Why you can’t bank on Santander

Has there been a general decline in customer service by brands or is this an isolated case? After coming bottom of the moneysavingexpert.com customer service poll in 2010, Santander has once again been voted the worst bank account provider for customer service. Yesterday I experienced yet more appalling customer service from Santander, where I have had a high interest savings account for years. In case you didn’t know, it is standard practice with most banks offering high interest accounts to revert to their very low, standard interest after you’ve had your account for one year. Trouble is, they don’t tell you – so it is up to you to actively transfer your funds to a new account to get the high interest rate.

I did this last week, but when one payment from the account didn’t go through I tried to log in – and found myself barred. So I called Customer Service and was taken through a security check and was told I’d made a security error and I would have to be called back by the ‘Security department’ within the next 4 hours. No call materialised so I called them again. Actually they said they’d said it was 4-6hrs. No they hadn’t, but I let that pass.

Santander logo

Santander – the shit bank

Anyway, later I got the call from the ‘Security department’ who told me – after going a basic identity check – that in order to unfreeze my account I would have to visit a branch. This got me rather annoyed – why should I have to go into a branch to do this? After all, they could just take me through a security check over the phone again, couldn’t they? And my other bank doesn’t have branches and they manage – so why can’t Santander?  Very sorry, they said, but you have to visit a branch.

Santander has got a bit of ‘previous’ with me.  Last year I did my usual account shuffling. But that time they offered me an additional current account with a high interest rate and promised me I could still have my other current account with my other bank – so long as I kept £2000 in my Santander current account.

But against my express wishes, they transferred all my direct debits and standing orders from my other bank to my new Santander current account. This totally messed up my financial arrangements. To cut a long story short, I eventually closed the current account and reset my direct debits with my old bank. But I also reported Santander to the Banking Ombudsman for misleading me. After many months, Santander acknowledged that they had erred and offered to pay me £100 in compensation, which I accepted.

So following this latest event, I think it’s time to call it a day with Santander. Note that I had to call them when I noticed my payment didn’t go through. A decent bank would have identified a problem and contacted me.They clearly don’t understand the meaning of customer service. Put simply, they are a shit bank. As late as November 2011 Santander admitted they still ‘have a long way to go’. Yes you do but it won’t be with me. Goodbye Santander – it all went wrong when you took over the Abbey, didn’t it?

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