Which is the best/worst customer service bank?' Aug 2011 poll discussion

Former_MSE_Dan Former MSE Posts: 1,595
1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
Which is the best/worst customer service bank?

Every six months we ask you for your customer services experiences with big banks. That time’s rolled around again, and we’d love your feedback based on how they've been recently.

Please vote based on CUSTOMER SERVICE, not rate, on your MAIN CURRENT ACCOUNT over the LAST SIX MONTHS.


For each of the following banks - Barclays, Co-Op, First Direct,
Halifax Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Lloyds, Metro Bank, Nationwide
Natwest & Royal Bank of Scotland,Santander and Alliance & Leicester
- we want you to rate it based on the below:

I’m usually in-credit – GREAT service in last 6 months
I’m usually in-credit – OK service in last 6 months
I’m usually in-credit – POOR service in last 6 months
I’m usually overdrawn – GREAT service in last 6 months
I’m usually overdrawn – OK service in last 6 months
I’m usually overdrawn – POOR service in last 6 months

click 'post reply' to discuss below. Thanks :)

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  • Pmarmalade
    Pmarmalade Forumite Posts: 175 Forumite
    edited 16 August 2011 at 12:39PM
    Oh dear... it's looking like Santander still haven't sorted their biggest complaint out?

    I have a couple of ISAs with them but (thankfully, it would seem) have never had to deal with them over the phone.

    My main account and credit card are with BOS and they've been fantastic over the last 6 months and the previous 10+ years :)
  • Martinslovechild
    Martinslovechild Forumite Posts: 1,560
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Martin, you may as well have asked 'Do you think Santander are pants?'

    Yes ●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●● 100%
    No 0%
    Mortgage Feb 2001 - £129,000
    Mortgage July 2007 - £0
    Original Mortgage Termination Date - Nov 2018
    Mortgage Interest saved - £63790.60
    ISA Profit since Jan 1st 2015 - 98.2% (updated 1 Dec 2020)
  • minerva_windsong
    minerva_windsong Forumite Posts: 3,808 Forumite
    Halifax, in credit, and what I would describe as 'good' rather than just OK service in the past six months - I moved to London a few months back and they were very quick at getting everything sorted on their end in terms of address changes etc.
    "A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." - Tyrion Lannister
    Married my best friend 1st November 2014
    Loose = the opposite of tight (eg "These trousers feel a little loose")
    Lose = the opposite of find/gain (eg "I'm going to lose weight this year")
  • abbeygirl
    abbeygirl Forumite Posts: 4 Newbie
    Martin, you may as well have asked 'Do you think Santander are pants?'

    Yes ●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●● 100%
    No 0%

    So unfair, I have had great service from my local branch of Santander. Staff are really helpful and go out of their way to help if any queries on my account. Have however been into the branch when very rude customers have been quite abusive to staff members who I must say handled the situation very calmly.
  • Martinslovechild
    Martinslovechild Forumite Posts: 1,560
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited 17 August 2011 at 11:20PM
    abbeygirl wrote: »
    So unfair, I have had great service from my local branch of Santander. Staff are really helpful and go out of their way to help if any queries on my account. Have however been into the branch when very rude customers have been quite abusive to staff members who I must say handled the situation very calmly.

    Where do I begin?

    The service which I have received from Santander on a number of occasions has fallen substantially below the level which I expect from a bank, and has resulted in my needing to take time off work, write four separate letters of complaint and also make lots of phone calls.

    In just one example, I experienced a catalogue of issues with Santander when attempting to make a debit card payment to purchase a new vehicle.

    In summary, I originally spoke with their Fraud Prevention Department two weeks prior to the purchase of the car, explaining to them that I would be making a purchase amounting to £27,000 at some point during the following fortnight; they logged a note on their system indicating this information.

    Following this, I then spoke with the car dealer and asked him if they needed me to pay for the vehicle in advance; he told me that there should be no need, that most people simply pay using their Switch or Delta card on the day and that this is not normally problematic.

    I arrived at the car dealer at 1.15pm some ten days later. I attempted to make the payment of £27,000 shortly after this time, which was declined by Santander.

