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Bloody Barclays Bank's bureaucracy…

Bloody Barclays Bank's bureaucracy…

Way back in April 2007, I decided to open a Barclays Bank Cash ISA because of the huge amount of interest it offered. Of course, the application procedure was a tad complicated – it involved:

– filling out an old-fashioned pen’n’paper application form – no online banking here!
– taking that application form to my local branch, complete with two forms of ID
– waiting ages until there was a personal banker who could tend to my needs
– photocopying all my various forms of ID which seemed to take ages
– writing them a cheque as the deposit on my account.

Fast forward to mid-July 2007, and there’s been no acknowledgement from Barclays, and the cheque hasn’t been cashed. It’s been sitting there in my current account doing nothing except making me look embarassingly rich when I come to withdraw money from the cash machine.

So I phone Barclays Taxbeater Cash ISA, who inform me that there was a problem with my original documents, and they sent it back to my local Barclays Bank branch to get me to verify something. Two months ago.

Needless to say, Barclays Llandudno never got round to calling me. So I try calling them.

Strangely enough, you can’t call Barclays Llandudno. They call you – or you pop round to see them. Any attempt to get the people on Barclays’ national bank line to give you the Barclays Llandudno branch number or to connect you direct gets you absolutely nowhere.

And they say customer service is improving. Sheesh. And I’m not the only angry one either.


  • Ah, you see! My mum works for Barclays (Colwyn Bay, pop in to see her sometime, she's lovely), and she said that the huge rate wasn't really worth getting as chances are it'd decrease following the end of the Financial Year.

    The reason I think that you can't get hold of them is Barclays Llandudno and Barclays Colwyn Bay have the same telephone number, because they are both small branches. The only way to get hold of Llandudno is to ring Colwyn Bay (which is "The Bigger Branch", even though Llandudno Branch is busier), and they will put you through.

    Quite why they don't have their own number baffles me.

    (This is not like insider knowledge by the way, I've tried ringing Barclays Llandudno, and always get my mum.)

  • There was a thing in the Guardian about this too:

    If I were you I'd just move your accounts. A bank of that size should be able to cope with this sort of demand. It smacks of spectacular incompetance.

  • heather

    I have had no end of problems with Barclays telephone banking as the telephonists do not listen to a word I say and just appear to be reading from a script when answering calls. However, I have found that whenever I pop into the branch at llandudno the staff are very helpful and agree that their telephone banking service is quite crap and offer to make a note of my complaint. Given the amount of complaints that have come from me alone, i am surprised that the service is still as shit as ever. It also costs a fortune to call this 08457 number which of course just adds to my frustration. The llandudno branch therefore have given me their branch number!!!!! I feel like a VIP, this is impossible to get, is never listed in the directory and is never given out over the phone. Rant over. Don't even get me started on the whole Barclaycard fiasco…….. why am I still banking with Barclays?

