Monday, 5 January 2015

Lloyds made my life a misery - by insisting I am DEAD: Credit rating ruined, overdraft rising, meet Ashley Flynn... deceased

For the past year, Lloyds Bank customer Ashley Flynn has tried desperately to convince the bank he is still alive.

Many customers feel they are invisible to their bank – just another account number to be sent occasional impersonal mailshots.

But few will have felt more inconspicuous than Ashley Flynn has done over the past year.

Very much alive: Ashley Flynn and partner Georgina have head to pay more for their mortgage due to the error

A single action by Lloyds Bank has had a disastrous domino-effect on his financial life.

It has left him locked out of his current account, fees mounting on an overdraft, an impaired credit rating, unable to get a mortgage for his first home in his own name and harassed by debt collectors.

Ashley’s year of banking hell at the hands of the part State-owned bank started innocuously when he bought a round of drinks for his partner, Georgina Sallas, and her friends on a night out in January last year. It was then that his Platinum Visa debit card was rejected.

The reason, he found out later, was because the bank had decided he was dead.

The explanation was mystifying. Ashley, a 25-year-old legal assistant, was told his death certificate had earlier been shown to one of its bank staff. As a result, his account had been shut and to reopen it he would need to prove he was alive by showing the required identification in person at his local branch in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

Bemused at first, Ashley did as he was told. But his patience soon wore thin as he found himself rotating aimlessly in a hamster wheel of conflicting instructions.

A bank employee advised him to speak with its bereavement team. But the team said he should instead visit his bank branch armed with ID.

Months of buck-passing by Lloyds followed, during which time Ashley arranged to have his wages paid into his girlfriend’s current account. 'I need a bank account so I can go about my daily life,' he says. 'It’s been a massive stress and it’s embarrassing Lloyds has done this to me.'

Bank error not in your favour: Ashley Flynn was categorised as dead by Lloyds Bank and the ensuing battle to get this rectified caused him 'massive stress'

Bank error not in your favour: Ashley Flynn was categorised as dead by Lloyds Bank and the ensuing battle to get this rectified caused him 'massive stress'

During the summer, with no end in sight to his woes, Ashley and Georgina, 22, attempted to open a joint account with Halifax.

But they were turned away. Halifax is part of Lloyds Banking Group and the employee they dealt with confirmed Ashley was in the bank’s eyes deceased. This is despite the fact that Lloyds was also now writing to Ashley demanding that he make repayments against the overdraft on his account.

Exasperated, he turned to the Financial Ombudsman Service. It mediates in disputes between financial companies and customers. Companies must abide by its rulings.

Credit report: It is important to check your credit record and make sure it is accurate and up to date

Credit report: It is important to check your credit record and make sure it is accurate and up to date

Lloyds knows the Ombudsman well. In the first six months of last year, nearly 31,000 complaints about Lloyds ended up at the Ombudsman’s door.

The Ombudsman asked Ashley to provide proof that Lloyds had declared him dead, because the bank denied doing so.

'This was one of the worst stages of the whole process,' says Ashley.

'I was panicking about how to get this proof.' It was his mortgage adviser that came to the rescue. While his battle with Lloyds had been going on, Ashley had been trying to buy a home with Georgina but was thwarted by Lloyds noting on his credit record that he had 'missed payments' on his overdraft.

This had repelled mortgage lenders from providing him with funds.

Huge impact: The error made by Lloyds Bank has had a massive effect on Ashley Flynn's financial life

Huge impact: The error made by Lloyds Bank has had a massive effect on Ashley Flynn's financial life

Ashley had tried to repay some of the overdraft but was blocked from doing so by the very bank demanding it. To add insult to injury, Lloyds passed on his details to a debt collection agency.

His mortgage adviser suggested he get a copy of his credit report from credit reference agency Experian. This confirmed he had indeed been marked as dead.

An initial review of Ashley’s case by the Ombudsman concluded that £500 compensation should be paid. It also recommended that Ashley’s credit file be corrected and for a payment plan to be arranged for the outstanding overdraft.

Ashley rejected the compensation, calling it 'insulting', while Lloyds rejected the other two remedies. The complaint was then escalated to a full Ombudsman investigation. A final decision is due soon.

Until then, Lloyds says it is unable to provide a full explanation about the problems Ashley has endured. It says: 'We are sorry for the difficulties Mr Flynn has experienced. The case is currently with the Ombudsman. An appropriate level of compensation will be provided.'

Meanwhile, Ashley is still unable to access his Lloyds account because one part of the banking monolith deems him to be dead.

To add insult to injury, Ashley and Georgina have only been able to buy a home because of the financial intervention of Georgina’s father. But their monthly payments are around £300 a month more expensive compared to what they would have been paying had it been Ashley’s name on the mortgage account.

'This has all been stressful,’ says Ashley. ‘I just want the issues resolved so that I can bank without hassle and lead a normal life with Lloyds recognising I am very much alive and well.'

For information about resolving banking complaints independently, visit or phone 0800 023 4567.



Your credit report is a history of your individual borrowing – from mortgages to phone contracts – as well as other important personal information.

It is referred to by lenders when you apply for credit so they can check you are who you say you are, and are a safe bet to lend to.

Your details are held by three credit reference agencies: Experian, Equifax and Callcredit.


To get a free copy of your report, sign up to a 30-day trial at Experian or Equifax. But do remember to cancel before the trial ends, as otherwise you will pay nearly £15 a month.

Website Checkmyfile also has a free 30-day trial and shows data from Equifax and Callcredit. A report from the latter can be accessed for free via website Noddle. You can also write to the agencies for a £2 copy of your report. If there are inaccuracies, you can add a notice of correction, showing you dispute the entry.


The report shows where you live, how long you have lived there, previous addresses, whether you are on the electoral roll and the name of anyone you are financially linked to. It also highlights bankruptcies or other publicly recorded debt problems, which companies you have borrowed from, how much was borrowed and the balance left to pay. You may also see a credit score, which is a crude measure of your creditworthiness.

But it is not an official figure as individual companies may score you differently behind the scenes, based on whether or not you are likely to make them money.


Your report might be unattractive if you are not on the electoral roll, have skipped loan repayments or applied for multiple loans. These will all be recorded on your file.

To get on the electoral roll you must register to vote. Do this online at You will need your National Insurance number.

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