    At this point, I called the Fraud Prevention Department number to speak with somebody who would be able to assist. After being on hold for nearly 5 minutes, somebody answered who took me through security and then told me that they could see no reason for the transaction to be declined. They even suggested that I should try the transaction again the following day, but I explained that this would be impossible since I had driven 80 miles to the dealer. They then told me that they would need to pass me through to Card Services.

    At this point I was passed through to what I believed to be Card Services. I was asked to clear security again, which I did, and the assistant then told me he couldn’t see any reason for my transaction to be declined. He then told me that I would need to speak with somebody in Card Services. I told him that I thought I was already speaking with Card Services, but the assistant told me that I was talking to a different department and he would need to transfer me. He then proceeded to transfer me and my call was abruptly cut off.

    As I didn’t have a direct number for Card Services, I redialled the original Fraud Prevention Department number with the intention of asking somebody to transfer me. After some 10 minutes, somebody eventually answered and I asked them to transfer my call. My call was transferred to another internal Santander number which then played a pre-recorded message before again cutting me off.

    I then redialled the Fraud Prevention Department number once again, this time remaining on hold in the queue for over 40 minutes. Nobody ever picked up my call during this time.

    At this point, I dialled the Telephone Banking number and spoke to a girl in Glasgow. Once again, I went through security and she confirmed that there was no reason why the transaction had been declined. She suggested attempting lower value amounts, splitting the £27,000 into three payments of £9,000. I did this whilst she stayed on the line and the first payment attempt was declined. She then suggested attempting four amounts of £6,750 and again these were declined.

    At this point, the girl suggested that she would speak with one of her colleagues in Card Services. After several minutes, she told me that she would need to transfer me through to them. I spoke with the assistant in Card Services whom asked for a number of security details. He then asked me for a number of digits in my password; I asked him to which password he was referring and he told me that he couldn’t tell me!. Not being sure of exactly what he was looking for, I guessed the four letters of the only word which I could remember setting up as a password – and he told me that these were incorrect. I guessed another four letters and again he told me that these were incorrect. At this point, he explained that my account was now blocked and that I would need to visit a Santander branch with some ID so that they would be able to authorise the transaction.

    At this point, I had already been in the dealership for nearly 3 hours. I had already had to speak with my Manager to arrange to take a half-day holiday as I had originally expected the entire transaction to take less than 1 hour.

    I then drove the 2 miles to the nearest Santander branch and explained to them all of the above. The counter clerk didn’t seem to understand why I needed to visit a branch but spoke to the Branch Manager who advised her to telephone Card Services (their involvement seems to be a common theme here!).

    The counter clerk telephoned Card Services and spoke to a guy called Michael, whom didn’t seem to understand my request but I explained to the counter clerk that it was Card Services who had instructed me to visit a Santander branch in the first place and if I did so then the amount could then be authorised. After some 15 minutes in the branch, Michael asked the branch clerk to speak with me. He told me that he’d updated the system and that I should now go back to the dealer and the amount should now be authorised without problem. Michael also gave me the telephone number for Card Services “in case of any further issues”.

    I drove back to the dealer and asked them to re-attempt the £27,000 payment, explaining that Card Services had told me that the account should now go through without any further problems. The dealer attempted the payment and it was again declined.

    At this point, I dialled the Card Services number which Michael had given me and I spoke with somebody who appeared to be in India. Once again I had to clear security, only to be told that he couldn’t see any reason for the transaction being declined. At this point, I was becoming seriously annoyed. I explained to him that I was unable to access my own money in my own account, that I’d driven 80 miles to perform what should be a simple transaction and that I needed to speak with somebody who was going to assist me in sorting this whole sorry mess out once and for all.

    He told me that he would need to pass my call through to his Supervisor, somebody called Andrew, whom had a Scottish accent. At the same time, the dealer was talking with the card transaction company (Streamline) who were also asking for security information. I was talking with both people at the same time as I refused to end the call with Andrew until the process was finally resolved.

