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to imagine that paying a cheque into our account should not send us overdrawn?

(22 Posts)
mrsrawlinson Wed 12-Aug-09 16:58:14

DH is self employed and last weekend we paid a cheque into our business bank account. I'll refrain from naming the bank in question but let's just say the name rhymes with 'shabby'. It was for something DH had been working on for over a year so it was for quite a considerable amount.

On Friday, we were on our way to a friend's wedding and stopped for some breakfast en route and our card was declined. DH rang the bank to find out what was going on as there should have been cleared funds available. When he asked for a balance, he was told we were £15,000-odd overdrawn!

When DH regained his powers of speech, he was told that because the cheque we'd paid in was quite large they suspected it might be fraudulent so it had been referred to their fraud department for verifcation. Fair enough, you might think. Except what they'd done is DEDUCT the amount of the cheque in question from our account (which doesn't even have an overdraft facility!) while it was in abeyance. They'd done this without even telling us, let alone asking our permission.

So, about 2 hours of heated telephone calls ensued trying to sort it out, during which we were told that we'd have to get a letter from our client to say that the cheque was legitimate and take it into the branch in person. This may have been do-able if we were at home, only we were on our way to a wedding then on holiday from there - all without any money available to us. I told them that this wouldn't be possible until Tuesday (DH was driving by this point so I got to vent my spleen for a bit!) as we were away and told them that they'd have to authorise the overdraft they'd put us into and add a bit on so that we could access some funds over the weekend while we were away. "I'll send a form to your house," came the reply.

I got a bit cross then. I told the complete numpty that I would not leave the telephone line until he'd sorted it out, and eventually he came back and said "OK MrsRawlinson, that's all sorted and your account's back to where it was before the deduction." Thinking it was done and dusted we went to the wedding, and on the way to the reception stopped at a cash machine. No prizes for guessing what we were greeted with.... Cue another hour of heated phone conversation (this time in a hotel lobby blush as we'd no phone signal) where we were repeatedly told "Nothing we can do"; "It's just the system"; "It's after five now, you'll have to wait until Monday".

Eventually DH managed to speak to someone who managed to link in one of our other accounts to our card so we could at least access some funds over the weekend and the VAT man could be paid!

Fortunately now they seem to have cleared the cheque so it's all sorted, but I'm still incandescant at being treated like that just because we paid a cheque in! Needless to say we've written to them and everyone else who'll listen, including the ombudsman, the FSA and the Bank of England for good measure.

Has anyone else ever experienced anything similar? Surely they're not allowed to do that, are they?

Gosh, that was a long rant. Sorry about that.

Lilybunny Wed 12-Aug-09 17:18:09

What an awful time for you and you'd done nothing to deserve it! Sadly it would seem that banks can do what they please. I'm glad to hear that you have made a complaint and I do hope that you get some satisfaction (and compensation). I would certainly be changing my bank once it is all sorted. Good luck.

GoldenSnitch Wed 12-Aug-09 17:20:04

I used to work on the PC helpline for that bank. Given the numptys I had to talk to, I'm not suprised they don't do stuff like this more often!

Have you tried Watchdog and a local newspaper? - REALLY embarrass them!

GoldenSnitch Wed 12-Aug-09 17:20:28

Oh and Money Saving Expert!

3littlefrogs Wed 12-Aug-09 17:22:04

The bank in question is absolutely hopeless. It regularly makes the money advice pages of the weekend papers. Can you move your account?

eandh Wed 12-Aug-09 17:29:11

I am afraid to say I work for them (used to work for Bradford & Bingley but we were nationalised and then they took us over) the internal helplines are rubbish and noone seems to be able to help staff with customer problems (complete opposite of what we have all been used too) computer system is stupidly over complex and slow and tbh I hate it but have no option as only work part time and had all my hours agreed to fit in with dd1 (starts school in sept) plus I inherited a good hourly salary from my 12 years at B&B so can't find anything to match it.

So sorry to hear about your experience needless to say it seems far to common sad

mrsrawlinson Wed 12-Aug-09 17:29:59

Ooh, I like your style, Snitch! grin

And yes, once we've wreaked our revenge we'll be taking our debts elsewhere I think.

