John Hill first became concerned when he received an email from his utility provider to say his direct debit had been cancelled. He didn’t know what was going on but eventually discovered that the high street bank had closed his account after data from the death notification service was misread by the lender.
The bank has also offered him £525 in compensation.
Mr Hill, from Devon, told MoneySavingExpert (MSE) what happened.
He said: “I immediately rang the bank but the automated system put my number through to the bereavement team.”
Mr Hill later learned Lloyds had been contacted by a company of genealogists and probate researchers.
The firm had informed the bank about a death of someone with a similar name.
It’s understood this was via the Death Notification Service, which enables a person to notify a number of member organisations of a person’s death, at the same time.
Chris Newlands, news and investigations editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, said the good news is that cases like this are extremely rare.
“The death notification service is there to help loved ones report someone’s passing to several banks, building societies and other financial firms via just one free online form,” he explained.
“And though rare, this is one whopping case of mistaken identity.
“Whatever the circumstance, if you feel you’ve not received good customer service from your bank in their response to a complaint, then your best option is to contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) which can help settle disputes between financial firms and their customers.”
Lloyds bank has apologised, explaining that it was an unfortunate case of mistaken identity due to a human error.
It’s understood to be an isolated incident.
A Lloyds Bank spokesperson said: “We are extremely sorry to Mr Hill for the distress and inconvenience this has caused him.
“While we can say this is an isolated incident, we want to make sure this never happens again, and we’ve worked hard behind the scenes to understand what went wrong.
“In the meantime, we have done all we can to reassure Mr Hill he will not be left out of pocket as a result of our mistake, and offered a payment in recognition of the distress this experience has caused.”