Submitted by Matt on Tue, 11/11/2014 - 22:01:18


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had picked up an old profile when I had an ISA with them and overwritten all of my employment and contact details with outdated data.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.  

After fixing the initial problem, I noted that the £100 incentive that should be paid after agreeing to switch wasn't credited to my account.  I drew this t the attention of the telephone banking crew again who tried to fob me off so I raised a complaint - the sole intention of this was to get the £100 paid as agreed, however again, without asking, they gave me a further £15.00 for my time.  

Today I have another example: Back in June, someone ran into the back of me causing minor damage to the bumper of my car.  It wasn't a huge amount of damage, but enough to ask a garage to look at it.  Sadly, it wasn't something that could just be touched up so I asked my insurance company, Axa to look at it and they appointed a body shop to look at it and for a hire car while my normal wheels were being fixed.  

The whole process was a debacle - while the car was fixed within days of being put in for repair, it took over two weeks to source some brackets to put the bumper back on the car.  All this time, I had a hire car which was clocking up charges day by day.  While the third party would be paying these charges, being old school, I expressed concern at every stage about the cost of the claim (I have a legal obligation to minimise the cost of the claim you see).  Anyway, 16 days later I give the hire car back and have my own car returned.  I'm unhappy with an small aspect of the job, but it's agreed that I can take the car away, they'll order the part, and it's a 10 minute job to fit so I can come in any time.

Move on three months, and I've heard nothing from either the insurer or the repairer, so I prod the insurer.  

It seems that they intend on forwarding all 16 days worth of hire car charges to the third party, so, given that none of the delay was the fault of the kid that ran into me, I offer to pay half of the cost.  The insurer goes round in circles giving excuse after excuse why they won't accept the contribution, so I complain.  Completely missing the point of the complaint (I don't want the full cost of the car hire to be submitted to the third party) they seem to think the issue is the bumper trim not having yet been fitted.  

So today I get a call advising that my bumper trim in in stock and I can call the repairer to arrange fitting.  Fine I say, but what about my complaint?  We'd like to offer you £100 for your trouble is the response; I accept* but feel dirty... plus the original complain remains somewhat unresolved.  

It just feels that companies are too quick to offer a cash bung in response to a complaint - in all of these cases, resolving the initial gripe would have left me happy and I wouldn't have raised the issue of goodwill or compensation.  I just wanted the original issue fixed... in 2/3 cases the original problem remained unresolved.  

Whatever happened to good old fashioned customer service?