Some former (but still living) TSB customers have had their direct debits cancelled, and received letters of condolence, after the bank erroneously reported that they had died.

The gaffe appears to be connected to TSB’s recent IT meltdown, which saw up to 1.9 million banking customers unable to access their accounts for more than a week. Following the outage, some customers decided to switch current accounts – and, during this process, TSB somehow labelled the switchers as deceased.

Some utility companies were notified by TSB of these “deaths” – and they in turn cancelled any direct debits and sent a letter of condolence explaining the situation to the next of kin.

MoneySavingExpert received numerous reports from not-actually-deceased former TSB customers who had their direct debits cancelled. One man, who switched from TSB to Halifax, said: “I’ve had to phone every company and tell them I’m not dead and give them my new bank details, which I feel I shouldn’t have to do, and they are all saying it’s what TSB had told them.”

Another man said the council had sent a letter to his house, asking for the new owner/occupier. “I rang them and they said that TSB had told them that I was deceased.

“I have tried calling TSB four times and given up as they just never answer, apart from the fourth time. Then, I got through after 25 minutes of waiting, told them what had happened and just got cut off. I was expecting a call back but it never happened. I am now in a position where I’m worried that I’m going to miss direct debits because TSB have failed to set them up with my new bank details.”

How did TSB mess things up so badly?

A spokesperson for TSB said, “We are aware there was an issue with a small number of our customers switching from or closing their account with TSB, which resulted in an error in the cancellation or transfer of some of their direct debits. We are deeply sorry for any distress caused. We are working to rectify this issue and we are really sorry for the inconvenience caused.”

Normally, when you decide to switch current accounts, the switching process is carried out by the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) and your new bank. Presumably, during TSB’s bungled IT rollout, there was a bug in the system that falsely assumed some of those switchers had died. We will probably never know how such a bug came to exist, though.

If you were affected by TSB’s IT failure, you can file a complaint with the bank and you might be awarded some compensation. The bank has stated that it will ensure “no customer is left out of pocket,” and all overdraft and interest fees were waived for March and April.

TSB chief Paul Pester has given up a £2 million bonus that was linked to the rollout of a new IT system – but he could still receive up to £2.6 million this year in basic pay, benefits, pension contributions, and other bonuses.

Now read how to switch current accounts