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(Paging Barclays experts) Blacklisted for fraud, no recourse given

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Budgeting & Bank Accounts
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trienttrient Forumite
52 posts
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Budgeting & Bank Accounts
(I've posted about my situation before but at that time I was on the wrong path, I hope it's ok if I open a new thread to start clean)

Last month I tried to open a current account online with Barclays. I was told they needed to review my application. I went in branch. They opened the (premier) account just fine, but a few days later they closed it. They did not provide any reasons other than referring me to page 11 of the T&C's which gives a list of reasons including fraud/money laundering (this seems important, see below).

While my account was still active I received a letter saying my online application had not been approved, "The main reason for this decision is our assessment of how you've managed credit commitments with other lenders and based on this information we're unable to provide the facility you have requested. We've made our assessment based on information we've received from a credit reference agency. In reaching this decision we've used a process called Credit Scoring. The main reason for this decision is our assessment of information received from a credit reference agency and based on this information we're unable to provide the facility you have requested."

Background: I had been trying to get an account with them for quite some time (because of their ranking, premier rewards, and mortgage rates). So I may be on a hiding for nothing here, but I'm really trying to understand what they think they know about me - partly because I find it a nice detective challenge, but also to get myself covered in case there's some incorrect information sitting somewhere, that might hurt me even more in the future.

My full credit reports from all three CRAs show no problems whatsoever. So I went and SARed Barclays, CIFAS and the two fraud prevention services - National Hunter and Synectics Solutions. CIFAS, NH and Synectics all came clean. Synectics had no applications from Barclays, while NH had all my previous Barclays applications, all marked clean, with no inconsistencies.

Barclays' response however.. was mind-boggling. They sent me a huge file which among other thing had what they call "notepads" - essentially, internal notes posted on my customer profile. Here is my applications timeline along with the matching notepads - fascinating (yet terrifying) insights. I hope someone with Barclays experience can help "decode" my case.

  • 2017 May: applied in branch, rep got my details but told me the application had to be reviewed. I haven't heard back from him. A few weeks later I contacted him, he told me my application was rejected but he could not provide a reason.
    15/05/2017 - notepad code "risk", title "risk product", text "For bank information only. Please do not process any further applications for this Customer. There are no products available. Any queries please contact the Fraud Telephony 0345xxx", created business unit "Barclaycard Northampton" (I live in the South-East, and never applied for a credit card with them)
  • 2017 July: applied in another branch, was immediately told my application was rejected. I assumed this was because I did not have enough address/credit history in the UK (I'm an EU national).
    18/07/2017 - notepad text "Customer come to branch to set up an account but advised that is not possible as he does not qualify and do not fulfill the criteria"
  • 2018 October: applied online, got rejected. Went in branch, premier rep sent my details for manual review, told me later the application was rejected again.
    09/10/2018 - notepad code "risk", title "risk product", text "R170 policy decline, main applicant. Client started application on-line for convenience however it was declined with the R170. Wondering if client clicked on a yes and its suppose to be a no hence giving that code. Seen all the accounts he has opened since he came to work and live in UK: main account at the moment is with XXXXX - all run well with xxk balance, have Vanquis Bank - seen all 6 mos bank statements - all run well, XXX account - run well and Amex Preferred Gold Card ALL ACCOUNTS RUN WELL. Experion report seen. Client would like to transfer banking to Barclays as will be applying for a mortgage. He has worked in Finance Operations Consultancy for XXXX. Is a family man with a X year old girl. Salary XXk basic"
    10/10/2018 - notepad code "risk", text "Please ensure this application is resumed within Fullserve. GCR are unable to sanction this application due to the following: <<Please refer to decline decision code SR34 using the 'decode it' tool on KIT. If further information is required please contact Fraud Operations through Barclays Chat. They can be located by searching for 'Fraud Ops HD NonCard Helpdesk'>>. Please ensure this decision is delivered to your customer.", created business unit "RTB CUST REL 0"
  • 2019 July: see first two paragraphs. They incorrectly sent me a blue debit card instead of the (black) premier account one, so I phoned them up. They apologised and said they would order the correct one. At this point the account was working fine, but I suspect it was this request that tickled the fraud team once again, see below:
    18/07/2019 - notepad code "risk", title "risk product", text "Customer is new to bank, however would like a black premier card", created business unit "RTB CUST REL 0"
    19/07/2019 - notepad code "risk", text "Please ensure this application is resumed within Fullserve. GCR are unable to sanction this application due to the following: <<Please refer to decline decision code SR34 using the 'decode it' tool on KIT. If further information is required please contact Fraud Operations through Barclays Chat. They can be located by searching for 'Fraud Ops HD NonCard Helpdesk'>>. Please ensure this decision is delivered to your customer.", created business unit "Union Plaza" (this seems to be an office in Aberdeen!)
    22/07/2019 - notepad code "risk", title "security", text "Internal call, customer verified as above. Advised MOS to speak to CCCT about above notepads regarding card declining", created business unit "Barclaycard Northampton" (again!)
    22/07/2019 - notepad code "servicing", text "Card upgrade application declined as per above GCR note pad. Do not progress and do not attempt reapplication, appropriate teams have been contacted and further correspondence will be issued in due course", created business unit "RTB CUST REL 0"
    22/07/2019 - notepad code "risk", title "risk product", text "H2 NTC 1 Day. For bank information only. Frauds 3 case ref: XXXXX. Account blocks and a notice to close advice have been applied to this customer following an internal investigation by the AFDT see branch KIT. Please do not remove cautions or advise customer that cautions have been applied. The customer should be advised to refer to the account product terms and conditions which enable this action without preadvice to the customer. If a complaint originates from our cautions log at level 1 and escalate to level 2 requesting that this is immediately sent to UK Banking Risk Advances Fraud Falcons. In the event of difficulties with this customer please phone Non Plastic Telephony 0345 XXX option 2. FP H2. GFMNTC1 process initiated.", created business unit "Barclaycard Northampton"
    23/07/2019 - notepad code "consumer finance", text "H2 NTC. For bank information only. NTC issued 23072019, NTC expires 23072019, immediate closure decision made by bank following an internal investigation by the AFDT see branch SID. The customer should be advised to refer to the account product terms and conditions which enables this action without preadvice to the customer. If a complaint originates from our cautions log at level 1 and escalate to level 2 requesting that this is immediately sent to UKB Risk Adv.Frfalcons. Please fax written complaints to CW XXXX XXXX. In the event of difficulties with this customer please phone the Falcons 0333 XXX option 2.", created business unit "C F (U)"

