What rights do banking customers still have?

Barclays

I received a letter out of the blue from Scott Miller, Head of Customer Services at Barclays. It’s a pro-forma and it included a new credit card, if it hadn’t, I’d have not read it.

barclays2

Not so great I thought, so I looked this Scott Miller up on Linked In and found we had a number of people in common, so I sent him a linked in mail.

Scott

Over the last week I got a letter from you about my i24 card, which is now a Barclays Infinite Card.

I signed my agreement with another company but i24 transferred to you some years ago. Since the transfer, the original point of the card has been diminished to the point that it became just another credit card. I guess I stayed with you , because life is too complicated to change.

But your letter has prompted me to ask some questions.

Firstly , I am changing from mastercard to visa – I bought mastercard – what does this mean?

Secondly, I am going to have to change all my payment processes that depended on my using mastercard- this is very inconvenient – I did not ask for this – why must I do it?

Thirdly, what is happening to my existing benefits with i24 – travel lounge, insurance, cashback, concierge and is the amount I have to pay for Infinite the same as for i24?

I am sure that in my mail somewhere is the answer to these questions, but I don’t have time to read your unsolicited mail – whichI get every week. I want to be treated fairly and it may be that I am being treated fairly but I am confused.

I don’t want to ask questions to your Mumbai call operators with their telephone scripts , the call-backs that never come and their lack of accountability. I don’t have time to go through the complicated robotics to speak to the right person.

Instead I want to speak with you Scott Miller, Head of Customer Services and ask you what you think I will gain from having to switch to Infinite. So can you please call me on 07785 377768 or mail me at henry.h.tapper@gmail or simply respond to this linked in mail.

I am a keen blogger and have posted this mail to my site, I hope that we can conduct this correspondence in a pleasant way so that the more general issues I raise about TCF, the rights of customers and the capacity of us as individuals to deal with other individuals is maintained.

Perhaps we can also get linked in!

I haven’t heard back from Scott but I only sent this 5 minutes ago and it’s early in the morning. I will publish our correspondence as I genuinely don’t know what rights I have to what I bought or whether I am simply bound to accept whatever I am given (or hand back the card).

The interesting thing is that I don’t really see the point of retail banking going forward. PayPal is so much easier and I suspect cheaper. The reason I bought this card was I was told originally that if I had a problem I would not have to deal with an overseas call centre and that I’d get a personal service.

Those promises went out the window years ago, The new card- which looks identical to my First Direct debit card,was never part of the script.


Old skool banking

I’d like to think I was part of a banking revolution and that there was an upside to “infinite”, but Scott’s letter itemises only the payment protection insurance that all cards have by law. What makes me laugh is – despite me paying my bills by DD from my bank account, Barclays send me my cashback by cheque!

Here’s the latest one, together with a £50 note – just in case you don’t remember them either! (actually the note is really a serviette but don’t worry about it!

barclays

I had lunch with a nice man from the HSBC on Friday and we discussed the point of HSBC to retail customers. They have the excellent First Direct and I pointed out that First Direct do everything I want from a bank and more. I also pointed out how exasperated they get when they have to do things the HSBC way.

My conclusion is that big banking needs to become small banking. I love going to Metrobank, I look forward to speaking to First Direct and I very much hope I will be able to have a constructive conversation with Scott Miller to get answers to my questions.

If you have banking queries of this nature, I’d be interested to hear your views. Please post in comments so we can keep a little dossier. I am not saying Barclays is crap, but I suspect that what is happening to me, happens to a lot of people, and that we are made to feel like crap.

That’s not what should be happening, and Scott- I hope it’s something you can help put right!

Barclays cropped

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen, Director of First Actuarial, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in Bankers, pensions and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to What rights do banking customers still have?

  1. Mike Lacey says:

    I think I’ll open a nice big bag of Popcorn and watch this one, Henry…
    I’ve been with Barclays since 1978. I still can’t understand the benefit to me of a daily £ charge for using an overdraft, compared to the seemingly old fashioned daily interest charge. The only benefit seems to be to Barclays, as its a lot more expensive…

  2. ancientllm says:

    I think your best bet is to ditch any financial product you have with Barclays, Henry. My financial life has been so much less problematic since I did that! Rob

  3. DaveC says:

    Since 2008 banks have really put the pressure on users.

