Student Finance sent my loan to a randomer – now I can’t get it back

‘It’s been awful trying to find money’

A fresher has been the victim of another student loan mix up after her money was sent to the wrong person.

Animal Science first year Chiara Plotegher was left without student finance throughout her first term due to an error on her application form, forcing her to take on three part time jobs and borrow from her parents. 

Chiara Plotegher who accidently entered the long card number from her debit card instead of the account number, missed out on her first payment of £1,231 which was sent to a stranger instead.

Chiara, in happier times

Unfortunately, the first eight digits of her card number and sort code matched those of another customer at Chiara’s bank, Nationwide, who received an unexpected pay out in September last year. After starting a ‘Credit Payment Recovery’ process used to recover payments sent in error, Nationwide contacted the lucky recipient of Chiara’s money. But after receiving no response, Nationwide concluded that they couldn’t help with the matter any further.

Speaking to the Tab, Chiara said she feels that Student Finance England could have done more to help her.

She said: “It’s partly their fault due to their system taking off eight digits and just throwing the money in their knowing full well I had entered the details in wrong.

“Had they put the money in the account number I provided it would have been bounced back and this problem wouldn’t have occurred.”

After contacting the University of Nottingham for help, Chiara was told there was not a lot they could do, due to the fact she doesn’t qualify for grants or bursaries from the university. She was offered the option of a “hardship grant but even that would have only won me £100 max”, barely making a dent in the expense of being a fresher. The uni then failed to follow up with her after initial contact, leaving Chiara with no one left to ask for help in resolving the issue.

With no other option and rent for halls due, Chiara was forced to borrow money from her parents creating a strain on their finances while taking on three part time jobs alongside lectures and seminars.

“It’s been awful trying to find money I didn’t have and work so much even though I had studies to be worrying about, with very little in the way of support.”

Speaking to The Telegraph, a spokesperson from Nationwide has admitted that they could have done more to help stating:

“While the initial error was made by the customer, who provided Student Finance with the long number from her card rather than her account number, the correct process was not followed in this instance.

“We recognise that the funds could have been retrieved had the matter been passed to the relevant team and apologise that on this occasion our service did not match our usual high standards. We will be refunding Miss Plotegher in full and offering her £100 in compensation for any inconvenience caused in resolving this issue.”

Although this is not the first time banks have failed to refund customers money after transfer errors such as this, Chiara is thankfully now in possession of her full loan entitlement, plus the generous £100 ‘compensation’ from Nationwide.