MSE News: Santander says 'sorry' for customer service chaos

edited 28 September 2010 at 6:20PM in Budgeting & bank accounts
73 replies 9.8K views
Former_MSE_GuyFormer_MSE_Guy Former MSE
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edited 28 September 2010 at 6:20PM in Budgeting & bank accounts
This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

"In a frank interview, the bank has apologised after MoneySavers voted it worst for customer service, and has promised significant improvements ..."


  • No mention of those of us swapping away from Santander. 2 months and counting and still they won't pass on the details.
    This is just another "poor us" excuse for an apology.
  • How long has that survey been out? Only a month? How come you get preferable treatment for a speedy response to a simple question?
    Santander are awful - mission in life is to warn people since 17-Sep-10, 18-Sep-10 realised one of thousands.
  • Here's a tip to possibly get some money back from Santander.

    I phoned to make a complaint about a payment being refused when I used my card.
    The answers I received were unsatisfactory, so I rang back a few days later, complained again and told them that I was not happy with their response. I asked to escalate the issue to the next level and have it registered as a formal complaint.
    The response was that if I did not insist on making it a formal complaint, Santander would pay me £50 instead.
    I accepted this and sure enough £50 was paid into my current account.

  • Complaints. I made a complaint to Santander today they did not deal with it but put me back to the department I was complaining about (bereavement service) who could not deal with my query no surprise as the computer's were down and could not put me back through to the complaints department. No wonder they have few complaints - they make it damn hard to make an initial complaint
  • They have a complaint form online - on Santander site I think you have to log in (I couldn't do as my complaint was not having access) - fortunately the A&L site is easier to get to. They don't respond by email but do eventually send you a standard letter - mine arrived the day after my second complaint.
    Santander are awful - mission in life is to warn people since 17-Sep-10, 18-Sep-10 realised one of thousands.
  • Mixed results with Santander. Got our mortgage with them and they were very good when we missed a payment (due to a mix up with Barclays).

    On the flip side though had 2 bad experiences with Santander, formely Abbey. A couple of years back my gf applied for an ISA and a cash card turned up in the post. Nothing more. Tried to take it up with them at their call centre but they wouldn't speak to her because she didn't have an a/c number. Helloooo?

    More recently, I applied for a pre-approved credit card. They sent a letter back wanting a history of previous addresses. Sent that off and haven't heard anything more. That was in the summer!

    Now my gf has been offered the same pre-approved credit card. We've applied for it and this time pre-empted the history of previous addresses query, and enclosed it on a seperate bit of paper. Lets see what happens.
  • Santander take the biscuit. I emailed 'em after WATCHDOG and they didn't reply! I had my bank cards nicked in Spain but although their English people told me I could get money up to £300 a day, the Spanish bank said it couldn't do any such thing 'cos their systems don't match up. It gets worse. They told me I could get a friend to send the cash via Western Union! Spanish bank was helpful , UK was spectacularly uninformed. Given they took nearly £10k off me in charges (which they still maintain was completely fair), I'd've thought some could have gone on fulfilling their promise for a worldwide, joined up bank. What a wunch of bankers...
  • GraceCourtGraceCourt Forumite
    293 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Where do I start with the problems we have had with Santander?

    We have £20,000 on deposit in ISAs with Santander that is frozen... they won't allow us to withdraw it because we have refused to go to one of their branches with identity documents. Why do we refuse? Because the initial ISAs were opened at the end of March 2010, just before the end of the financial year, when we had just concluded transferring a mortgage from Abbey (part of Santander) to Alliance & Leicester (part of Santander) and had sent copy passports and other ID documents (stamped and authenticated by our solicitor) for that purpose. Santander stated that we were required to do it all again (!) because their IT systems required it - we had failed their internal money-laundering checks. An insider told us that the problem was the incompatible systems... one had us with middle initials only, and the other had the full middle names.

    I refused, and pointed out that we only had days to get the ISA opened before it would be too late (end of tax year). I spent over an hour on the phone and eventually a supervisor "forced through" the account opening. I then transferred the money from my bank (HSBC) and... Santander rejected it back to my bank! HSBC rang me the same day, knowing that the end-of-year was imminent, and I told them to retry the transfer. I then wrote to Santander asking why the payment had been rejected, and they denied that it ever had! I pointed out that the relevant entries were shown on my bank statement, and that HSBC would have records of their actions, but Santander maintained that it never happened because ... it wasn't shown on their systems.