Dizzyclarebear Wed 12-Aug-09 17:33:10

Close your account and move to another bank.

Most people just rant but stay with the same bank so they get away with it.

CurlyhairedAssassin Wed 12-Aug-09 17:37:45

That's absolutely outrageous! Yep, don't let it lie. However much of a pain it is, switch banks.

Longtalljosie Wed 12-Aug-09 17:42:49

Message withdrawn

StealthPolarBear Wed 12-Aug-09 18:52:53

Suppose I can understand them not clearing the cheque but what was the logic beind also deducting the same sum from your accoutn?!

steffibabes Wed 12-Aug-09 19:07:25

I used to work for that bank and I was fed up of defending some of the cock-ups that occurred to people's bank acounts. At the very least they should have phoned you and let you know what's going on.

I agree its outrageous.

GoldenSnitch Wed 12-Aug-09 19:39:07

eandh - the computer systems are overly complicated because everytime they take over a new company, they refuse to update the company's systems and instead try to integrate them - usually unsucessfully!

The add to that the fact that the help desk is staffed my mostly temps - all trying to learn the multitude of badly cobbled together systems for which the bank has only supplied maybe 2 or 3 user names a passwords - and you can see why the support would be ropey!

eandh Wed 12-Aug-09 19:49:33

Golden - so far <touch wood> IT not been taht unhelpful its more the customer Relation team that I have issues with, £30k of a customers money had gone missing (well left there account but not arrived in account with anotehr bank) and there did not seem to be a single person who could investigate where it was sent (on B&B system tehre was a clear audit trail so if a wrong number had been enetred etc we could doubl,e check) instead you just get fobbed off and people saying 'don;t know' not helpful when customer is shouting the odds (understandably I would if £30k was missing)

Agree about IT though as all B&B accounts have been untegrated into the system and cannots ee how its going to work when Alliance and Leicester get it too!!

eandh Wed 12-Aug-09 19:50:12

excuse typing am eating dinner and posting here!

chickydee Wed 12-Aug-09 19:52:25

I am with said bank, and quite frankly they seem to get worse.
I have had the same problems when paying in cheques, and, to make matters worse, they seem now to take longer than the standard 3 working days to clear cheques, it now can take anything from 3 to 5 days!!!!!
Shouldn't it take LESS time nowadays? With all the tcehnology available, yet it takes LONGER???
I detest the bank, but have a shite credit rating so doubt i could change to anyone else.

I cannot begin to imagine how furious you must have been,they are twunts.

Scorpette Wed 12-Aug-09 20:39:15

That bank is indeed Shabby - after my Granddad died, my family had to threaten to take them to court after they refused to accept that he had died and therefore we needed to access and then close his account. Despite having the death certificate and all sorts of proof, above and beyond what is required (even when the Doctor who'd certified him dead offered to go in personally and sign something confirming he'd died) they refused to accept he was dead and accused my Mum and Uncle of trying to defraud their father's account and of having faked all these things - including the death notice in the local paper, his headstone, etc.! Think it was because it had been both my Grandparents' account and now both of them had died they didn't want to give the cash up angry In the end it took over 2 years for them to behave properly and my Mum says the manager was still 'funny' with them when they went in for the final time to close the account.

GoldenSnitch Wed 12-Aug-09 20:42:16

I used to work for 'the worlds local bank' too - TBH, they're all as bad as each other

That's the only reason I've not bothered moving my account

Silver1 Wed 12-Aug-09 21:57:33

Of course you could get your own back by reporting- you see it was illegal for someone to tell you that the cheque had undergone a SAR (Suspicious Activity Report)their decision to take the amount from your account was flawed.

mrsrawlinson Wed 12-Aug-09 22:47:14

Ooh, that's interesting Silver. Am just Googling that now. Thanks for that.

Sorry to hear about your Grandad, Scorpette. That sounds just awful.

Silver1 Wed 12-Aug-09 23:29:31

The offence is called "Tipping Off" but seriously the person in question could get into lots of trouble as well as the bank.

katiestar Thu 13-Aug-09 14:53:40

What made them suspectthe cheque was fraudulent.Was it the 'shabby' or the the payees bank?

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