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That which hath gone before | That which followeth

Santander banking

Our joint bank account is the one originally opened by Mr D with the National Girobank (the Post Office) when he was 16. Some years ago, the Girobank was sold to Alliance and Leicester and things went on much as usual. Recently, the Spanish concern known as [expletives deleted] Santander moved in on the British market and hoovered up various concerns, among them Alliance and Leicester.

This was not a good day for anyone. Well, perhaps the fatcat board of Santander, but nobody else.

Back in June, I had problems with them when I was trying to pay the deposit on the house we have just bought. I found I couldn't do an electronic transfer of the amount required as it was too large. So I rang the bank.

This in itself is no easy task, because unless you do their crap telephone banking, you cannot jump through the hoops required to talk to someone. The only way to talk to a person is to use the number for general enquiries made by someone who is not privileged to be a customer of Santander. *holds up sarcasm sign*

Then there are the usual security question hoops blah blah blah.

So, the potted history of trying to transfer a lot of money in June: can't do it via internet (then what the fuck use is the internet banking 'service'?); can do it via telephone if they then call you back to confirm; ah - they can't do a call-back if some wanker hasn't written down your phone number properly; so you have to send a fax (who has a bloody fax machine at home?) with instructions, a call-back number, and photocopies of your passport and both sides of debit card; of course, it would be helpful if the bank's security service gave you a correct fax number as well as not lying about how long it takes for the money to go through; so you jump through the hoops on the phone to get a valid fax number and send everything again, only to find this number is as valid as the first; so you telephone (hoops blah blah blah) and are told that if you do it again to fax number #3 (fairy tale) it will go through in oooh about 4 days if they can be bothered. So you send a cheque, which is cashed without question. So much for modern technology and shiny modern wbanking methods.

We scroll forward in time to the now, and purchasing a car:

We have put down £500 as a holding fee on the car. Now we have to pay £7060.95 to bring it up to the pay-half, do the rest in installments level.

I telephone (hoops blah blah blah) the wbank to make them aware that I wish to spend an unconscionable amount of money on my card on Saturday. Oooh, they say (after security hoops blah blah blah), we don't really do preparation for things like that as such, but if you just make the payment on the day, we'll do a call-back and it'll go through. ALARM BELLS Ah, say I. And what number will you be calling at? Sure enough, the correct version of my French mobile number is not in their system, and it's a waste of time calling me at the MIL's. Well, say I, I will do it by electronic transfer, then. I can transfer up to ten thousand - right? Yes, says the [expletives deleted] wbanker. So I go ahead and do the transfer. The money goes out of our account.

I also take the opportunity to refresh our telephone numbers and address.

This morning I check the account again and find that while the new telephone numbers are there, the new address is not. I decide that I am not pleased with their continued inefficiency. I ring the complaints line. I am cool in my approach. They tell me that although I am looking at correct numbers on the internet, they are not - on the wbank's own computers. I tell them to correct their records and they do. They tell me it takes 48 hours for the address to change in the records. I tell them this is rubbish. They grovel and give me £35.

My MIL calls after lunch and says the bank called and want me to call them back on 0844 800 9000. I call the number. Effing telephone wbanking hoops. I decide to check the internet banking site to see if there is any trace of what is going on. I discover that I have been blocked. I see red and call the complaints hotline.

This is my money and they are not allowing me to use it. In my book this is theft.

I jump through the telephone and security hoops. I demand that my internet banking is reinstated. They unblock me. I ask what is going on. They whine. I say why didn't they call me on the numbers I have given them? Oh, they say, numbers have to be registered for over 30 days before they can be used for security purposes. I have moved house, I say for the umpteenth time - I have changed numbers. They repeat themselves in the apparent hope that they will sound less stupid a second time. I say: Oh, so it's really secure trying to talk to someone at a place I no longer live about my finances, I suppose? *sarcasm sign* I get another iteration. I snarl. They put me through to the security department.

Security dept make me jump through All The Hoops again and repeat the whole thing. Again. They say the payment, despite the fact the money has gone from my account, has not been made, and that the money will be back in 48 hours. In the meantime, I am to try to make the payment again. That is not good enough, I say. How am I to believe that the money will actually get back into my account? It just will, they say. This is the Way We Do Things. And when you make the payment again we will call you at ... I snarl. You will call me at a place I no longer live? Very secure, O Security Specialist. Oh, they say. Well, make the payment again and you will have no problems. I withhold belief but the conversation is fast becoming circular. I ask to be put through to whomever can deal with changes of address.

I speak to someone with a strong Indian accent who is polite but struggles both to understand or to make himself understood. It takes ten minutes to spell out my address, and even then I refresh the internet page - still open - many times before the new address (correct enough) appears. I ask to be transferred back to complaints.

Hoops blah blah blah.

Gormless girl doesn't want to answer me until I tell her whether it is a "level 1" or "level 2" complaint. I tell her I have no idea what that means and that I am on the same call as I had started 40 minutes before. She transfers me.

