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  • FIRST POST
    • Former MSE Helen
    • By Former MSE Helen 6th Sep 12, 2:14 PM
    • 2,324Posts
    • 971Thanks
    Former MSE Helen
    MSE News: Santander U-turn saves free business banking
    • #1
    • 6th Sep 12, 2:14 PM
    MSE News: Santander U-turn saves free business banking 6th Sep 12 at 2:14 PM
    "Santander has scrapped plans to force 230,000 small business customers to pay a fee for a 'free forever' account ..."

Page 1
  • gogo123
    • #2
    • 6th Sep 12, 3:07 PM
    • #2
    • 6th Sep 12, 3:07 PM
    on reading this good news, i phoned the dedicated team that are dealing will this, and they deny this is happening and the fess will still be coming in force.

    Iam hoping it is the case they have not been informed yet, if it is, its pretty poor for them to put out a statement to MSE with out informing the people that are dealing with this .
  • gogo123
    • #3
    • 6th Sep 12, 3:50 PM
    • #3
    • 6th Sep 12, 3:50 PM
    just had a call back to confirm yes all account that are currently free will remain so
    • psdie
    • By psdie 6th Sep 12, 5:47 PM
    • 125 Posts
    • 84 Thanks
    psdie
    • #4
    • 6th Sep 12, 5:47 PM
    Congratulations and thank you!
    • #4
    • 6th Sep 12, 5:47 PM
    A massive thank you and word of congratulations to those that campaigned tirelessly on this issue, particularly Susievintage, magpiecottage and tinman9898 in this thread!

    Santander were clearly in the wrong from the very outset on this change, at very least on an ethical basis and very possibly on a legal one too (collateral material forming part of contract, etc, as expertly highlighted by magpiecottage). Good they've done the right thing eventually - though I see they continue with the weasel words:

    After listening to feedback from our existing customers, a small number of whom do not feel their businesses would benefit from these changes, we will be retaining the fee-free option for existing customers
    by Santander PR robot
    Small number compared with 80k account holders they'd written to so far perhaps (of which a significant number may have been held by same individual / company, or no longer actively used), but I've not seen a single customer report anything other than disgust at the proposal. This forum is just one of dozens of groups, threads, articles and Twitter discussions outright opposing the change.

    And that silly survey they totted out, saying customers wanted "more transparency" and better "business support"! What's the bet that that survey made zero mention that account fees would be necessary in order to make those changes? There's a big difference between "I'd like more support for my business" and "I'm happy to waive the fee-free promise if you ...". They just rang up, asked for a wish list, and used it as ammo.

    Finally, a word of warning: Santander make clear they will retain the fees for newer accounts and "welcome" customers to "upgrade" to paid accounts. It'd be very naive to think this is the last we'll hear of fee changes - I'm betting they'll gradually introduce additional stealth charges for free ACs now, such as increased service fees and withdrawing postage paid cheque deposit envelopes. The latter I think I read might even already be on the cards?

    Still, good news overall. Well done again all!

    PS: BBC's coverage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19506634
    • magpiecottage
    • By magpiecottage 6th Sep 12, 8:59 PM
    • 9,114 Posts
    • 5,584 Thanks
    magpiecottage
    • #5
    • 6th Sep 12, 8:59 PM
    • #5
    • 6th Sep 12, 8:59 PM
    Santander waving the white flag of victory (a term Margaret Thatcher used!).

    I recommend keeping your complaint running unless and until you get it in writing from Santander.

    And then, whatever you do, hang on to that letter!
    Last edited by magpiecottage; 06-09-2012 at 9:09 PM.
    • Justdesserts
    • By Justdesserts 7th Sep 12, 2:15 PM
    • 25 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    Justdesserts
    • #6
    • 7th Sep 12, 2:15 PM
    • #6
    • 7th Sep 12, 2:15 PM
    You bet!!!!!

    This proves once again, never assume the other guys know what they are doing!!!
    • magpiecottage
    • By magpiecottage 7th Sep 12, 3:40 PM
    • 9,114 Posts
    • 5,584 Thanks
    magpiecottage
    • #7
    • 7th Sep 12, 3:40 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Sep 12, 3:40 PM
    What I do not understand is why they thought they could get away with it.

    The Carlill case is quite a classic piece of contract law and FOS has numerous examples of how it has forced firms to honour promises on its website.

    It is possible that Santander is full of "yes" (wo)men but my guess is that somebody did tell the senior management who "heard what they said" but didn't listen.

