Monday, 15 December 2014

Barclays - sorry isn't the hardest word, resolution is, however...

This is a simple complaint against Barclays Bank PLC. My Mother, who has an account with them, into which her State Pension, her Attendance Allowance (she has vascular dementia, along with a number of other life limiting conditions), her Army Widows Pension, her Civil Service Widows pension, and her own occupational pension, are paid.

Through its own instigation, Barclays deemed that they needed to re-issue a debit card for her account - no reason given. They sent a text to my mobile phone, which is registered with them as the mobile number to contact, informing us of this, along with a contact number.

When I called the number, and as Barclays were not able to confirm the necessary security questions, from a lady with vascular dementia, and currently suffering from a UTI, and the additional confusion that entails, another text message was received - her debit card had been temporarily deactivated. A phone number to contact was provided - 0800, as usual. Needless to say, the call centre was not UK based!

Yes! I know! You're all going to say POA/COP or even a DWP registered appointee, none of which has been necessary before. Without a UTI, my Mother can normally, just about answer the security questions. And, sorry, out of respect, I'm not taking that ability away from her, until absolutely necessary.

Now we get to the crunch. During that first phone call, when they were unable to confirm the security questions, and whilst I was still on the phone (landline), they sent the text message informing us of the card deactivation. Naturally, I asked what I should do.

I was informed to go to a local branch, with two forms of identity, and they would be able to sort it out.

This I did, armed with much more than the two forms of identity. Upon presenting the debit card, and explaining the situation, I was told that the branch was unable to do anything about it, because their system was down! Even when pressurised into offering an alternative solution, none was offered.

When I got back home, I rang the original number, only to be told that the branch could have rung the same number to resolve the matter over the phone! So why didn't they offer it? Complaint number one!

Barclays claim to resolve complaints within five days. Not much use at this time of year, especially, as had already been pointed out, they were depriving an elderly, vulnerable and disabled person, of money which was hers, and which was required to ensure that her safety and care continued. I have to admit to using the word discrimination, on several grounds, and on a number of occasions around this time - to no avail!

By this stage, I'd heard far too much of the phrase "I'm sorry" from many representatives of Barclays, but no offer of a solution. Complaint number two came around this point.

Barclays are well aware of my Mother's situation, this is very clearly noted on her records, as a result of past contacts. Yet, they continue to ignore the simple fact, that they are complicit in denying an elderly person, nearing the end of her life, the pleasure of what may be her last Christmas!

C'mon Barclays! My Mother is not rich! She has little money, and what she does have, is hers! Or at least it was, until Barclays got their grubby little hands on it. Yes, you need to protect against fraud, but seriously? We're talking less than £2,000 here. What on earth is your problem?

Get it sorted, or this will go much further!

Being somewhat cynical, when my Mother's account was entirely under her control, thanks to the mail scammers, of the kind often reported on TV who target elderly people, it was perpetually overdrawn. Now that it is well managed, and in credit - we encounter problems. Aren't you earning enough in interest anymore - Barclays?

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