This complaint letter just resulted in £300 compensation…. and a bottle of wine. Never let big companies "get away" with bad service!!
20th April 2014
To Whom it May Concern
I am writing to complain about the, frankly, disgusting insulting service I have received from Natwest in recent weeks. I would imagine that a lesser woman than myself would have been broken by this situation, but I'm staying strong. for the sake of my children.
Having been a Natwest customer for approximately 8 years, I am incredibly disappointed with the way in which I have been treated and the sloppy, shoddy and unprofessional way that the majority of your useless staff that I have had the misfortune to speak to about this complaint (the original issue plus the subsequent complaints that are being added as we go along) have dealt with my situation.
The original complaint is thus- make sure you are sitting down, it goes on a bit….
I have recently started up my own company, and, having my personal account with Natwest, decided that I would open my business account with you too- remember that bit in Pretty Woman where she goes back into the shop and says "Big Mistake, Huge".. yes, well that about sums up that decision. I made an appointment to see someone at the Holborn Circus branch on the 21st March at 2pm. I made it EXPLICITLY clear that I wanted to discuss the following- My Savings account, my ISA, my mortgage and I also wanted to open a business account. I confirmed with the call centre person that I wanted to discuss Business AND personal issues in ONE meeting as I did not have time to attend two separate meetings. I was assured this would be the case.
Why I believed this, I do not know, but I did. I attended the meeting on the 21st March and was appalled at the level of knowledge your "adviser" had- he wasn't even aware of the new NISA's bought in by the government in that month's budget. He then informed me that he could do nothing with my mortgage (currently with NRAM) as I had only just become a LTD company and therefore didn't have years' worth of accounts that are needed to take out a Natwest mortgage- could I not have been told that on the telephone when I booked an appointment??
After much discussion, we agreed that I would move my Santander ISA (£XXXX- year 2013/14 allowance) over to a Natwest ISA. I would also then put the full amount of this year's ISA allowance into the new Natwest ISA too- and I would get 1.5% for locking in for 2 years. I filled out and signed the transfer form and gave my permission for you to transfer the funds and close that account. This would all happen when the new allowance came in on the 5th April. I write this letter on the 20th- it still hasn't been done. More on that later.
I then moved on to my business account- only to be told that the adviser "wasn't on the business team and couldn't help me". The rage was obviously beginning to show by now- after all, I was talking about moving all my worldly goods over to this bank, and you seemed to not be able to even get the simplest job done- make me an appointment with the right person! I was then taken to another room, where the adviser called someone in the business team- a woman called Pretty, who opened the account over the phone for me- I was assured by the other adviser that I had a "good credit score" with natwest so it wouldn't be a problem- I needed a business account, business savings account and credit card. I was told I would get all the details for the newly opened account through the post within 5 days.
I was left alone in this room, and when I was finished, I let myself out- I was in the back rooms of your bank with no supervision, open computers and all sorts of access to personal data- this is NOT how I would expect a financial institution to behave- appalling security!! I left the branch without speaking to anyone or being challenged. I considered a bank heist but I was late for Yoga.
Because of the ineptitude of the in branch adviser, my ISA has STILL not been transferred- meanwhile I am losing out on interest on a daily basis.
I was eventually given a business account- it took over 2 weeks to get the details through, and 3 unreturned phone calls. And I was given a foundation account due to a credit check that didn’t go in my favour. Like a child that can’t be trusted. To say I am annoyed is an understatement.
I would NEVER have opened a business account with you had I known this was going to be the case- and don't tell me that you "don't know who will be accepted and who will be rejected until you credit check"- your in-branch adviser told me I had a good score. Maybe he isn't good at giving bad news. Or saying goodbye to customers. Or much else.
Cut to the 8th April, which is when I started making a note of all of my exact points of contact with Natwest, although there were plenty of calls made by myself to you before that, and my ISA has not been transferred. I call through to "Joanna", who PROMISES me a call back within 24 hours- and I lodge a formal complaint. During this I am cut off 3 times and passed through 4 people
I hear nothing for 3 days.
Friday 10th April- I call AGAIN. I speak to "Kiera"… she PROMISES to contact me within 24 hours about the complaint- she says it hasn't even been logged/passed on to the right people.
By now I am furious- and understandably so.
Tuesday 15th April- (yep, still no call from the complaints team) I call again- I am passed pillar to post, no one knows what is going on- I am asked to explain the complaint AGAIN and AGAIN by everyone I speak to. after 10 minutes I have got nowhere are am considering slitting my wrists.
I take time out to calm down, consider necking a bottle of vodka to get me through the next call, and call back (unfortunately sober) I end up through to a call centre in Manchester. I am sent through to 3 different departments and finally get through to Mustafa… who asks me to explain my complaint. Again. I finish the call in a heap of frustration on my kitchen floor, close to tears and trying to find some hard liquor to drink at 4pm. This is too early even for me.
Weds 16th April- Pretty calls from the business team- how am I finding my new account? After asking her whether she is joking, I discover she knows nothing about the complaint. She asks me to explain. I tell her to "look it up and get back to me". She never calls back- maybe she could hear that I am a woman on the edge and she decides to play it safe. Maybe she is now working in Tesco, hoping that I will never be able to track her down.
Thursday 17th April- I call again- I am promised, by a lovely, ineffective young man that he will put me through to the right department- he kindly re-routes me through to the original recorded message that I had already sat through.
I hang up and consider whether it is possible to live a life that doesn't involve bank accounts. I decide that it's not possible unless I become a fugitive- which is actually on the cards as I don't see what other choice I will have after I have taken my planned revenge on Natwest. I am too soft for prison.
I had pretty much given up on ever contacting you again- until today (20th April)- when, whilst I was trying to get the last two seats on a flight, you BLOCKED my debit card due to "suspicious activity". That "suspicious activity" was me booking flights. Last year I went abroad 11 times- this is NOT suspicious activity. Suspicious activity would be me NOT booking flights. You have done this countless times- please take this as an official request that you NEVER block my card without calling me FIRST. Not after, which is what you did today. I missed getting the last two seats on the flight I needed and had to pay £60 extra to fly with another airline.
Which brings me to my final point- here is what is going to happen, you are going to-
Transfer my Santander ISA, as previously requested (without me having to go back into a branch to sign ANOTHER form)
Look into my complaint and respond FULLY in writing
I expect all of this to be done by the close of play (that's 6pm to most of us, but, conveniently, 5pm to your business advisers- why? Maybe they have yoga too.) on the 25th April.
I then expect you to do the following-
Compensate me for the missed interest on said ISA- whatever the amount I have missed out on PLUS compensation
Compensate me for the amount of time I have spent trying to solve YOUR ineptitude - my day rate is £XXX, I believe this situation has taken around 2 days of my time so to date (assuming I don't have to do ANY more chasing, I am invoicing you for £XXX
Compensate me for the extra flight costs- £60
Explain the situation with my business account- I have no savings account, no credit card and a foundation account- and also every time I call Natwest, I get asked about my business debit card rather than getting through to the main menu straight away- please stop this, it is BEYOND irritating
To send me a full and formal apology
In return, I will graciously accept all of the above and stop lying awake at night, planning your downfall.
If this situation is NOT resolved by 6pm on the 25th April- I will be putting a copy of this letter onto my blog (readership 2,500), sending a copy to every National newspaper, every consumer rights group, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, the Financial Ombudsman…and my Mum. The latter is the scariest, I assure you.
I very much look forward to hearing from you. It would be a first.
PS- The only reason this letter is being sent by traditional post is that your online form does not allow characters such as “!”, “% or “?”- making it nigh-on impossible to complain online. Clever.