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These damned bankers... a plea for advice

including wills and probate
4lex
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These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#310836

Postby 4lex » May 22nd, 2020, 5:39 am

tldr; bank demands I go to a branch to unlock account with significant balance; I can't. Complaints process and ombudsman no use.

Hello folks. About a year ago I seemingly rashly tried to transfer a small sum of money to my sister, a woman who shares our family's surname which is unique in the UK. TSB decided this was so suspicious it immediately locked down all my accounts and turned off my internet banking access. There really is nothing more to it, absolutely no suspicious activity beyond the fact that I rarely transacted on this account.

I'm out of the country. Every now and then when I could tolerate doing battle with the call centre drones I've been trying in vain to reach anyone who can make a sensible decision, but they always resort back to 'pop into a branch with ID' and simply cannot conceive that this isn't an option.

I had eventually conceded this would have to be the case and had intended to be in the UK in March, but that's obviously not worked out. I've tried their internal complaints process, which simply doesn't work. They do claim to have called me, and I do regularly get calls from withheld numbers with the caller requesting personal details 'for security', but if they did indeed call they actively refused to give me any reason to believe the caller did indeed represent TSB - indeed no-one has even claimed to be calling from TSB, mostly leaving it as 'the bank'. There is supposedly no number I can call to reach them.

The ombudsman took nine months to advise that the bank had satisfactorily completed its complaints process by insisting I visit a branch in person, and seems frankly to be yet another toothless organisation.

I've even tried the consulate to see if they could help, they just put me on a waitlist for a repatriation flight and offered to lend me money for a ticket - seemingly unable to consider matters outside of the virus.

Thanks for reading this far. If you have any sage counsel as to how I can approach this matter it would be well received.

Cheers,
Alex

GrahamPlatt
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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#310842

Postby GrahamPlatt » May 22nd, 2020, 7:10 am

Is there some way you could give your sister power of attorney, then she can go into the bank.

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#310871

Postby bungeejumper » May 22nd, 2020, 9:00 am

Sounds like the kind of issue that the problem-solvers in 'serious' financial newspapers like to get their teeth into. Try Claer Barrett at https://www.ft.com/personal-finance , she has teams of legal eagles and other useful people who get their rocks off by dealing with these specialist issues. Expats and other non-residents' problems are all part of their daily grist.

BJ

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#310901

Postby UncleEbenezer » May 22nd, 2020, 9:59 am

I wouldn't hold out too much hope, but ...

Logically speaking, what they need is someone they trust to verify you are who you say you are: namely the owner of this account. The consulate seems an obvious choice, but given that they're an agency of the British government it was perhaps inevitable they'd turn out to be useless!

I wonder if a Notary Public wherever you are might work as a commercial alternative? You go physically to their office, they verify your passport, and then undersign your identity in an internationally-recognised form. If you're somewhere like the US where notaries are ten-a-penny, it might even be cheaper than the £40 I once paid one for a simple few-minutes job when the alternative would've been long-distance travel.

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#310908

Postby kiloran » May 22nd, 2020, 10:09 am

UncleEbenezer wrote:I wonder if a Notary Public wherever you are might work as a commercial alternative? You go physically to their office, they verify your passport, and then undersign your identity in an internationally-recognised form. If you're somewhere like the US where notaries are ten-a-penny, it might even be cheaper than the £40 I once paid one for a simple few-minutes job when the alternative would've been long-distance travel.

Or a Justice of the Peace, if such a function exists in the OP's location

--kiloran

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#310911

Postby swill453 » May 22nd, 2020, 10:14 am

Send a letter instructing them to close your account(s) and send the balance by cheque to your home address.

Scott.

4lex
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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#310933

Postby 4lex » May 22nd, 2020, 11:00 am

Thanks very much everyone.

@Graham - good idea, but not an option.
@bungeejumper - great, thanks, have emailed Claer, see if she's interested.
@unclebeneezer & kiloran - have tried to send docs by registered mail, these were actively refused RTS.
@Scott - also this. letter returned undelivered.

I'll post back if Claer's prepared to weigh in :)

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#310941

Postby swill453 » May 22nd, 2020, 11:11 am

4lex wrote:@Scott - also this. letter returned undelivered.

Try sending it normal 1st class post. By sending it in a covering envelope to someone in the UK first if necessary.

