Peter Murray, from Liverpool in England, is a “subpostmaster” – a self-employed worker who runs services at several UK Post Office branches.
The father-of-three said he was nearly bankrupted after a software glitch showed his branches owed the national company a combined £65,000 ($A128,000) between 2014 and 2019.
The 53-year-old told the Liverpool Echo he had borrowed money from the bank and from friends to cover the charges and that he eventually had a stroke, which he said was caused by stress.
He described it as the “worst period” of his life.
“Whenever I reported problems to the Post Office and my contract manager, they would refuse to help,” he told the publication.
“Some days there would be £2000 ($A3930) missing from the system, then £5000 ($A9825), then another day it would be £8000 ($A15,721). This would just happen completely randomly.
“I couldn’t believe it and I thought at the time something was very wrong because I’m very good with maths and computers.
“The Post Office bullied me for years and drove me to the point of financial ruin.”
In 2019, two High Court trials found the Post Office used Horizon software, which was filled with “bugs, errors and defects” that caused hundreds of subpostmasters to be overcharged.
The company ended up paying £58 million ($A113,980,657) to settle claims by more than 550 subpostmasters in similar situations to Mr Murray.
However, Mr Murray wasn’t one of them as he was not part of the group action, although he later received some compensation and is in the process of securing his own settlement.
In a statement provided to the Mirror, a Post Office spokesperson said the organisation had put systems in place to ensure similar problems did not occur again.
“We’re making extensive improvements throughout the Post Office to ensure we work together with postmasters in genuine commercial partnership,” the spokesperson said.
“We’ve put in place personalised new support for every postmaster, increased training and a new branch support centre with dedicated case handlers for more complex queries which cannot be immediately resolved.
“There is of course much more work to be done but we’re putting our postmaster and our customers at the centre of everything we do.”
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