    Santander UK plc had 3670 complaints about banking referred to FOS in the second half of 2011. It will be interesting to see how many there are in the second half of 2012.
    • MakeitgoRIGHT
    • By MakeitgoRIGHT 8th Sep 12, 9:11 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 39 Thanks
    MakeitgoRIGHT
    • #8
    • 8th Sep 12, 9:11 AM
    • #8
    • 8th Sep 12, 9:11 AM
    I recommend keeping your complaint running unless and until you get it in writing from Santander. And then, whatever you do, hang on to that letter!
    Originally posted by magpiecottage
    Definitely,

    AND THEN, start your complaint for compensation regarding all the time and expense of dealing with the fiasco.... searching for, applying for, and opening new bank accounts, for example. It takes quite some time sorting out. I am sure at the end of that next phase the bank will have to cough up about 250 to any involved -- something like that.

    As my rugger teacher used to say: "Never hit a man when he is down; kick him, it's safer and easier, and certainly don't wait till he gets up on his feet again in case he whacks you!"

    As for Thatcher, "A white flag of Victory"?
    No, whatever Thatcher may have smoking in her last few hours, a white flag is nothing else than SURRENDER. And Santander has been defeated publicly, and internationally. And expensively, too, if you just look at their envelopes/postage bill x80,000 accounts (I have had about 5x letters) plus all the call-in centre phone calls (I have had at least 4-5 of them) and promo, website mods etc etc etc. Must have cost them a bomb so far.

    That was a real plank idea, that was.

    That Spanish Armada has been sent back again with their tails between their legs. "They don't like it up 'em, Mr Mannering" (while we are on quotations).
    • bmtney54
    • By bmtney54 8th Sep 12, 2:26 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    bmtney54
    • #9
    • 8th Sep 12, 2:26 PM
    • #9
    • 8th Sep 12, 2:26 PM
    Yes a great result which shows that even the Santander can change their minds. Mind you I'm sure it had nothing to do with reason, fairness or listening to customers, more that so many of us had taken steps to involve the FOS and Santander could see the 's cost of that looming as they prepared to fight (and possibly lose) the case. Better to retreat with tail between legs that loose....

    Santander though have lost out. No doubt I am not alone in having removed savings (mine, my wifes and childrens) and more when accounts 'mature'. So my immediate family will have withdrawn c50k, which they will never see again.

    I have opened an hsbc account, while retaining the santander account, so will run both concurrently to see which performs best. The 'forever free' guarantee will be difficult to forego, unless santander make changes to their terms and degrade their already poor customer service even further. But I have enjoyed the fight santander and don't care what spin you put on it - you LOST, bigtime.
    • magpiecottage
    • By magpiecottage 8th Sep 12, 10:16 PM
    • 9,114 Posts
    • 5,584 Thanks
    magpiecottage
    A white flag of Victory"?
    No, whatever Thatcher may have smoking in her last few hours, a white flag is nothing else than SURRENDER.
    Originally posted by MakeitgoRIGHT
    I think she had her tongue firmly in her cheek when she said it.

    I'm sure it had nothing to do with reason, fairness or listening to customers, more that so many of us had taken steps to involve the FOS and Santander could see the 's cost of that looming as they prepared to fight (and possibly lose) the case.
    Originally posted by bmtney54
    I suspect they got one or two letters from adjudicators upholding complaints and thought again.

    I have opened an hsbc account, while retaining the santander account, so will run both concurrently to see which performs best. The 'forever free' guarantee will be difficult to forego
    Move all the direct debits and standing orders and reduce the balance to a pound and the account remains in existence.
  • adamfoster
    100 cheque limit
    I got my letter from santander, and there is a limit of 100 cheques in and 100 cheques out a month limit, I rung up and checked it was per month.

    I was about to move my account to HSBC and popped into Santander on the way to see if they'd changed their mind, and she told me they had a few weeks ago when it was on BBC website.

    The interest paid is lower for free accounts 0.1 instead of 0.25 and the authorised overdraft rate is higher too.

    Apparently if you complain to ombudsman they have to pay 500 admin fee and they faced 230k people complaining...
  • tim441
    well done... and thanks for all those that supported the effort with complaints to bank, MPs and ombudsman.

    I hope those that were willing to rollover have seen the error of their ways!
  • mikemundy
    Yes, I got my recinding letter today. Free for ever should mean just that.
    The Coop bank offer free business banking. Might just open an account with them, and just keep a few pounds in my Santander account, and move it about occasionally just to annoy them.
    • psdie
    • By psdie 19th Sep 12, 1:40 PM
    • 125 Posts
    • 84 Thanks
    psdie
    Ombudsman charge worked perfectly
    Apparently if you complain to ombudsman they have to pay 500 admin fee and they faced 230k people complaining...
    Originally posted by adamfoster
    Can I highlight that the Ombudsman system worked really well in this case - do something that !!!!es off enough customers and you'll be up to eyes in Ombudsman fees.

