Questions of Cash: June 214

Posted on September 17, 2014 · Posted in The Independent

Q. In September last year I made a payment of £2,606.93 to the wrong bank account. The payment was meant for a company that had taken over some of the business of another supplier – but I paid the Barclays account of the old company. The new company contacted me in October asking for the money.  They then explained the bank account I had paid was not theirs.  I paid the correct account and started proceedings to recover the money put into the wrong account.  In October I phoned Barclays, who were no help. I then wrote to Barclays, but received no response. I again phoned and was told to get in touch with my own bank, Bank of Scotland.  I was told it was BoS’s responsibility to recover the funds for me.  I spoke to BoS twice in October, who say they wrote to Barclays and that if they did not get a response they would send a second and then a third letter if it was still not resolved.  After months without success, I received a letter in April from BoS saying it had been unsuccessful in recovering the money.  It advised me to contact Citizens Advice or a solicitor.  I am now told by the first company that the Barclays account was closed in 2004 or 2005 and that the funds must be in a Barclays holding account, from which only Barclays can authorise a withdrawal.  It is impossible for me to resolve this – can you?  CA, Scotland.

A. Yes, we have – and the full £2,606.93 has now been restored to you. A Barclays’ spokesman says: “We have located the funds that were credited to the Barclays account in error. When an account is credited in error we require the sending bank to contact us to request the funds are returned. In this case [the reader’s] bank did contact us and we began the process to recover the funds. The funds were transferred to an account number in use and as a result we are required to contact the account holder to obtain their authorisation for the funds to be debited. Unfortunately we do not hold any contact numbers for the beneficiary and despite sending letters to our customer we received no response.  This is why there was a substantial delay in [the reader] receiving a response. However, under the circumstances and as an exception, it has been agreed to recover the funds and arranged for this to be transferred to [the reader’s] account.  [The reader’s] letter sent to us on the 9 October 2013 was never answered as it appears that it was never received.”

Q. I have a ‘Silver’ TSB account, which includes mobile, European travel and breakdown insurance cover for about £12 a month. I had to claim on the mobile phone insurance on my Galaxy S3 after it packed up completely. The claims handler told me that the phone being ‘worked on’, despite being sent to them with a technician’s note from Samsung that it was beyond repair.  I was then sent a refurbished, not a new, replacement to the completely wrong address, some 50 miles away and I was charged a £50 excess.  There were two special deliveries which separately sent me the claim form and the phone, which involved a delay of a week in sending me a replacement handset.  After I got upset – understandably, I think – about having to wait a further one to three working days for a phone, I was offered a frankly risible 25 per cent discount on my excess. I still have to pay for yet another special delivery to get it to London. The excuse has been that my details were filed under my middle name – Anne – instead of my surname.  I have spent weeks without a smart phone that I use for work.  By my calculation I was entitled to an early upgrade for just £120 – my charges for the Silver account would have easily covered that.  WS, London.

A. We took this up with TSB. It points out that claims on the mobile phone insurance are handled by a separate company under an agreement with TSB. According to TSB, the problems were caused by you sending in your phone immediately rather than – as it says you were told – waiting for a covering letter from the claims handlers that should have accompanied the phone despatch. TSB says that the phone was then sent to the wrong address as a result of this. TSB’s spokeswoman says: “We apologise for the unacceptable delay to the repair of [the reader’s] phone. [The reader’s] complaint has now been closed to her satisfaction.” TSB is to pay you £160 in recognition of the expenses you incurred, for your inconvenience as a result of the service delays and as a gesture of goodwill for its failure to provide the required level of customer service.

Q. I went to use an ATM outside the premises of my local Santander branch. I was then hustled inside the bank’s branch by criminals who in my confusion somehow snaffled up my debit card, after they must have watched me enter my PIN. I reported this to the Santander branch before notifying Barclays. By then the crooks had already withdrawn £300.  Barclays were superb in cancelling my card, as were the police.  But Santander was atrocious. This was a security issue on their premises, but their staff told me to talk to Barclays – it could not have happened there because they have security staff on the door. IC, London.

A. Santander regrets the incident and apologises.  A spokeswoman adds: “Unfortunately, this took place during a lunchtime when the branch staff were all busy with customers. We do have CCTV footage which we have retained should this be required by the police. We have also made sure that the branch staff and regional manager have been made aware. Whilst we are sorry that this took place, we cannot accept responsibility for the incident.”