Bank errors and how to seek redress is a problem we all face from time to time, and a friend of mine had a bad experience involving a property purchase.
This points to a blog I wrote about ‘How Not To Handle A Concern‘ which went global and viral and accounted for about 25% of all hits in January 2019.
My friend bought a flat to let and the purchase was due to complete on a Friday. He had to visit the branch to arrange it, complete the security checks and verification due to the sums involved and arrange for the payment to be made.
The payment was made and he was charged twice. It came to light afterwards that he could have avoided all costs if the payments were made in multiple smaller tranches.
He found that the payment charge had been duplicated by checking his account status online, which prompted him to ring the call centre in India to try and resolve it. As we all know, trying to remedy problems of any sort via this route is a lost cause. It simply exacerbates the problems you are trying to resolve, so he went back to the branch the following day.
As luck would have it while waiting, he was able to pick out the staff member who initiated the payment. The staff member openly admitted to making the mistake and suggested that he speaks to his solicitor to seek a refund! That lit his fuse and he responded by saying, “No, I tell you what is going to happen. You are going to refund that amount to me here and I want to speak to your Manager for f**king me about”.
The staff member went to speak to his Manager. He returned moments later with the Manager watching over, offered a grovelling apology, a refund of all bank charges and £20 as a goodwill gesture.
People make mistakes. It is usually accepted with grace by those on the receiving end if those that make a mistake acknowledge and accept it, offer a sincere apology and rectify it. However, to expect a customer to approach their solicitor to try and get the excess fees reimbursed for bank errors is taking liberties and as my friend said at the time to this staff member, “I’m not running around for your stupidity”.
This is what is known in the trade as a service failure. Banks generally have an allowance of up to £50 for goodwill gestures to remedy bank errors, although this can stretch to £100 for clear regulatory breaches particularly involving Data Protection matters.
There is a lesson to be learnt here in resolving a complaint.
Stand your ground and hold the staff member to account, escalate it, get the issue resolved with an apology and compensation for the inconvenience.
Likewise, this staff member ought to have known better and whilst he acknowledged that he had made a mistake, he should have offered to put it right and offer an apology and a goodwill payment without being forced to.
FOB OFFS AND CONSUMER RIGHTS
Fobbing customers off won’t wash as consumers are increasingly aware of their rights and how to seek redress. Some have taken a leaf out of my book and saved fortunes by doing so.
We are talking about a long-standing customer who has held a six figure sum on deposit for quite some time, and it’s easier to retain an existing customer than to try and get a new customer. In an era where everything is much the same, customer service is the only variable and that can make or break a firm in the long run.
Whilst this has been remedied, the experience has left a sour taste and bad experiences travel much faster than good experiences by word of mouth and social media.
Have you had similar experiences? if so, what was the outcome?