    The contact at Streamline told the dealer that she needed to speak with me as she was on the line with Santander, whom were asking for a number of my security details. I gave her the required details which she went back to them with. After several minutes, she asked for further security details – four characters from my password – the very piece of information which had caused me to have to drive to the Santander branch earlier.

    I told her that I wasn’t sure of my password and this was the reason I had been instructed to go to the branch. The lady told me that I was incorrect and that I had been told to visit a branch to change my password. I said that this was completely wrong – nobody had mentioned to me at any stage that I was to visit the branch to change my password, only that by visiting the branch with ID the transaction for £27,000 could be authorised.

    I gave her four characters of the only word which I could remember using as a password and following this, I was finally given an authorisation code which the dealer was able to enter into the Chip & Pin machine, enabling the transaction to be authorised.

    The entire process took over 4 hours, from 1.15pm to 5.30pm, involved speaking with many different members of Santander staff, many different departments, visiting a Santander branch, and taking the entire afternoon off work.

    In short, this “experience” was the Afternoon from Hell and seriously dented my confidence in Santander, so much so that I applied for a First Direct account the following day.

    Andrew in Glasgow was the only person I spoke to during the entire day who offered any kind of apology and said that he would stay on the line whilst the Dealer was speaking with Streamline just in case there were any further problems.

    This is only one of several examples where Santander cocked up. In addition:-
    • I stopped receiving interest for three months on my current account - with no explanation.
    • I was charged for going overdrawn - except that my balance was positive for the entire period!
    • New payments set up on the website subsequently failed to appear on my payments list although the website reported that the payments had been “set up successfully”.
      When I contacted Santander about this, I was told that this was down to a 'server error'.
    • Direct Debits went missing during the account transfer process, despite a letter from Santander indicating that the transfer had been 'successful'.
    • Difficulties setting up new standing orders on the website were only resolved following a discussion with the call centre (i.e. it is impossible to set up a new standing order from a date which is later than the current or following month, e.g. June 1st as the website prompts only for a day number rather than the month & day number).
    • I am unable to contact the call centre by any means other than telephone as no secure messaging facility is available through the website.

    I have been with First Direct for over a year now. Here's my list of problems:-
    • Not a single issue
    Mortgage Feb 2001 - £129,000
    Mortgage July 2007 - £0
    Original Mortgage Termination Date - Nov 2018
    Mortgage Interest saved - £63790.60
    ISA Profit since Jan 1st 2015 - 98.2% (updated 1 Dec 2020)
  • Greenfly_3
    Greenfly_3 Forumite Posts: 33 Forumite
    I had an account with Abbey, as it was then, and my Mother had one with NatWest. I obtained a Power of Attorney on behalf of my Mother. A little later I moved to a new house. I then proceeded to open a current account with Abbey for my Mother. I had to supply a copy of the PoE. No problem, all went well. Then.... I started receiving letters from companies saying that my direct debit had failed. My debit card was rejected in an ATM. I phoned the bank to be told that they couldn't talk to me as my account had been frozen. My salary was going in but they were not letting anything out.

    My local branch said that they could not help me as my account was frozen and that I would have to write to their fraud department. I eventually received an answer. When the PoE was registered with them, it had my old address on it. The bank, in its wisdom, changed my address back to the old address. They then sent mail to that address which was returned to them. They then froze the account until such time as I would contact them, but as I have said, they would not talk to me.

    A different branch manager finally sorted it out for me, but wouldn't give me a letter to send to my direct debit firms.

    I left Abbey for Nationwide. No probs here.
  • dave82_2
    dave82_2 Forumite Posts: 1,328 Forumite
    I have tried HBOS but they didn't give a toss.
    I tried Cahoot but trouble was afoot.

    I am with First direct and......

    I love you baby and if it's quite alright....
  • sandieb
    sandieb Forumite Posts: 728 Forumite
    I'm always in credit - excellent service from First Direct
  • LimeLight
    LimeLight Forumite Posts: 8,038
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    Can't say i've ever had a problem with Santander.