Hoops blah blah blah. I ask myself why they always ask the same questions. Surely if someone overheard my answers they could have stolen my identity by now. Ooooh, wbank security. *sarcasm sign*

Speak to a bloke. He makes various calls to various people to find out what the hell's been going on, during each of which I am obliged to listen to motivational music which, I refrain from telling him, motivates me more to violence than anything they might consider more constructive. It turns out that the security guy was misguided/lied when he told me I would be able to make the payment without a call-back to a number which is no longer valid. I point out - again - that I have just moved house and number. Am I to be denied use of MY money until I have waited 30 days? He repeats the things I have already heard dozens of times. "How am I to make the payment to get my car, then?" I enquire. I am to go into a branch (using, I assume, the mode of transport I do not yet possess) and do it. The money will then be transferred in 3 working days. This is not good enough, I say. I am informed that I can make a next-day transfer, but this costs £25. I see red(der). Then give me the £25, I say. He gives me the £25.

I ask about the certainty of my £7060.95p returning to my account. Oooh definitely, he says, within 48 hours. And where, I ask, will my money be during these 48 hours? And how can I be certain it will be given back to me? He says he will call me when the money is repaid. (Yeah, like I believe that one.) And in the meantime, I say, Santander is using my £7060.95p to earn interest for itself. I want that interest, I say. He wriggles and hums. I want that interest, I say. Finally he says that the wbank will discuss with me what I think is proper compensation when I receive my money.

I am getting to the point of explosion. I tell him that Santander will be losing our custom as a direct result of their shoddy and inefficient handling of my affairs. He gives the standard "I'm sorry you feel that way" response. What a banker, I think to myself. I tell him I appreciate it is not easy to deal with angry customers and thank him for his time - I will at all costs retain the moral high ground.

... Aaaaand whaddya know? They've blocked my internet access again. WBankers.

EDIT: I have made this post public, in the probably vain hope that it shows up in some google searches.



( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
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Aug. 17th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)

I would like to personally come over there and find those wankers and shake their tiny little heads until they rattle. The problem is, they are EVERYWHERE, and usually the ones chosen to answer telephones, and there seems to be nothing anyone can do unless we want to spend the rest of our lives using every resource we can find trumpeting their enormous ineptitude--except that THEY DO NOT CARE if we hate them, if we drop them, if we tell everyone we meet how awful they are, if we convince everyone we meet to find somewhere else (not that we have loads of choices, of course), if we pull all our support and money and business out, because, as it is rapidly becoming apparent, they do not need us at all.

Now, perhaps the hapless sap who answers our call (when they DO answer, that is) does in fact need us, but at the moment his/her puny and unreliable salary is not coming from us but from On High, where the "Leave me the Fuck Alone" sign has long been hung, and the phone-answerer (perhaps with a lofty title, but that is truly all the job consists of, that and saying "no" in eleven different ways) had no resources to offer, just a check to cash at the end of the a long and stupid day. And no thought about the fact that, eventually, after all hoops have been cleared and all the hoop-jumpers have dutifully given up and gone away, there will be no phones left to answer.

But it still doesn't make YOUR day any easier.

Cynical? Moi?

Aug. 17th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)

Can we clone Irish and get all her clones to answer the phones and straighten out the world?
(no subject) - irishredlass - Aug. 17th, 2011 10:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elise_wanderer - Aug. 18th, 2011 01:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - irishredlass - Aug. 18th, 2011 01:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dickgloucester - Aug. 18th, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dickgloucester - Aug. 18th, 2011 04:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 17th, 2011 06:43 pm (UTC)
*hugs you

This sounds horribly fucked up. I think banks have some of the most notoriously terrible customer service. Hope it all works out.

*hugs you again
Aug. 18th, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)
Hugs much appreciated.
Aug. 17th, 2011 07:37 pm (UTC)
not the first time i've heard this about santander - a friend here had her account blocked for no reason and they wouldn't even tell her why when she rang the security people. Get out of there is my advice to you as they will most likely fuck up again - like blocking access to your money when you're abroad for example.
Aug. 18th, 2011 04:21 pm (UTC)
I am sure they will fuck up again. Absolutely positive. Which is why we are casting around for a different bank.
Aug. 17th, 2011 07:59 pm (UTC)
A family member [being non-specific because of it being a public post] works in the Santander phone centre... I hasten to add more than 60% of staff in the call centres are NOT employed by Santander but are agency workers.

Of those 60%, more than half will only ever be trained on one aspect of phone call jobs. Others like my brother are trained on all... literally, every time you were transferred, if you'd originally got someone like my family member, he would have been able to do it all.

However, their staff in the bank (actually employed by Santander) are frigging idiots, who don't know their own rules... long story.

Nationwide, I love for in-banking and internet. However over the phone are bloody annoying... trying to cancel my cards when we got robbed was a nightmare. Idiots. I have to have my card number to do that apparently... *rolls eyes*

HSBC are idiots, in person... and for cold calling (took money out at airport... they kept phoning my home to find out why I took the money out... EVERYDAY even with my parents saying I wasn't in the country o.O) but when I phoned them, when cancelling my cards at same robbery as above, they were uber helpful and skipped some security things to make sure it was all done asap.

