Bank Customer Service Levels
in Budgeting & bank accounts
12 replies 516 views
After reading so many anecdotes on this forum and other media about shocking customer service from certain banking institutions, coupled with my own recent frustrations with Virgin Money, I came across this page on the FCA website which reports on complaints data both current and historic.
I thought I would post a link on this forum for anyone who is interested. If there is already a pinned post on the subject, then moderators please feel free to move or delete my post.
The latest incident reported in today's media describes details of a £339,000 bank transfer made from one bank to another on September 9 this year. The receiving bank denies receiving the sum until this month following newspaper involvement and now admits that it was received on same day as the transfer was originally made. It just ponders amongst other things the question of how much money banks are carrying in suspense accounts pending investigation and eventual correct allocation
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1) These are self reported numbers and so the rate of complaints will be impacted by how rigorous a company is in ensuring every single "complaint" gets registered... if someone complains that the hold music has caused them distress one company may apologise and thats the end of it whereas another may log a complaint on the system.
2) The report doesnt consider how many complaints are vexatious or were upheld... some companies due to the nature of what they do will get many more complaints but will not uphold them. A former budget insurer didnt offer new for old and so got lots of complaints that the person couldnt afford to replace their 10 year old TV with what they'd been paid out but that was a feature of the product and so the complaint was declined on the grounds its not new for old
3) Your target market will influence the results... sell yourself as cheap and cheerful and you will get less complaints than if you sell yourself as high end/exclusive. Coutts get more than double the number of complaints about their products than their sisters RBS and NatWest... is that really that their service is so much worse or that HNW individuals just have higher expectations? Coutts uphold rate is much lower by comparison
Whilst it doesnt name names the FOS data can be interesting, particularly things like what their uphold rate is... for complaints on packaged bank accounts only 5% of complaints were upheld whereas 68% of Guarantor Loans were upheld. https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/data-insight/annual-complaints-data/annual-complaints-data-insight-2021-22
What many people dont know is that every decision by an Ombudsman for the FOS is published on their website and is searchable at https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/decisions-case-studies/ombudsman-decisions There are some redactions like the complainers name but the company thats being complained about is always identifiable (and searchable)
I took out a Sainsbury's Bank credit card this month. My card has so far been frozen twice, once before it had even arrived because I had the temerity to press the 'Add to Google Pay' button in their own app. They sent a letter which suggested that I was being investigated for fraud because of this! Called their awful call centre, awful call quality - 3 second lag, could hardly hear the agent. Card (which was still stuck to the piece of paper it came on that day) unfrozen.
Tonight I try to use the card for the very first time, at Sainsburys, and... declined. I call the number on the card, takes me all the way through security, then tells me they're closed. At 8pm. Their customer service closes at 7pm! Seemingly no other way to sort this, webchat, app... nothing. Call back tomorrow in office hours.
Poor. I can't believe HSBC wouldn't at least be able to unfreeze a card any time of day.
They have to go down as a complaint.
They have to go down as a complaint.
But the very fact that customers have to complain about the time kept waiting is indicative of the very poor customer service that is currently being offered?
Obviously some complaints have more significance than others, but, as above, long waits shouldn't be perceived by banks as acceptable customer service, so they should expect consequences for under-resourcing call centres (or any other points of contact to which your comment relates) - I recently had to contact one on a number of occasions over several weeks and rarely spoke to anyone within an hour of dialling....
I'd agree with HSBC being bad though. They are the worst bank I've dealt with. I had a string of issues last year, lasting into early this year and whenever I went into branch they told me to ring them, whenever I rang them they told me to go into branch.
Virgin money's hold times are ghastly, beating even HMRC, which takes a heck of a lot of doing. They also seem to frequently provide incorrect/contradictory information about their products over the phone. Their app is very slow. Although they sometimes offer decent savings rates and their online banking isn't too bad.
TSB's technical systems seem to go into meltdown a lot and struggle to handle anyone with more than one current account with them as each one creates a new profile. Although the staff do tend to be helpful though.
There are several other banks I've had issues with but the above are just a snapshot. At the end of the day, there will always be someone who has had a bad experience with each of the banks. If you avoided every bank that someone will tell you not to bank with, you'd end up with all of your money under a mattress.
Personally I just go with whoever offers me the best perks, be that a £2.5K 0% overdraft, £150 paid direct into my bank account, £15/mth for making debit card payments to myself, a 5.5% regular saver or a free magazine.