Online business banking - so handy from the comfort of your desk. So promoted by the banks.
But Iain Lyall (Glan Conwy General Stores, Conwy) has had a breathtaking experience with Santander. He writes: “It would seem that Santander UK plc have proceeded with the online phase of the migration of the Alliance and Leicester business accounts into the Santander system. However, it would appear that many of the accounts using the old Girobank sort code 72 00 00 have hit problems with accessing accounts via the Santander website.
“What makes the problem even worse (if you then attempt to go online more than three times), there is up to a FOURTEEN DAY delay before a replacement password and security number are received. In my case, the new detail still did not get me back online despite phoning their helpline before attempting for the third time.”
He sums up the issue thus:
1). Why proceed with the attempted integration of accounts before their systems had been rigorously tested?
2). Why, when a serious problem became apparent, were the helpdesk staff not made fully aware of the situation?
3). Who in these days of mobile and internet banking can afford to wait two weeks to get back online? A majority of other banks will have you back online within minutes of making a call (even if it was your own fault).
Iain has written a formal complaint that points out that he has been a customer for more than 20 years. The helpdesk kept pointing out that it was Iain’s fault and eventually wrote to him to reiterate this. His Fault.
It wasn’t his fault which became apparent after numerous phone calls to helplines and technical bods throughout the entire month of August.
We’ve all had run-ins with computers and banks. As I told Iain, I had a personal cock-up with Barclays (small matter of life savings being inaccessible online resolved after visit to branch and polite punch-up).
My other half goes to online business banking with HSBC every morning to manage his small publishing business and it has its hiccups and hair-tearing moments (punctuated by copious Anglo Saxon), but nothing like Iain’s experience.
Iain’s is blood-vessel bursting. And Santander does make a racket about being there for small businesses. Two weeks to get up and running again is pretty much a lifetime these days and, as this is being written, it has already taken twice that time.
Iain has spoken to the Financial Conduct Authority which told him he must allow them time as set out for using the ombudsman route - eight weeks. If he is not satisfied after that, I’ve suggested he sues for compensation to mirror the grief it has given him and the risk and inconvenience to his business.
And I think the claim should be considerably higher than the derisory £25 he has been so far offered for the numerous phone calls he has had to make to try to sort this out.