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I've had bank accounts since before I can remember. As a youngster, I was always a keen saver, and thought banks were marvelous. They always seemed to pay me money - for nothing. They were always offering free gifts, sent nice birthday cards and magazines, all very positive.
Then something happened. I grew up, and became an adult bank customer. The birthday cards stopped. The money they paid me seemed less, magazines simply became junk mail and free gifts weren't quite so tempting. What they did offer came with catches, fees and some ulterior motive.
Still, it's hard to get by without them in this day and age, wages need paying in, bills need to be paid, and tranfers made. I stuck with the bank I had trusted as a child, the well known one beginning with L and rhyming with "Oyds".
First time they moaned, was when I started to pay in too many cheques (my beginnings of running a small business). But you'd think they'd like to see all the extra money, but no...too much work for them for no extra money. They wanted me to open a business account, which I thought fine, but they had too many rules and regulations, I decided to open a Girobank account, which asked less questions - just a business letter head I seem to remember. I continued to use Lloyds (oops...) for personal banking.
Time moved on, business went downhill, and a loan was needed - no problem, Lloyds were eager for the business - and deal done. Even when I became unemployed for a short time in my life, they paid the loan for me. More time moved on, I was accepted for a mortgage - although the deal fell through - no fault of the bank.
I had a visa card, substantial agreed overdraft which I hardly used, and a great credit history with them. Then I moved abroad, informing the bank before I went. I still had a small balance. I used the visa for a few small payments, booking flights and so on. I went into my overdraft by a small amount, intent on arranging a deposit within a few weeks. The few weeks did turn into a month, but when time came to pay the money in, the bank account had vanished, and my card cancelled!
I contacted the bank, who re-directed me to another department. They informed me that 20 letters had been sent to me regarding my overdraft - despite telling them that I had moved abroad. I asked them which address - they couldn't tell me, as "the system" wouldn't show this. Strange that it showed how many letters, but not where to. Also, 20 letters in a month? Really? I attempted to pay off the amount I owed, but they wouldn't accept it! They told me they had wiped the debt. They couldn't re-open the account for me.
I still wanted an account, so they gave me contact details of the Overseas section, where I could perhaps open a more suitable account. They did say that the debt for the previous account would be sought once the account had been opened, and I said fine by me. After many weeks of asking for forms, they still hadn't sent anything. I managed to collect them myself whne next in England. When I explained to the CS person in a local branch in Torquay, she asked me why I still wanted to use Lloyds, and perhaps I'd be better off somewhere else! I wondered myself, but got my Passport approved and stamped by Lloyds themselves, got together various proof of ID, and cheques to open a new account.
Some time passed, I heard nothing. I contacted their CS department again, who informed me that a letter should have been sent, explaining that my application had been turned down - they wouldn't tell me why. I thought this was strange, considering I had been a good customer for 20 years or more, had a good credit rating - up until Lloyds closed my account without telling me.
The letter never arrived, so weeks later I called them again. I also asked where my cheques were, and they said they were sent seperately, but they weren't sure as the carbon copy was unreadable, plus the top copy was .... well they weren't sure where it was, they did say however it was sent registered or recorded. So both the letter and the cheques didn't arrive? Seems almost impossible. They told me that I should contact the people who had paid me cheques and ask them to cancel and submit new ones. I told them that I thought this was a little cheeky, as they had lost them not me. They had also not recorded the cheque details anywhere, so couldn't do it on my behalf either. How stupid is that?
I was starting to get a little irate now, and started to deal with people at a more senior level. I'm not going to go into extreme detail, but can prove that I was fed lie after lie, by the CS team in general, and even the senior managers. Every lie I threw back at them, and they came up with unbelievable excuses, and even more lies. Any correspondance sent to me was by registered mail from now on, at a cost of £4 each to the bank, and several were sent. After many many months of discussion and arguement, they suddenly decided to offer me compensation, which I did take in the end. They would not however admit to any mistakes, lies or misconduct, the compensation was purely a "gesture of goodwill". They did say though this was "an opportunity for them to review procedures and identify staff training issues". I find it odd that a bank whom I owed money, actually paid me, instead. In the end I wasn't so much agrieved at the fact they wouldn't open an account for me, more of the way they had dealt with the whole thing, and they knew this.
Incidentally, I opened an account in my new country of residence, literally within 5 minutes, with no credit history details, no proof that I paid my bills - just my personal ID number. I wrote to Lloyds to tell them how easy it was.....