    It's clearly the financial cost that triggered Santander's U-Turn, given that they didn't consult with us or make the account "upgrade" optional, as should have been all along.
  • olddoozer
    The first letter I got from Santander made it pretty clear that the lady was not for turning and that they clearly thought they were offering me better value for money by charging me. I replied that they had not read my complaint and had just tried to fob me off with a stock answer. I told them that unless they changed their mind within 21 days I would go to Financial Ombudsman, Trading Standards, my MP and the BBC. The second answer was longer and more personalised to what I had actually said but again stated that they were going ahead with the changes. I then posted details of the complaint on the BBC Watchdog website and also did what somebody else suggested on here - emailed the chief exec of Santander a copy of my letter to their complaints dept. I suspect her email account was absolutely clogged with other people doing the same.
    I was just about to sit down and start writing my letter to the Financial Ombudsman when a letter arrived advising that the change was not going ahead saying, "following feedback from some customers, we understand the benefits of our new current account may not be appropriate....blah de blah." .
    I suspect that several people had already gone to the ombudsman and the cost was beginning to pile up. At 500 a complaint and based on a fee of 7.50 a month it would take them 5 1/2 years to get the 500 back - multiply that by 230,000 115m) and it wasn't looking like a winning strategy! So well done to everybody who got stuck in and complained.
    Incidentally if I chose to upgrade to the new account I could get an extra 0.15% interest on credit balances - about 17 a year for me; but only if I pay 90 for the privilege. Thanks Santander a truly compelling customer proposition!
    • susan47
    • By susan47 26th Sep 12, 9:04 AM
    • 60 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    susan47
    Thanks to everyone who helped make Santander change their minds. I had done some research to find an alternative business account but hadn't yet found a satisfactory one, although I had already transferred all my direct debits to another account, and practically emptied my business account. I had also written a letter telling them to close the account and so when their letter arrived telling me they'd changed their minds, they literally just caught me in time. They've lost out though and I won't be putting all the money back in that I had there before. It's about time that these banks learned to treat their customers more fairly.
    • MakeitgoRIGHT
    • By MakeitgoRIGHT 3rd Oct 12, 1:43 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 39 Thanks
    MakeitgoRIGHT
    After the surrender, has anyone started a claim for all the trouble they caused, getting businesses to change accounts?
    • bordercars
    • By bordercars 3rd Oct 12, 11:44 AM
    • 1,290 Posts
    • 594 Thanks
    bordercars
    I never received the first letter saying the charges were coming in, i havent been informed it's staying free either.

    abbey / santander free biz banking for over 7 years now, i was very nearly at the co-op.
    Div 1 Play Off Winners 2007
    CCC Play Off Winners 2010
    • magpiecottage
    • By magpiecottage 22nd Feb 14, 6:55 PM
    • 9,114 Posts
    • 5,584 Thanks
    magpiecottage
    A word of warning

    Santander are sending out letters which include a term which allows them to change the terms of their account and say, in effect, that if you do not accept it you are closing your account.

    I recommend you look out for it and, when it arrives, you send the following letter:


    Ms Ana Patricia Botin-Sanz de Sautuola y
    Chief Executive Officer
    Santander UK PLC
    2 Triton Square
    Regent's Place
    London
    NW1 3AN

    [DATE]

    Dear Madam

    Account Number [number]

    I refer to the letter I have received from your firm dated [date]

    Whilst I note the content, I would remind you that I opened my account on the basis that your firm offered "free business banking forever". In accordance with the law as established in Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. [1893] Q.B. 256 (C.A.), I consider Santander UK plc to be contractually committed to offering that facility to my business and it is an obligation that my business intends to hold your firm to.

    Therefore, notwithstanding any changes you now make to the terms of the account, you can neither introduce charges nor force the closure of my account.

    Yours faithfully.
    • Karamac
    • By Karamac 25th Feb 14, 6:31 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 60 Thanks
    Karamac
    Beware Abbey / Santander business account holders
    Along with magpiecottage, I'm sure Santander are doing their best to "lose" their remaining free accounts. The new changes in terms and conditions clearly state that if you don't accept the possibility (or should that be certainty?) of being transferred to another type of account then they can close your account.

    I used magpiecottage's template, put a letter in the post and copied in an email also to the CEO - less than an hour later, got a telephone call from my local branch, saying my complaint is being looked into, so emails are certainly being read!
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