    A week later, we applied for 20010/11 ISAs with them... guess what? We would have to go to one of their branches with copy ID documents to prove our ID because we had (again!) failed their internal money-laundering checks. I again pointed out the madness of this, but they wouldn't hear of it, and told us that the accounts would not be opened until we did so. By this time, we had paid over £20,000 to them, so it is stalemate: we have formally advised them in writing that, at the time we wish to withdraw the money plus guaranteed interest, we will commence proceedings against them to obtain payment if they refuse to do so - no District Judge will entertain their nonsense about requiring multiple ID checks with identical nominal details over the space of a few weeks. I asked them if they are complete slaves to their IT systems or whether anyone at managerial level had the authority to make a sensible decision... they did not respond.

    Oh, did I mention that this situation has been made more complicated by the fact that we cannot receive e-mails from them because their mail servers are improperly configured? Without getting too technical, their SMTP mail servers are sending mail from non-existent accounts, so our SMTP mail server rejects it as spam - unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail (the vast majority of spam is sent from non-existent addresses). We have even sent them copies of server logs together with detailed explanations of the problem and the requirements of RFC2822 - the technical standard set by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for internet e-mail, but so far they've ignored these.

    So if you aren't getting any reply to your e-mails from a bank within the Santander Group, now you know why - any ISP using sender callout verification will not accept e-mail from a non-existent account and that's exactly what Santander (Abbey, Alliance and Leicester, etc.) are doing.

    The final example of their incompetence comes from my elderly mother-in-law, who opened a £10,000 Savings Bond from them a couple of months ago... she can't receive e-mails from them either, for the same reason, and the instructions for paying money in are sent by ... yes, e-mail! She has repeatedly contacted them asking them to post the details to her so she can pay the money in, but without any response, and this is now the subject of a Financial Services Ombudsman complaint so that she can be awarded compensation for lost interest. Despite repeatedly telling them about the e-mail problem, and forwarding numerous complaints to them about it, she has had nothing whatsoever from Santander, not even an acknowledgement.

    We haven't bothered with the FSA complaint because it's inevitable that our dispute will end up in the County Court, and we can show that they received the account applications and the money, as the balances are showing online in the frozen accounts. The fact that they have had £20,000 in limbo for six months, awaiting us to prove our identities yet again, is evidence enough that the administration is in a shambles.
  • tgontgon Forumite
    710 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker Mortgage-free Glee!
    lininjim wrote: »
    No mention of those of us swapping away from Santander. 2 months and counting and still they won't pass on the details.
    This is just another "poor us" excuse for an apology.

    Same here and for the same amount of time. Really fed up with "the problem must be at their end..." Once? Twice? Three time maybe? This is really taking the p*** :(

    After months of the most stressful and most arrogant service I've ever experienced from a bank I should consider defaulting on all my DD's and set them up again at my new bank when contacted!! (only joking but seems the most certain way I can escape the despair!)
  • edited 28 September 2010 at 11:07PM
    AnonymousForObviousReasonAnonymousForObviousReason Forumite
    461 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    edited 28 September 2010 at 11:07PM
    Okay, I read it first time - thought I was over reacting, so just replied to a comment, went away watched some TV, came back and reread.

    Okay the bloke is a C:mad:ck . Lots of that he's blaming systems out of their control or saying the customers are at fault.
    "We have done something no-one has done in the UK in merging three banks and there have been some bumps.
    Maybe that's for a good reason you idiot! Anyone can tell that if you take on work beyond your competence you're going to fail. Why not take one on at a time? Do it properly then move on, you could prepare the work for the others at the same time.
    "But many of the major problems are now behind us and some have been fixed and we look forward with confidence.
    Right, why so many people upset? Our mistakes I guess, angry over the great service we're getting, next we'll be told it's the customers fault. :rotfl:
    "Some people also misunderstood account numbers, which were changed, so couldn't log in. Others tried to log in when the service was down for three to four hours on the same day and even longer on big migration days [when large numbers of A&L accounts became Santander accounts].
    Oh, okay ... wow you did actually go down the route of saying it's our fault. :( Guess it's customer is always right, unless they say we're not very good for denying them their money, at which point it becomes their fault.
    One was the data held by A&L. It had a different approach to allowing third parties to deal with accounts than Abbey and when that was transferred it caused problems which meant some people who thought they had access couldn't log in because we did not feel confident, for security reasons, to allow them access.
    Wow so you couldn't do any basic assurance or testing before you made the changes? What is meant by "some people who thought they had access couldn't log in" does that refer to the idiots that have always been able to log should realise they wouldn't be able to? Or are you saying that you purchased a bank which allowed third parties to access accounts in a way you thought opened them up to fraud and theft but didn't do anything about it, or you didn't notice the issue for all those months? Were they (Santander) criminally negligent or are they lying?

    Etc, etc rant over here.
    Santander are awful - mission in life is to warn people since 17-Sep-10, 18-Sep-10 realised one of thousands.
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