Overall, I love Nationwide... will stay with Nationwide... and unless they do something REALLY stupid, I will always be with them.

{{huggles}} I hope you get everything sorted... and the bank compensates you for messing up your payments for your car!
Aug. 18th, 2011 04:22 pm (UTC)
Might go to the Nationwide - though we have our mortgage with them and, well, eggs in one basket ...

Aug. 17th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
What complete and utter asses. I have NEVER heard of that happening. The sooner you can find a better bank the better IMHO.

Good luck.

Loves you, Sonia :)
Aug. 18th, 2011 04:23 pm (UTC)
I think it's relatively common with these idiots.

Thanks, hon.
Aug. 17th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
I knew there was a reason I abandoned Santander when they took over my Abbey National accounts (though I am still fighting to get free of some of their services).

Not that any of the other banks are much better. I use Nationwide (because it's still a membership-owned concern) for savings and investment), who seem to be OK except if you manage to lose your cards, Halifax (which I would not recommend, but we used them for our housing finance and they've not yet done anything quite annoying enough for us to move the joint account), and Barclays and HSBC for current accounts - the latter seem to be the only banks currently riding out the recession - probably by screwing their customers, but at least they have some reserves.
Aug. 18th, 2011 04:23 pm (UTC)
*sigh* It's swings and roundabouts.
Aug. 17th, 2011 10:23 pm (UTC)
What a fricking headache. I'm sorry that you've been given such a run-around. May the banking gods smite them with a mighty smite.

I bank at the small local branch of an FDIC insured bank where everybody in the building knows my name, and they are very competent. I wouldn't move my accounts to one of the "big banks" for all the tea in China. In fact I moved from the "big bank" I had used for decades because they had grown too big for their britches. They had begun buying and merging so fast that the turnover in personnel guaranteed lousy service.

Hope all is soon sorted to your satisfaction.
Aug. 18th, 2011 04:24 pm (UTC)
I don't think there is such a thing as a small local bank any more. Not here, anyway.
Aug. 17th, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC)
ACHE. OF THE HEAD. What is this fuckery, good grief.

This is so far beyond a cautionary tale it's moved into the realm of horror. I do hope you have recourse higher up the chain, because wow is it called for.
Aug. 18th, 2011 04:24 pm (UTC)
They are actually worse than BNPParibas.
Aug. 17th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)
Makes note of bank name... if I see this attached with MY money MY money is moving ASAP
Aug. 18th, 2011 04:25 pm (UTC)
Too right.
Aug. 17th, 2011 10:41 pm (UTC)
Give'em hell, oh daughter of Thor!

B has suggested going into a branch when it is crowded, asking to withdraw your entire account. When they refuse to (as they inevitably will, due to the amount) making loud comments along the lines of 'What do you mean, you can't let me have my own money? Have you run out? Is there enough for all these other people, or are you in some sort of banking crisis?' and see if you can start a run on them.

*sits back and keeps an eye on the news, just in case*
Aug. 18th, 2011 04:25 pm (UTC)
*has visions of single-handedly wrecking the western world. Um ... perhaps not.
Aug. 17th, 2011 11:07 pm (UTC)
I like eoforyth's idea! Definitely past time to get thee to a new bank.
Aug. 18th, 2011 04:27 pm (UTC)
Aug. 17th, 2011 11:25 pm (UTC)
read my post on facebook and then friend the bank's CEO and board. =)
Aug. 18th, 2011 04:52 pm (UTC)
Nice idea.

I couldn't find a post about this sort of thing, though. Facebook does my head in.
Aug. 18th, 2011 12:09 am (UTC)
I hate the Banco de Santander so much, and they are everywhere. I had to deal with them exclusively when I lived in, well, Santander, but I had no idea at the time that they were a many-testicled giant squid taking over the world with their shitty customer service.
Aug. 18th, 2011 04:52 pm (UTC)
Beautifully expressed.
Aug. 18th, 2011 12:11 am (UTC)
How absolutely appalling. Surely whoever has the authority to pull up your record and make one change should have the power to do it all, and simple things like changes of address should be instant!

~squishes you tight~

Sounds like changing banks is a very good idea.
Aug. 18th, 2011 04:54 pm (UTC)
I splutter. I really do.
Aug. 18th, 2011 01:18 am (UTC)
What utter nonsense!!!
I do admire your assertiveness and persistence. And yes you darn well deserve your interest!


And I agree with (what I think) droxy is inferring - take this to the VIPs - the CEO, board & trustees.
Aug. 18th, 2011 04:54 pm (UTC)
Yes ideed. I should. So far, I have contacted one of the national newspapers.
(no subject) - julesndairyland - Aug. 19th, 2011 02:24 am (UTC) - Expand
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( 48 comments — Leave a comment )