How to recover an incorrect transfer - new possibilities

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One of the regulations of the new Act on Payment Services is easier recovery of funds from a bank account to which an incorrect transfer was sent by mistake. The new regulations release banks from banking secrecy if the wrong addressee does not want to give back money that is not due to him.

Erroneous transfer and the possibility of its recovery - sometime

Until 2011, in order to make a transfer, the paying person had to provide the personal data of the account holder to which the money was transferred. If the recipient's details did not match the account number, the bank refused to make the transfer. If - despite everything - the incorrect transfer was successful, the customer could request the bank to return the amount mistakenly sent, and the bank had to comply with this request.

In 2011, the EU PSD1 directive was implemented into Polish regulations. It introduced the principle that a payment transaction should be made at the latest on the next business day after its order (DAY + 1) and that it can be made only on the basis of the account number. Personal data was no longer needed. Therefore, if the identifier was provided in the transfer order, the bank was no longer required to check whether the recipient's personal data was correct.

When the transfer was sent by mistake to the wrong addressee - the client could not obtain information from the bank who received the money, because the bank was legally obliged to maintain banking secrecy.

Moreover, the banks were not obliged to recover money mistakenly paid. It is true that some banks offered a "customer assistance" service, but it was a paid service. When the customer took advantage of such assistance - the bank contacted the addressee of the incorrect transfer, informing him that he had the amount transferred by mistake, the money did not belong to him, referring to Art. 405 of the Civil Code about unjust enrichment. The wrong addressee could return the amount, but it depended only on his good will. When the wrong addressee did not want to pay back the amount - the customer was only left with the legal path to recover his money. However, such a situation was very difficult because the bank, under banking secrecy, could not disclose the recipient's personal data.

Due to the difficulty in verifying the wrong recipient, it took months to recover incorrectly transferred funds. The Chancellery of the President states that "people wrote letters to the president. These letters gave rise to a great problem for people who made a mistake in transferring funds to another account. Very dramatic situations have been described.'

In connection with the above, the President took the initiative to make it easier for citizens to recover money mistakenly paid to another account. Issues related to the return of incorrectly transferred money are regulated in the Payment Services Act.

Erroneous transfer and the possibility of its recovery - today

Pursuant to the new legal regulations, a customer who sent money to the wrong account may report this fact to his bank, which will have to inform the recipient of the incorrect transfer within 3 days that he is obliged to return the money.

Attention! In the event of an incorrect transfer, you should always contact your bank - he has the data regarding the transfer and he will try to clarify the matter on our behalf.

When we send an incorrect transfer, in the complaint letter to the bank, please provide as many details as possible regarding the payment, including: the recipient's account number, our account number, amount and date of execution.

The wrong recipient has 30 days to return the money not belonging to him. The return should be made on a special so-called technical account (return account) to be used only for the return of amounts mistakenly sent. The bank will not charge any fees for the return transfer. The funds from the technical account are to be transferred to the account of their rightful owner within one business day.

When the wrong addressee does not want to voluntarily return the money that he is not entitled to - the bank will be able to transfer the personal data of the recipient of the transfer to the person who mistakenly paid the money to the wrong account. In such a situation, a person who made a mistake may bring an action for unjust enrichment in court, and the bank is released from banking secrecy.

Acquiring and using data for a purpose other than seeking the return of incorrectly transferred money is punishable by a fine of up to PLN 30,000.

The new regulations also apply to erroneous transfers made before the entry into force of the new act - provided that the sender of the transfer files a complaint after the new regulations enter into force.