back to article Prudential cops £50k ICO slap for giving customer's life savings away

Insurance firm Prudential has been slapped with a £50,000 fine for merging the accounts of two customers' accounts with the same name and date of birth and not bothering to fix the situation when the customers complained. The company merged the two accounts with the same first name, surname and date of birth in March 2007, a …


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  1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    trying to get the customers cash returned

    I sincerely hope that they have already credited the customer and are merely trying to make good their own loss...

    .... but I doubt it.......

    1. mhoulden

      Re: trying to get the customers cash returned

      I hope the customers wrote to the Pru and charged them £30 for the letter.

      Actually I think a fair outcome would be for the people who had their money transferred away refunded with 100% on top as compensation, and the people who received it allowed to keep it.

  2. mark 63 Silver badge

    Hang on - ICO fine and its not an NHS office?

    Looks like they found "a pair"

  3. mark 63 Silver badge

    "Prudential is also trying to get the money it transferred over to an investment company, which included the wrong customer's cash, returned."

    When I hand my money over to an investment company, having it returned is priority one!

    Its the point of an "investment"

  4. Dr Scrum Master

    It's only been 5 years, and Prudential have still "to get the money it transferred over to an investment company, which included the wrong customer's cash, returned."

  5. JimmyPage

    Hang on ...

    are we serious expected to believe that the Prudential ran an automated process to merge accounts ? And that that process was allowed to complete with no oversight, no manual inspection of affected records. And that that process was allowed to touch live accounts ?

    1. Amazon Wageslave

      Re: Hang on ...

      Nope, in this case it was human error. A financial advisor put in an address change for customer #1, but accidentally gave the account details for customer #2 instead. The Pru then updated their records accordingly. Where they screwed up was in taking several years to fix said error, even when both customers had repeatedly informed them of the problem.

  6. Anonymous John

    Asking for trouble.

    Having the same name and DOB as another Prudential customer.

    1. vic 4

      Re: Asking for trouble.

      How we miss Job's common sense to sort issues like this out. Just change your name, no big deal

  7. P Saunders

    I bet they're stinging

    Yup, that 50k is really going to hit them where it hurts. It's pathetic fines like this that ensure systems are not fixed. Of course, were it, say, a million or two, and perhaps a month or six in lock up for the line manager involved, well, there would never be a chance of another similar incident ever occurring again.

    I'm ranting. I am tired and in a lousy mood. Also I hate insurance companies.

    1. Goldmember

      Re: I bet they're stinging

      Quite right. A £50k fine is far cheaper than implementing a new system or retraining staff, so guess what won't be happening any time soon?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My Wife had a similar problem..

    ..With her NHS pension, except this time, the only thing that she shared with the other unfortunate person was her name. She tried to get things corrected but was constantly met with stone walling & rudeness. It least in her case it only took a year. The best thing is, when she put in a complaint, the person they assigned to investigate was the person she made a complaint against. You couldn't make it up.

  9. Buzzword

    Give your kids unique names

    This is why it's important to give your kids unique names. Once again the Beckhams were ahead of the game: Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz, and Harper. No chance of them having their accounts merged!

    1. Lee Dowling

      Re: Give your kids unique names

      Yes! I will name my kids this too, so they are just as unique and will also never have a problem!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Give your kids unique names

        Yeah, they'll just get seven shades of shit kicked out of them in the playground for being so fucking special.

  10. frank ly


    "The insurance firm also said that it would be improving staff training and updating its processes."

    I think that staff replacement is called for. No amount of training can cure stupidity and complacency. (I don't mean the front-end people who took the complaint reports, I mean the managers who make the decisions.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Retraining?

      However, this appears to be a problem that has come about because of front-end staff or their direct low level management. In a company the size of Pru, you rely upon the low level management not to hide anything from their managers and those up the line. If a customer is only complaining to the customer call centre and not escalating the call, this gives the local customer call centre manage the ability to try to deal with the call themselves, right up to the point that the ombudsman or information commissioner is brought in.

    2. Fatman

      Re: improving staff training and updating its processes.

      Will someone call Simon and find out where he gets his electric cattle prods??????

  11. adam payne

    "The insurance firm also said that it would be improving staff training and updating its processes"

    Sounds like the usual lessons have been learnt speech to me.

  12. Kubla Cant

    Same name and DOB

    I spent a few years working at a pensions company. I doubt that our customer table was anything like as large as the Pru's. Even so, it was a general principle that you can't rely on name and DOB to identify a customer. The usual procedure is to use the National Insurance number.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Same name and DOB

      As it is at the Pru. The trouble is that you get lots of customers who ring up not knowing their NiNo and only with name/dob as identifying details, many times addresses of customers aren't stored because they are company pension schemes. People also have a habit of cocking up their pensions in ways you can only imagine - I worked in data cleanup for a while preparing data to be moved from multiple legacy systems to a single new one. Part of the job involved tracing customers who'd given their employers incorrect NiNos, and left the company, effectively orphaning themselves form their pension.

      The real problem here is that Pru's procedures for dealing with this sort of thing seem to have been willfully ignored. That's why the fine is so large.

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