One over on the banks
June 2, 2006
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I’m borrowing my deposit from my parents, because I’m pathetic and never managed to save anything. Anyway, my parents wrote off to Barclays, with whom they have an ISA (though after this debacle I suspect it will soon be a case of they had an ISA) and requested the withdrawal. It’s supposed to take five working days to get the money. When they hadn’t heard anything after two weeks they called up… and were told that withdrawals were currently taking 4-6 weeks and that their staff were currently processing requests from April (this was mid-May). Oh, they could get their money using a bankers draft but that costs about £30 – yes, Barclays wanted their customers to pay to get access to their own money.
So Dad got sneaky. He called up their sales line and pretended he wanted to set up an ISA. He listened to the sales patter, including the promise of getting hold of your money within five days. At the end he did the big reveal, pointed out he already had an ISA and why were they misrepresenting the product?
Silence on the other end.
He ended up talking to supervisors, and it turned out that nobody had told the sales team of the backlog. Dad hung on for some time while a supervisor ran off to check what was happening; when he came back, he was told that if went into the local branch the next day, there would be a free bankers draft waiting for him. And so it proved: the staff were expecting him and took him into an office (presumably so they wouldn’t have to have such an embarrassing – for Barclays – conversation in public). Fair play to the staff member though – he said he wished more people would kick up a fuss.
So there you go! Next time you get screwed over by a large institution, ponder how you can get round the system. Usually works.