As Clitheroekid advises:
It's far better just to use normal first class post (though it's sensible to obtain a certificate of posting). There is a legal presumption that this will arrive on the second working day after posting, so that the burden of proof shifts to the debtor, who has to convince the court that it did not arrive. This is virtually impossible to prove, and, especially when a judge can see what sort of character he's dealing with, such an argument would hardly ever succeed.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=22713&p=298740p298740#p298740

(Not quite the same context I know).

Scott.

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#310956

Postby yorkshirelad1 » May 22nd, 2020, 11:34 am

swill453 wrote:
4lex wrote:@Scott - also this. letter returned undelivered.

As Clitheroekid advises:
It's far better just to use normal first class post (though it's sensible to obtain a certificate of posting). There is a legal presumption that this will arrive on the second working day after posting, so that the burden of proof shifts to the debtor, who has to convince the court that it did not arrive. This is virtually impossible to prove, and, especially when a judge can see what sort of character he's dealing with, such an argument would hardly ever succeed.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=22713&p=298740p298740#p298740
.


I always chuckle with this presumption by the legal world when posting anything is no longer any guarantee of arrival, nor within a reasonable time. Relying on this idea is simply out of date. And there is now a generation that simply does not hae a concept of how to use traditional old fashioned letters (I offer in evidence, m' lud, an incident where I was walking past the post box outside the local post office and there was a late teens/early 20s person holding an envelope and a stamp. He stopped me and asked me where he should stick the stamp on the envelope....)

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#310990

Postby redsturgeon » May 22nd, 2020, 12:51 pm

Moderator Message:
Moved to here from the Snug. Shadow left there.

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#311018

Postby vagrantbrain » May 22nd, 2020, 1:34 pm

LinkedIn is good for identifying the major players in an organisation, a bit of detective work can usually identify the email format they use within the organisation which appears to be firstname.lastname@tsb.co.uk Maybe a polite but firm email to the Customer Banking Director (Robin Bulloch), the Customer Delivery Director (Gary Jones) or the CEO (Debbie Crosby) might get past the 'computer says no' bureaucracy layer.

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#311034

Postby BrummieDave » May 22nd, 2020, 2:01 pm

vagrantbrain wrote:LinkedIn is good for identifying the major players in an organisation, a bit of detective work can usually identify the email format they use within the organisation which appears to be firstname.lastname@tsb.co.uk Maybe a polite but firm email to the Customer Banking Director (Robin Bulloch), the Customer Delivery Director (Gary Jones) or the CEO (Debbie Crosby) might get past the 'computer says no' bureaucracy layer.


I almost posted similar earlier but then got distracted.

If ever I'm struggling to progress something through an org I just Google the name and email of the CEO, and write politely asking for their help. Most banks have a small team working for the CEO's office specifically to investigate such requests. They are likely to resolve it and offer a few bob as a goodwill gesture.

This approach isn't limited to complaints either. Just last week I copied Andy Bell at AJ Bell on an email thanking a member of staff for providing what I considered to be very good service. It was before well before 8am, so earlier than his staff would be working, and Mr Bell replied within 9 mins, thanking me and copying the employee's manager.

I had a similarly swift response from the (father and son) Chairman and MD of Timpsons a few years ago, when I wrote to them one Friday evening. They asked if they could read out my email at the staff member in questions forthcoming retirement gathering.

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#311071

Postby kiloran » May 22nd, 2020, 2:52 pm

BrummieDave wrote:
vagrantbrain wrote:LinkedIn is good for identifying the major players in an organisation, a bit of detective work can usually identify the email format they use within the organisation which appears to be firstname.lastname@tsb.co.uk Maybe a polite but firm email to the Customer Banking Director (Robin Bulloch), the Customer Delivery Director (Gary Jones) or the CEO (Debbie Crosby) might get past the 'computer says no' bureaucracy layer.


If ever I'm struggling to progress something through an org I just Google the name and email of the CEO, and write politely asking for their help. Most banks have a small team working for the CEO's office specifically to investigate such requests. They are likely to resolve it and offer a few bob as a goodwill gesture.

I'd second that. I had a problem with Lloyds and could not get around the "computer says no" responses from the local branch and the telephone help(?)line. A snailmail letter to the CEO brought a very fast and satisfactory resolution from one of his staff.