So Barclay's statement about the credit reference agencies/scoring is bo**ocks. For some reason they seem to think (internally) that I've committed some serious fraud (since 2017 or earlier), and on that basis they keep rejecting me. But since they're not transparent (read: lying) about the reason, they're not giving me a chance to defend (I have never committed any fraud in any country, so whatever they think they know is wrong).

Following the closure last month I filed a complaint. Their answer was to pay me £150 for the inconvenience (paying the fraudster, go figure) but the rep also told me on the phone she saw no reason why I couldn't apply again in 6-12 months. Given what I'm seeing in the notepads I'm sure at this point for all intents and purposes I'm blacklisted - but what can I do about it? How can I find out more about why they think I've committed fraud, and clarify the situation? Should I try to call the numbers mentioned in the notepads and discuss with the Falcons? Go to the FOS?

Thank you for your time reading so far, would appreciate any insights!
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Replies

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User]
    0 posts
    MoneySaving Newbie
    They can choose eho they do and don’t want to make custom with.

    You, for whatever reason, don’t fit their criteria.

    FOS won’t make them change their minds.
  • xlnc99xlnc99 Forumite
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    IT looks like internal. For whatever reason they think you did something dodgy. I would just ignore them and apply elsewhere cause it doesnt look like they reported it to anyone i.e CIFAS so its just internal.

    Plenty more banks around, you should open with ease.

    If you did do something dodgy then best to leave it alone because if you keep pestering them they may just add the note to CIFAS. IF you are 100 convinced you didnt then bombard them with emails to get to the bottom of this. Start by emailing the CEO and executive office.
  • colstencolsten Forumite
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    I agree with xlnc99. Take your business elsewhere - the Barclays products aren't so wonderful and unique, anyway.

    Pure speculation on my part: They might have turned you down because of your occupation ("He has worked in Finance Operations Consultancy for XXXX"), or because of who you work for. Although a bank don't really need any reason for not wanting you as a customer. It would be a real issue if you couldn't get any account and/or mortgage anywhere else, but it appears that the only bank who don't want you are Barclays.
  • FlobberchopsFlobberchops Forumite
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    I would advise against trying to investigate too deeply looking for rhyme or reason as it's unlikely to be a fruitful use of your time. When dealing with bureaucratic monoliths (like a multi-departmental bank, for example) there may arise inconsistencies; remember that the exact rationale behind internal investigations is not divulged even to other bank staff outside of the decision-making department. The frontline staff then have to work with incomplete information and may do seemingly contradictory things like offer financial compensation or give confused information about eligibility to apply in future.

    I would warn against characterising this as "lying" or a deliberate, malicious attempt to deceive. Remember Hanlon's Razor: never attribute to malice that which could be as easily chalked up to error.