  • I've been a Barclays customer for over 25 years and have noticed
    that the service has got worse and worse. The straw that broke
    the cammel's back though was when Barclays left me stranded without
    any money for most of my recent boliday to Crete. I tried my
    debit (Connect) card in an ATM in Stalis but got a "refer to card issuer"
    message. I thought nothing of this – Stalis is a small village and probably
    the network connections were down. A couple of days later I visited the
    main city on Crete – Hiraklion where there seem to be even more banks than
    on the Isle of Man or Jersey (or the Cayman's for that matter). First
    one gives – "refer to card issuer", second one "refer to card issuer", third
    one same. Now I'm starting to think that there may be a fault with my debit
    card so my partner tries her Nationwide card (Note: Nationwide does not
    charge their customers fees for foreign transactions !) – it works fine.
    Undeterred I try another ATM and another and another …
    until after a couple of dozen I finally give up.
    Back at the ranch I decide to give the number Barclays have given me for
    their call centre a ring to find out WTF is going on. Helpfully there
    is a reverse-the-charge-anywhere-in-the-world number. Unhelpfully it
    doesn't work (Note to Barclays: Greece is that funny shaped country
    in the south east corner of Europe – turn right at Bulgaria). So I try
    to give the other number a ring and guess what … yep the dreaded "choose 1 for ..
    choose 2 for … " messages. After a half a dozen menus I'm prompted to enter
    my card number (doesn't sound very secure but WTH … ) and guess what the
    line goes dead. I try again this time with the "stolen card" line only
    to be put on hold while the phone steadily eats up the last of my euros
    at international call rates (to the UK … during office hours …). Why do
    Barclays charge customers to report stolen cars – are they punishing them ?
    Eventually I hang up in exasperation and the hotel owner, noticing my rather flustered
    manner asks what it wrong. I explain the situation and she looks at the
    bank card and with a look of deja vu says that "many people have had problems
    with these cards, perhaps it is your bank"). You've got to hand it these
    people – they didn't invent philopsophy for nothing.
    Later on I'm drowning my sorrows in an (obviously cheap !) beer or two
    and happen to recount my woes to the barmaid (bit of Dean Martin/Frank Sinatra
    in the background please …). Without prompting she says – "you're not with Barclays
    are you, people have had problems all summer with getting money out of the ATM
    with them".
    So now the penny/euro has finally dropped. Barclays has been blocking the cash
    withdrawls of holiday makers all summer leaving them stranded high and dry.
    In light of this my partner and I scraped up the last of our euros and worked
    out an emergency daily ration to see us through. No more evening meals, no car
    hire, no trips out just a whole week and half of scrimping and saving all thanks
    to Barclays. Welcome to the return of the student budget holiday – I'd have brought
    a backpack and an InterRail pass had I known.
    On return to blighty where at least Barclays have graciously allowed me to withdraw
    my own money I came home to two letters on the doormat from "the bank that likes
    to say no" (to cash withdrawls by its own customers). It turns out
    that they had thoughfully decided to block my card because they thought it was
    being used fradulently. How very considerate. Seems they've introduced a new
    Barclays Fraud Detection service supposedly for my benefit but not actually got around
    to telling me about it (perhaps they were too busy sending out unwanted
    adverts for loans). Maybe Barclays assume that their customers never go
    on holiday abroad or perhaps (because of the credit crunch) they don't want
    to give up their sterling – who knows.
    Anyway I'm currently chasing Barclays for compensation and I will let you
    know how I get on once all the legal bits are tied up.
    Moral of this story: if you are going abroad and don't want to use travellers
    cheques get yourself a Nationwide account. Amazingly enough they do allow
    their customers to withdraw their *own* money and they don't rip you off
    with transaction charges like Barclays.

  • Steve

    I too am getting increasingly fed up with Barclays and their 'hide and seek' methods of contact. Why can't I just call my bank and speak to someone who knows my account. I may well go elsewhere after my recent experience.

  • Okay! I work for Barclays as a personal banker and just stumbled across this and couldn't help but comment. Firstly the ISA issue. Yeah it WAS bad. It now gets opened from beginning to end right in front of you. The reason you couldn't do it online is because you were a new customer! Did you expect the bank to open a government tracked account without supplying any type of ID at all? How would that work? Once you are banking with Barclays you can then open and service all accounts over the very safe, award winning online banking service.
    Then the telephone number, okay telephone banking isn't great but do you really expect your local branch to answer every call every minute of the day? No! That is what call centres are for! If we did so you'd be on here complaining about cue times and how you could see there 30 members of staff behind the counter all on the phone but not serving. If you need a personal service like a premier manager or business manager then you can join the premier banking clients who do get a personal manager and if they are off a uk based 24/7 premier line. We are the only bank to offer this!
    Then the holiday! Did you tell us you were going away? How did we know that your card hasn't been stolen? You said yourself that you tried to use it many different machines overseas! Did you supply us with your mobile number so we could call to ask if it was you? I can only assume not! We don't go out of our way to stop people spending money! How would that work. And as for the nationwide thing not charging, it's visa that charge you not Barclays.
    Rant over. Please spare some thought of why we do things the way we do!

  • Geordiebird

    Why have Barclays ATM's been replaced by Fedex machines in Gatwick Airport? We went to use one, and couldn't get any money out, but it appears to have been taken from the account?

  • Disgusted

    I phoned to report my connect card lost and of course also to check there have been no fraudulent transactions on my account as there is quite a bit of cash on it and I am worried. After an interminable wait the trained monkey who took my call blocked the card but could not tell me anything about transactions – he put me on another queue, where I have been languishing, deafened by an ugly cacophony for OVER AN HOUR now. Customer service indeed! After banking with them for over 20 years I feel they don't deserve my custom. I feel deeply insulted and I will be closing my account very soon. AVOID BARCLAYS LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

  • sibble

    i wish someone would ave told me wht barclays were like b4 i joined them but have been with them for over five years an im not happy with there service i am disabled so dont go out much an need some1 with me if i do an there is £700 missing from my account the online statements not showing where its gone and because i missed a letter out ov my telephone banking password they told me that they couldnt do anything till i went in to the branch i did say that i couldnt get there today and was woried bout the money incase someone has got into my account but there response was that they couldnt cheack it so there is no other choice not happy at all will b leaving them very shortly

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