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Why do we put up with it?
This is a short & familiar tale of general bank ineptitude that I have just heard….
“It has taken half an hour on the phone speaking to four different people and I still haven’t managed to withdraw any money from my Santander ISA.
I started off logging in to the ISA account on line, thinking I could transfer the money electronically. But this facility wasn’t offered. So I clicked on “contact us” to find out who to ask. The only option that looked relevant was General Enquiries so I called them on their 0845 number, which means I pay a small premium over normal calls to talk to my bank about the problem I’m having with their web site.
After entering my security details, I was presented with my balance and asked if I wanted anything else – that would be quite likely since I called the General Enquiry line and not the “What is my account balance line?”
Anyway the very pleasant lady who then answered the phone said I should go to a branch or a cash point. I said it was an on-line account and asked why I couldn’t transfer the money electronically. She said I would need to set up the account I wanted to transfer the money to on the system. I told her that when I went to this option it gave me an error message. So she transferred me to the technical support line who would tell me how to do it and fix my problem.
The tech support person was also very nice and explained that this facility wasn’t provided for ISA’s but that I could make the transfer over the telephone. So she transferred me to someone who could do this.
So I was put through to a third, very pleasant lady, who asked me a long series of security questions before asking what she could do for me. She then asked me for all the details of the withdrawal and where I would like to transfer it to. I asked her if in future I would like to make a withdrawal what number should I call? She didn’t seem to know that I had been transferred to her – surely it would help them to understand customer’s frustration if they did? – and said this is the right number or I could call the ISA help line.
The transfer wasn’t done yet and she put me through to a gentleman from security who explained that someone else would have to call me later in the day to verify me for security purposes. This was because I hadn’t made a withdrawal from the ISA before, to the specified account. The fact I had other Santander products linked to that account was irrelevant.
The whole issue would have been resolved mush faster if when you log onto the ISA account there was an explanation saying how to withdraw your money. Do they think that by not explaining and making it difficult you will just go away and leave it there?”
I know this is by no means the worst case of its kind, poor info on web sites, staff who don’t know how the products work etc are common but I just wanted to use it to make a simple point.
It is obvious banks find offering poor customer service has little or no impact on their profits and unless we start to complain loudly and vote with our feet this is not going to change.