    If your credit files are clean, then it's possible Barclays made a mistake. Either raise a complaint with them (although remember they have no obligation to accept you as a customer, or give any reason for rejecting you) or shrug and choose a different bank.
    I work for a UK bank, but any comments made on this forum are solely my personal opinion. Caveat Emptor!
  • trienttrient Forumite
    52 posts
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    xlnc99 wrote: »
    If you did do something dodgy then best to leave it alone because if you keep pestering them they may just add the note to CIFAS. IF you are 100 convinced you didnt then bombard them with emails to get to the bottom of this. Start by emailing the CEO and executive office.

    Nope - positively, definitely didn't do anything dodgy. That's the whole point - I want my name cleared even if it's only for Barclays internal investigation. But since they're upholding a decision initially made in 2017 they must be pretty certain about it, so I'd like first to understand what is this fraud they think I committed. The reason why I posted all those notepads is because they transpire some seriously dodgy stuff - they're rife with warnings to the other teams about how to deal with the "difficult customer". Makes me feel like I'm on the most wanted list.
    colsten wrote: »
    Pure speculation on my part: They might have turned you down because of your occupation ("He has worked in Finance Operations Consultancy for XXXX"), or because of who you work for.

    I was a bit overzealous redacting that bit. I actually worked for many years for some very high-profile charity organisations - if anything that should have worked for me not against me. I currently work for a reputable large IT company (as a matter of fact, Barclays are one of my clients there and I've done some pretty good stuff for them - feels queasy how they're returning the favour).
    colsten wrote: »
    It would be a real issue if you couldn't get any account and/or mortgage anywhere else, but it appears that the only bank who don't want you are Barclays.

    One other thing I noticed in the SAR file is that they had the full details (bank, sort code, product) of 2 of my other bank accounts - one of them opened earlier this year (not part of the full file I gave them in 2018 to demonstrate how well I was running my accounts). Are account details not private information? Are banks allowed to share these? If they do, it could be just a matter of time until Barclays might damage my profile with other banks (without using CIFAS).
  • trienttrient Forumite
    52 posts
    10 Posts First Anniversary
    I would advise against trying to investigate too deeply looking for rhyme or reason as it's unlikely to be a fruitful use of your time. When dealing with bureaucratic monoliths (like a multi-departmental bank, for example) there may arise inconsistencies; remember that the exact rationale behind internal investigations is not divulged even to other bank staff outside of the decision-making department. The frontline staff then have to work with incomplete information and may do seemingly contradictory things like offer financial compensation or give confused information about eligibility to apply in future.

    Fair enough, that's why I'm hoping that someone here can shed some light on what that codes might mean and how I could have a straight, unmediated dialogue with their advanced birds of prey department.
    I would warn against characterising this as "lying" or a deliberate, malicious attempt to deceive. Remember Hanlon's Razor: never attribute to malice that which could be as easily chalked up to error.

    Hanlon's razor was not exactly about error, but yes, I need to amend my statement - I'm not saying they are lying per se, just circulating incorrect/incomplete information. I am sympathetic with the lack of communication between the relevant departments, but in the end they should be more receptive to customers especially if they insist they've done nothing wrong.
  • colstencolsten Forumite
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    trient wrote: »
    One other thing I noticed in the SAR file is that they had the full details (bank, sort code, product) of 2 of my other bank accounts - one of them opened earlier this year (not part of the full file I gave them in 2018 to demonstrate how well I was running my accounts). Are account details not private information? Are banks allowed to share these? If they do, it could be just a matter of time until Barclays might damage my profile with other banks (without using CIFAS).
    It's information held on your credit files, along with your overdraft limits and any negative balances. Sort codes and account numbers have been printed on cheques for several decades..............
  • trienttrient Forumite
    52 posts
    10 Posts First Anniversary
    colsten wrote: »
    It's information held on your credit files, along with your overdraft limits and any negative balances. Sort codes and account numbers have been printed on cheques for several decades..............

    As far as I can tell credit files only have bank names, not sort codes and account numbers. I obviously understand that account details need to circulate as part of doing banking, but when you never transacted with a bank before and they already hold that information about you in their customer profile, isn't that a bit odd?
  • colstencolsten Forumite
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    trient wrote: »
    As far as I can tell credit files only have bank names, not sort codes and account numbers. I obviously understand that account details need to circulate as part of doing banking, but when you never transacted with a bank before and they already hold that information about you in their customer profile, isn't that a bit odd?
    You're wrong. The sort codes and account numbers are held on your credit files. It's not odd at all that a bank know about your credit file information because you have given them explicit permission, during the application process, that they can read & store the details they find about you on your credit files.
  • SystemSystem
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    They don't want you as a customer as is their right as a business -
    they gave you the £150 to get rid of you - I suggest you don't attempt to read more into it.

    Since they haven't placed something like an external fraud marker - there is nothing you can do and attempting to challenge their internal processes isn't likely to be fruitful.
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