Banks

Compo...

Coins

It seems that the compensation culture is still alive and well; it also seems that companies are bowing to it because it's seen as an easy option rather than fixing problems.  

I have examples:

I recently attempted to open an reward account with Halifax.  After completing the online form with all of my up to date details, I was given the new account details and set up the login credentials.  After logging in, I looked around the internet banking site and found in the "My details" section that the Halifax system had picked up an old profile when I had an ISA with them and overwritten all of my employment and contact details with outdated data.  

Calling their telephone banking hotline with the intention of fixing the problem left me stunned by the level of negativity.  "No"s, "can't"s and "won't"s were used in abundance with their only suggestion being "go to the branch and sort it out yourself".  When I protested at the inconvenience, I'm offered £35.00 for my time (without asking), but the problem remained unsolved until I visited the branch and went through the problem a second time.  

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Switch like there's no tomorrow

It won't be news to any of us that you can switch your current account to another provider if you can get a better deal elsewhere.  A switching service, of sorts, has been around for ages, but the service has never been seamless or without its foibles.  In the past, internet forums were frequently filled with discussions where payments had been taken from the wrong account, old accounts hadn't been closed, and account holders forgot to tell those paying in the details of their new bank.

Now in its third week, the new 'full switch' aims to bring the mayhem of switiching your current account to an end.  Simply put, you go and open a new account with Bank B, and they arrange with Bank A to move your Direct Debits, Standing Orders and Bill Payments over to the new account within 7 working days.  Further, payments in and out of your account that mistakenly get sent to your old bank will be redirected for a period of thirteen months.  Your old account will be closed at the end of the switch.  

People that have moved house and used the Royal Mail Redirection service will asking why a redirection service took so long, but BACS and the Payments Council will undoubtedly cite computer issues as the reason.

I recently decided to give the 7 day switching service a whirl and see whether the service was as seamless as advertised.

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