    Near zero interest rates. Higher charges for things that were once free, or very low cost. An attitude that would rather punish you than do you a favour, in return for you giving them your credits every month, which they then lend out and leverage at high multiples and high interest rates!

    My wife and I tried to go to the local (20 miles and 30 mins away) bank on Saturday, but they were all shut in our local town. So no banks for 9-5 mon-fri workers.
    Only the ‘local’ bank 20 miles and 40 mins away in the other direction has them open on Saturdays now.
    If we want online banking we need lots of silly keypads and access is terrible via their applications on the iPhone. Very clunky. Their telephone support is average at best.

    Interestingly, Barclays has a branch in my local village. I’m not sure how much longer it’ll stay though. It’s open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so not much use for the normal 9-5 mon-fri person.

    All we wanted to do was pay in a cheque. Easily done online, but if ease is the only variable left there are systems that are beginning to far surpass the monolithic protectionist banking system.

    It’s interesting that you mention PayPal. As much as they’re the new kid on the block, they’re also just another monolithic centralised system that will ultimately penalise you once they have the monopoly on the userbase of their payments/savings model.

    I’m not sure if you’ve tried it yet, but I’ve actually enjoyed Bitcoin the most. It really is the closest you’ll get to digital cash.
    You have a wallet but in your phone, but it could be on paper, or maybe even in your head if you have a good memory.
    There is no 3rd party except a distributed ledger. Only those doing the ledger work (miners) get paid a small amount on transfers only.

    It’ll be interesting to see how bitcoin and systems like it work alongside traditional banking systems over the next decade!

    Just grab mycelium for the iPhone, use bittyliscious to buy some bitcoin, and have a play. I started with just £5 to get a feel for how it worked and what was happening, transferring to friends etc.

    It’s QR code transactions make the old chip and pin or contactless systems look ridiculous in comparison… for the security, vendor costs, and ease of use amongst others.

  4. henry tapper says:

    Thanks – I’ll follow your instructions and give it a try.

  5. CeeJay says:

    Hi Henry,
    I got the i24 withdrawal letter in April. I use the cash back service extensively so the card costs me nothing, I get the additional cash back, I get the executive club access at airports and the travel insurance (although I don’t use it as the policy my wife has through her Lloyds account is better). Although they have reduced the annual fee they’ve withdrawn cashback, which is my main reason for using it.
    I phoned them and spoke to a very nice lady based in UK who said if I didn’t want the new card I would lose my cash back for the last year – not good. What I needed to do was wait for the new Infinite card that would be sent out before my July statement but don’t use it, then wait for the cash back cheque and then cancel the new Infinite card, there would be no charges until Feb next year. I’ve received my July statement today but haven’t received the new Infinite card and to top it all I’ve been charged the full annual fee for the i24 card of £275.
    I phoned the call centre spoke to another UK based lady who said the Infinite card should arrive by Thursday and that I’d get a cheque for a refund of the £275 annual fee.
    Haven’t they worked out that their inefficiency is a waste of time and money – mine as well as theirs.
    I’ve now got reward cards from Lloyds – with cash back. And I’m seriously rethinking my current and business accounts with Barclays.

  6. henry tapper says:

    Thanks CeeJay, it seems like you are in for a nice surprise as I am told I will be getting my last payment refunded me pro rata and 6 months infinite free. Infact I am beginning to think I have been well treated by Barclays at a compensatory level.

    It was my fault I didn’t read the April letter, though if I read all Barclays letters you wouldn’t be getting any blogs from me.

    But as you say, the inefficiency of this is maddening and the incapacity of Barclays to talk my language. Presenting cheques to my bank for a refund (when they take payments digitally) is an example of the ham-fisted nature of the service!

  7. Ian Hall says:

    If you have associate infinite cards for the family,they now DO NOT receive a priority card,where as with the i24 card,my kids could use the lounges foc……..now they will have to pay.Thinking of ditching this card as its benefits are seriously reduced,even though the annual charge isnt cheap !!

  8. Moneymaverick says:

    May I ask you if this new Barclays Infinite replacing the Barclaycard i24 is still a credit card or is it a charge card?

    Barclays already had a product called Infinite but that one is a chargecard.

    Thanks

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