21 of 34

I find it really interesting that so many people in the US are giving advice to the OP when clearly (as has been demonstrated in similar posts on here in the past) business and banking is conducted very differently in the UK than it is in the US.

Relznik Posted 11 May 2010 , 11:04pm
post #22 of 34

I'm sorry you're having such a dreadful week.

I do accept money into my account from customers; you tell them your bank sort code and a/c number for them to pay you... this is exactly the same information as is on a cheque! I don't have any problem with it.

As has already been pointed out (and forgive me, I haven't read all the replies) supermarkets in the UK no longer accept cheques as payment, and lots of other places no longer accept cheques.

When have you told your bride you want the final payment? As you pointed out, the wedding isn't until December. Hopefully by then you'll have sorted out all the issues with your bank account. And if not, a little nearer the time, tell her that you need the balance in cash. If she has the money in her bank to cover a cheque, then she'll have the money to get out and give to you in cash.

Good luck!

Suzanne x

Melvira Posted 11 May 2010 , 11:46pm
post #23 of 34
Originally Posted by itsacake

I find it really interesting that so many people in the US are giving advice to the OP when clearly (as has been demonstrated in similar posts on here in the past) business and banking is conducted very differently in the UK than it is in the US.

So, how does cash work there? icon_confused.gif

pattycakes55d Posted 12 May 2010 , 12:05am
post #24 of 34

I'm sure if you approached her and said "Given the situation and all the stuff "we" both have had to go through and the time it's taken, I have had to revisit my contract policies and as of today "everyone" has to pay in cash. I hope you are not offended and understand that this is not about you. (take the focus away from her). It just makes good business sense to put these policies in place to avoid this in the future, don't you agree?." Period. Then change your contract to reflect this change. This is only my opinion. I know things will get better for you. Keep your spirits up.

Gefion Posted 12 May 2010 , 6:19am
post #25 of 34
Originally Posted by Melvira

Originally Posted by itsacake

I find it really interesting that so many people in the US are giving advice to the OP when clearly (as has been demonstrated in similar posts on here in the past) business and banking is conducted very differently in the UK than it is in the US.

So, how does cash work there? icon_confused.gif

Same way. But direct deposit is common in Europe (at least in Nothern Europe) and not unsafe at all - many companies have their bank account info posted on their websites for convenience.

If you go to a bank and give your account number, all you can do is deposit. Not withdraw, or anything else. That requires further ID, passport or a bankcard with a PIN code.

Relznik Posted 12 May 2010 , 7:37am
post #26 of 34
Originally Posted by Gefion

Originally Posted by Melvira

Originally Posted by itsacake

I find it really interesting that so many people in the US are giving advice to the OP when clearly (as has been demonstrated in similar posts on here in the past) business and banking is conducted very differently in the UK than it is in the US.

So, how does cash work there? icon_confused.gif

Same way. But direct deposit is common in Europe (at least in Nothern Europe) and not unsafe at all - many companies have their bank account info posted on their websites for convenience.

If you go to a bank and give your account number, all you can do is deposit. Not withdraw, or anything else. That requires further ID, passport or a bankcard with a PIN code.

Exactly. icon_smile.gif

If someone writes me a cheque (ie they write my name on it), I can only pay it into my bank account. Even with additional ID, I can't take it to the bank and get cash - UNLESS the cheque is made payable to 'cash' (instead of my name). But that's almost never done these days because of how insecure it is, if it were to get lost.

And once you've paid a cheque into your bank, the money is yours. They can't claim it back (I think I've read that people have done that with payments or deposits in the US?)

Suzanne x

Melnick Posted 12 May 2010 , 8:04am
post #27 of 34

It is the same in Australia. The cheque has the BSB (branch number) and account number on it and it is exactly the same information that you give out if you need someone to direct deposit into your account.

If you do have a cheque deposited into your account, the funds from the cheque aren't made available to you until the cheque has cleared which can take up to 5 days. After a cheque has cleared they won't take the money back off you. You could get it to clear faster if you want to pay a fee but you still go to your own bank - not the bank of the person who wrote the cheque. I think that's how it works - it's been a decade siince I dealt with a cheque.

Cheques aren't used much. I don't own a cheque book and neither do any of my friends. My parents do but only because they own a construction business and even then they don't use cheques very often. I do most of my payments for services by direct deposit.

But to the OP, I completely forgot about the Banking Ombudsman. I would definately contact them straight away.

60sBunny Posted 12 May 2010 , 9:55am
post #28 of 34

Thanks all for your help.

I absolutely welcome all advice, UK AUS, UK anywhere. But Ninjacaker, I'm pretty confident your not based in the uk, and thank you to all the other UK bakers who confirmed this was common practice here and in most commonwealth states. That's why they have my account details, because here they are only useful to them to pay money into my account, which usually is just swell icon_biggrin.gif. I was starting to feel a little stupid, but I have looked at other options, PayPal still being in the running, we cant' cash cheques here only deposit them, so its cash or transfer. I still prefer to have the transfer, its better for my accounting and saves me a trip to the bank.

Re: the bride, I am going with the advice and going with due to mutual issues, to save us both further grief, would you mind paying me in cash. If she wants to cancel, that's fine, I will take the bank to task over loss of earnings. Her balance is due 2 weeks before the event but she wanted to pay in 2, 6 month instalments instead, which I agreed to.

Thanks taniabanana I have scoured high and low to find out my legal stance on this, the bank keeps saying they have the right to freeze my account, the financial ombudsman needs to know why my accounts have been frozen to help, the bank have only just confirmed to me it is because of this small transaction, but I have a feeling that money I moved from my savings account (with the same bank) was improperly tracked by them and that it flagged my account and that this transaction has been the second strike, which makes me more angry, I should be able to move MY money. Its just they keep asking me to confirm its identity even though they should be able to see it moving from one of their accounts to the other. Its a farce form start to finish. My complaints letter gets longer and longer, when I asked if someone would call me to let me know my accounts had been released the reply came, well I cant sit and watch your account all day. Once I have handed in all the documents, which they should have they take up to 48hrs to load onto the system and then they can release my accounts its just a cheek.

Relznik Posted 12 May 2010 , 10:04am
post #29 of 34

It seems most strange to me.

I frequently transfer very small amounts and haven't had any problems. I can't see that the problem in itself would be someone depositing £43 into your account.

Perhaps the problem is with her? Who knows what goes on with other people.

Who do you bank with? Can you make an appt to go into the branch? It can help if you have a proper conversation face-to-face with someone, rather than via a telephone (un)help desk! icon_wink.gif

Cakechick123 Posted 12 May 2010 , 10:34am
post #30 of 34

in South Africa its also common practice to give out your account number and bank code. All a person can do with it is deposit money into the account, its the same info thats on your cheque (and on the cheque they even have a sample of your signature!!!!) All my clients pay me via bank deposit or electronic transfer.
I have a totally seperate account for my business, its in my name "trading as" my business name. When I spoke to my branch manager he suggested that, saying that if small amounts went in from different sources into my private account, it might look strange to a bank person looking at my account. However if they saw it trading as a company then the flags wont be raised so easily, maybe this is what happend to you?

Hope youc an sort it out asap!!!!

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