Written on: 04/02/2012
I've had my reward account for nearly a year now. Last summer, £4000 belonging to someone else was paid into my account by mistake, and the first they knew about it was when I rang to tell them. Apparently the cashier had mis-typed the account number when paying in.
Having online banking facilities is great when you can't contact the branch during working hours; except for when you use it to cancel a standing order, only to have it paid anyway, and when you ring to complain you are told you need to call in at the branch to cancel it. When I asked what the point of online banking was then, if you couldn't actually use it, I was told with a giggle that she 'didn't understand online banking'. And she works in a bank?! As it was going to take the standard (and unnecessary, in the computer age) 5 working days to get my money back, and as I needed that money immediately, they very kindly offered me arranged overdraft facilities in the interim - for which they charged me. Always happy to pay for their mistakes.
Last Saturday night while I was out I decided to withdraw all my available cash for the following week, as I was near a cashpoint. I got the receipt, but no money, although my account was debited. On Sunday morning, I rang the unhelpline. They weren't even interested enough to take details. Apparently, 'procedure' meant that I had to call into the branch to fill in a form. I couldn't do it by ringing them, I had to go into the branch in person. Which I couldn't. I asked to speak to someone in charge, to complain about the procedure. I was told I couldn't. And no, they couldn't send me the form. We settled on the idea that my son would go in the following morning and collect a form for me to fill in, and return it on Tuesday, and that I would ring them to tell them this.
Which I did, explaining what had happened, and the gentleman on the phone agreed that my son could return the form. Except that when he got there, the manager told him that I was to sort it out myself over the phone, as THAT was the procedure, and that said forms didn't even exist. He gave me the number, saying it was open late. Which it was,but completely disinterested in my call, as they only dealt with overseas machines, and said that I would have to go into the branch to fill in a form.
Back went my son. But such forms didn't exist! My son told them what he thought of them. Enlightenment suddenly dawned on the manager's face. Oh, we meant an ONLINE form! Unfortunately, I would have to go into the branch to fill that in in person. And no, they couldn't send it to me or make it available online.
Hoping that I would be able to make it into the branch on Saturday, and living on (and paying for) an overdraft once again, I was relieved to see that the money had been returned yesterday, without me filling in anything.
Less relieved to find that my pay hadn't been, although it had according to my payslip. There's nothing they can do of course, my employer will have to trace it from his end, which won't be until Monday, and once again I have no money. Although not yet confirmed, my money's on the mistake being theirs, in particular the dyslexic cashier who once paid me someone else's money. Nothing like any of the above incidents have ever happened to me before in my 34 years of holding bank accounts, so it's a safe bet.
Think they're all too busy singing annoying songs in misleading adverts to care much about the customers, learn about their own procedures, or do their jobs properly. Get a little extra hassle with the Halifax. Their reward in the account might help offset your OD charges when you need them. But don't bank on it.