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20/08/08

Goldfish users get wrong bills

Thousands of customers have received the wrong Goldfish credit card statements after a computer mix-up.

In an interview with BBC news, Bob Bell revealed he got a bigger shock than normal when opening his credit card statement. He spotted something fishy when his statement was several hundred pounds more than normal. The reason - he'd been sent someone else's account details.

"When I opened the inside which gave the details of the spend it was showing not only 665 but someone else's name at the bottom of it - Mrs Rosemary Adam - and clearly it was either she had spent the money on her account or somebody had fraudulently used my card."

The Goldfish case is the latest in a series of incidents where confidential records have been mislaid. Last October, HM Revenue & Customs lost computer discs containing the entire Child Benefit records, including the personal details of 25 million people.

In March of this year, the records of 6,500 Torbay council workers also went missing and in April, a file of medical records was found at a bus stop in Brighton.

Bob is now concerned his own details could get into the wrong hands, but data experts say the risk of Bob's identity being stolen is low.

Barry Stamp, data protection expert: "I think there is very little chance of that happening on this occasion because so little data has actually gone astray. Really it is only the card number and a name which identity thieves can't do much with. There's far greater risk if you lose your wallet, for example, where far more data is available for a thief to misuse."

Bob now intends to close his Goldfish account, although he has been told he can't do that until he has paid off his balance and of course he can't do that until he gets his statement.

Paul Siegert, BBC news correspondent: "The Goldfish credit card is actually owned by Barclays, now we would have like to have heard from them tonight but they declined to be interviewed. They did issue a statement which said they would like to apologise to all customers caught up in this mistake which was caused by an error at the printers. They said they wanted to reassure customers that they do take data protection extremely seriously and they are taking steps to ensure that this doesn't happen again. They said to me that customers should get their proper statements and a letter of apology in a few days. They say that this has only affected a small number of their customers, although the actual number of customers caught up in this was 17,000."