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Energy giant put £150,000 in man's account by mistake

[ 2013-11-26 16:41] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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With profits of half-a-million pounds a day thanks to record prices, it's perhaps no surprise that an energy giant would fail to notice a mere £150,000 going astray.

But when the six-figure sum from Npower popped up unexpectedly in amateur actor Terry Atkinson's bank account, it was a moment of eye-rubbing disbelief - not least as he isn't even one of their customers.

Despite living in a shared house and working in a call centre as he pursues his dream of a professional drama career, the 30-year-old resisted temptation and informed his bank there must have been a mistake.

However, as of last night, the small fortune - just about enough to cover the chief executive's annual bonus - was last night still sitting in his account waiting to be recalled by the German-owned multinational.

Yesterday Mr Atkinson said the astonishing oversight showed the Big Six energy giants were making so much money that the small matter of a missing £150,000 was barely worth chasing.

'They probably spend that sort of money on a corporate night out, yet it could heat thousands of pensioners' homes this winter,' he said.

'People are having to go hungry because their energy bills are so high, and yet Npower can transfer a vast sum of money by a casual mistake and not even notice.

'What's particularly scary is that I haven't been one of their customers for five years, so how have they even got my details?' Mr Atkinson checked his online NatWest account on Tuesday expecting it have less than £70 remaining.

Instead, he was stunned to see his balance swollen by a payment of £151,786.69 from Npower.

'I couldn't believe my eyes,' said. 'At first I thought: "Have I won the Lottery?" 'I phoned my bank and they said: "Don't spend it yet". I told them not to worry, I had no intention of spending it.

'Npower make millions of pounds a day, they could quite easily afford to take me to court and accuse me of theft if they wanted to.

'But I have to count every penny to pay my bills, so to have that sort of life-changing amount sitting taunting me in my account is pretty hard to deal with.'

Mr Atkinson earns less than £20,000-a-year in a call centre and lives in a shared house in Abingdon, Oxfordshire with two friends, paying £525-a-month in rent.

His passion is acting - he recently played Algernon in Abingdon Drama Club's production of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest - and it's money that could have helped him fulfil his dream.

'I'd love to go to drama school, which these days would cost around £60,000,' he said.

'In a parallel universe where I do just go and spend the money, I could pay for that and get my own flat as well.' He hasn't been a customer with Npower since he was a student in 2008.

His current home has a pre-pay meter which Mr Atkinson said was swallowing up more and more of the friends' income.

'We have to be careful to make sure we can pay the bills,' he said.

His bank has told him that Npower will have to request the money transfer is rescinded before it can be taken out of his account.

For now, he has transferred it into his savings account to avoid confusion - and he may be able to pocket any interest it earns.

Npower last month put fuel prices up by 10.4 per cent, more than rivals British Gas and SSE, taking an average annual bill for gas and electricity to £1,459.

It recently revealed profits so far this year of £116million, however that was down on last year and led to warnings of 2,000 job losses.

But chief executive Paul Massara branded calls for him to give up his annual bonus of around £150,000 a 'gimmick', saying he would only receive it for meeting customer satisfaction targets.

Anyone who receives a windfall which they suspect was deposited accidentally and fails to inform their bank is likely to be committing the offence of retaining wrongful credit under the 1968 Theft Act.

In 2008 Amanda Moorcroft, of Blackburn, was jailed for ten months after spending £135,000 wrongly paid into her sister's Abbey National account on a holiday to Florida, luxury furniture and gifts to relations.

An Npower spokesman said: 'We're currently investigating this internally as a matter of urgency.'









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(译者 sxdns717 编辑 严玉洁)