    Apart from staff members in a certain branch in the city centre where they seem to dump all the anti-socials from other branches.
    just passing through.... Nothing to see....
  • kiki98
    kiki98 Forumite Posts: 26 Forumite
    I opened my main current account with Alliance and Leicester and whilst they were still in control recieved absolutly no problems what so ever. However since moving over to Santander the problems have begun!I have to say it's without a doubt the worst customer service I've ever recieved from any company.

    I went for dinner one Friday with friends and upon trying to pay on my card the transaction was declined, checked my online banking immediately on my phone as I knew I had been paid that day and saw that a large amount of money had gone out of my bank leaving me overdrawn! Obviously I was very worried, my friend had to pay for my meal and I rang Santander immediately whilst still sat in the restaurant.
    The man told me that he had spoken to the fraud department and it looked like an old cheque i had written when my account was still with A&L I informed him that this couldnt be the case as when I opened the account online I didn't request a cheque book and therefore have never had one for that account. He said he'd make a note of my comments and that it had to be passed on to be investigated I asked how long it would take and he told me 48 to 72 hours at the most, obviously I would have liked it resolved immediately but I'm a realist and the timescale seemed acceptable. He took my mobile number and after hanging up I recieved a text with a reference number.
    I rang back the following Monday hoping for an update and was told there was actually no record of my call and no claim had been raised on the system!! I explained I had a reference number and was told it couldnt be found still. This time I was taken through a completely different process asking for certain details and things I was assured a freeze had been put on my account so to get money out I'd need to go to a branch with ID and was told a claim would be raised immediastely and again 48 to 72 hours.
    I rang again on Wednesday to double check everything was going ok this time to be told once again that she couldnt see a record of any kind of claim being raised! She assured me that it would be raised immediately and she would put a rush on it for me. I rang again that afternnon to check and to my relief was told she could see that yes a dispute had indeed been raised!
    I had already at this point had to take time off work to pop to the nearest branch to put money in my account so I would no longer be overdrawn. Then on the Friday I had to again take time out of work to go to a branch to take money out once my wages had gone into my account.
    I rang again the following monday as it had been 72 hours to ask what the outcome of the investigation was only to be told that actually my dispute had not been investigated at all yet! I was told again if I rang back in 48 hours it would be resolved and I would have my answer. I rang again on the Thursday firstly explaining that I was going away for the weekend and needed to be able to use my card to pay for things so wondered if the freeze could be removed. I was then told that actually there was no freeze on my account and it didnt seem there ever had been!! So my time of work and journeys to the bank had been totally pointless!
    I rang again on the Thursday night and was told that finally my claim had been resolved to my immense relief however the only people who could tell me the outcome were the fraud department who are only open between 9 and 5. I was going away for the weekend so the next time I could ring was Monday morning.
    So I rang Monday morning and at first was given another number to ring which I did and after being on hold for a while was put through to someone who didnt seem to know what she was doing and took about 15 minutes to take me through security. Then she said yes that's fine we can see thats a transaction you've authorised so your account won't be blocked! After asking what the hell she was going on about she said I'd been put through to her she assumed about a large transaction I made the day before!! I told her no I wanted to speak to someone about a dispute I'd had raised two weeks ago! She informed me I was on the wrong number and I had to ring the other number again!
    When I did I was told that my claim was still being dealt with but she could see it had been 12 days (it had actually been 17 since I first rang) and she would send an e-mail as that was unusual! I asked to speak to a manager and was told a manager would ring me back after gathering details and it would be no longer than 30 mins. I waited all day for a phone call which never came!
    Rang again today (day 18) and was told that my claim was still being investigated and because it's a cheque claim not a card one they dont put timescales on those! I explained that the first person I spoke to knew it was a cheque and I had mentioned numerous times on phone calls prior to that one that it send 'cheque debit DSN' on my online banking and was still always given various timescales. I asked why yesterday I was told 12 days was unusally long and he said I should never been informed that!
    I am still awaiting a phone call back which I was assured would come today but I'm not holding my breath, once this matter has finally been resolved I'll most definitely be switching banks, santander are absolutly useles everytime I ring I'm told a different thing and I'm now fed up of it!
    March £5 a day challenge - £48.56/£155
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