--kiloran

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#311075

Postby BrummieDave » May 22nd, 2020, 2:56 pm

kiloran wrote:I'd second that. I had a problem with Lloyds and could not get around the "computer says no" responses from the local branch and the telephone help(?)line. A snailmail letter to the CEO brought a very fast and satisfactory resolution from one of his staff.

--kiloran


A neighbour of mine does that job for Lloyds (deals with complaints that are sent into the CEO's office)

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#311091

Postby bungeejumper » May 22nd, 2020, 3:38 pm

BrummieDave wrote:
kiloran wrote:I'd second that. I had a problem with Lloyds and could not get around the "computer says no" responses from the local branch and the telephone help(?)line. A snailmail letter to the CEO brought a very fast and satisfactory resolution from one of his staff.

A neighbour of mine does that job for Lloyds (deals with complaints that are sent into the CEO's office)

You can make that three!

I had a serious run-in with Lloyds a few years ago, when their debt management division was phoning us at all hours of the day and night in pursuit of a total stranger who had once lived in another town entirely, but at a similar street name to ours. Just to make things more interesting, this particular lady was a former mayor of the town, but it seemed that she'd done a runner to Spain. Oh, the things that go on in small country towns! :lol:

But the debt-chasing was getting seriously irritating, because every time we told the debt collection people that we weren't her, they refused to speak to us, and hung up, and then phoned us again 12 hours later, ad nauseam. They just wouldn't deal with the fact that their records were faulty. Anyway, one very sharp snailmail letter to the CEO (vaguely threatening an action for harassment), and we never heard from them again.

Half a mark to Lloyds, then, for sorting it. And minus fifty for the forty-odd times they didn't. :evil:

BJ

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#311189

Postby GrahamPlatt » May 22nd, 2020, 7:13 pm

Have you thought of getting yourself a digital signature? Some banks will provide one for you, for a fee. Then using this in your communications with TSB (cc chief exec).

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... idance.pdf

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#311210

Postby JonE » May 22nd, 2020, 8:37 pm

GrahamPlatt wrote:Have you thought of getting yourself a digital signature?
May not be possible. Like the OP I am not UK-resident and the EU country in which I reside has still not authorised a service provider (though an outfit has been confirmed for the job).

Cheers!

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#311230

Postby sg31 » May 22nd, 2020, 10:16 pm

I find a critical post on Twitter quickly gets a response. I've used it a few times and 80% of the time the company concerned has bent over backwards to resolve the issue that I couldn't resolve any other way. Most large companies monitor Twitter and the like to protect their 'good reputation'.

Admittedly I've not tried it with a bank so far but if they have a way of contacting you, email address or phone number it could be worth a shot. In the words of Donald Trump "What have you got to lose".

( My apologies for not providing a reply that uses the law)

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#311385

Postby AF62 » May 23rd, 2020, 12:22 pm

4lex wrote:f you have any sage counsel as to how I can approach this matter it would be well received.


Do what the bank asks and the ombudsman has determined to be reasonable, which is to go into a branch with ID when you are next in the UK.

You have triggered their anti-money laundering rules.

Nothing you can say to the "call centre drones" (hmm) will make any difference and the AML rules won't even let them tell you that you have triggered the AML rules.

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Re: These damned bankers... a plea for advice

#311388

Postby UncleEbenezer » May 23rd, 2020, 12:30 pm

AF62 wrote:
4lex wrote:f you have any sage counsel as to how I can approach this matter it would be well received.


Do what the bank asks and the ombudsman has determined to be reasonable, which is to go into a branch with ID when you are next in the UK.

You have triggered their anti-money laundering rules.

Nothing you can say to the "call centre drones" (hmm) will make any difference and the AML rules won't even let them tell you that you have triggered the AML rules.


I doubt it's AML.

It sounded to me much like an incident I had with Santander a few years back. I was able to sort that out (being within cycling distance of my nearest branch), but it was a total pain, particularly given the circumstances (it was an urgent situation - literally life-and-death). More unforgivably, they had initially cleared the transaction, so I only learned there was a problem when the money failed to arrive and then found I was locked out of my account.

Clearing that involved proving my identity. If the transaction had been money-laundering, I would have successfully laundered the money by going to the branch, 'cos they weren't checking that.


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