Newest Review: ... that wasnt allowed about 6 years ago i claimed back my bank charges which in total owed to me was £965.07p which was nice to recieve an... more
BARCLAYS: clueless about customer service
Member Name: Londonresident
Advantages: free pens in the branch...however they have no caps - so watch your pockets!
Disadvantages: I truly feel sick every time I have to interact with a call-centre or branch.
I joined Barclays as a back-office IT employee over 5 years ago and recently left the bank. I was brought on as a Premier customer because of my salary level within the bank and that I am a foreign national that had no banking relationships in the UK prior to joining Barclays. I now have indefinite leave to remain in the UK and will be seeking citizenship in the next 12 months. I'd like to recount some of the customer experiences that I've had over the last 5 years:
* When travelling to Uganda, I attemped to use my debit card in a branch ATM. Although I had informed Barclays of my travel plans and had ample funds in my account, the card would not work. I called the toll-free number on my card...the response from the call centre operator was "you are attempting to access your account using an untrusted ATM. For security reasons, we are blocking the transaction". The call-centre managers would not relent on this point and refused to discuss the absurdity of flagging their OWN ATMs as suspicious. I finally ended up going to a sleazy money changer in an open-air market while they charged me a ridiculous fee for a cash advance and left me worried about potential fraud risk.
* When traveling on bank business in Johannesburg, I took 8 representatives of local charities to dinner at a nice restaurant as appreciation for their contributions to the community. I did this on my own time and expense and did not use Barclays expense accounts. I gave my Barclays Visa Debit card to run a bar tab and later the meal. Midway through the dinner the restaurant manager informed me that my card was declined. Although I had informed Barclays of my travel pans and had ample funds in my account...it took 45 minutes on a telephone call to a call centre to convice them I was actually their customer and that I was willingly spending my own money. They asked me 9 security questions to determine that I was actually their customer....one question was "what items had I purchased at a drugstore in Heathrow". I know for a fact that the bank has no access to itemisation of retail customer receipts...only the total of the transaction. It seems that the call centre employee was actually enjoying and attempting to prolong the unfortunate situation. Needless to say...the dinner was clouded by Barclays incompetence.
* As stated, I am pursuing UK citizenship. My immigration package to the UK Home Office required bank statements for the last 5 years through the date of submission. Barclays has moved my statements to a quarterly cycle. Because of the immigration requirement, I needed a printout of my current account transactions to cover to gap from my last statement to the current date. I also needed a bank draft for £1000 to pay the UK Home Office immigration charges. Due to my familiarity of the retail banking systems, I am fully aware that a bank draft can be issued in approximately 2 minutes and my statement transactions could be printed in 30 seconds. I was greeted by a low level employee in the Maida Vale branch. I gave her my Debit Card and accurately keyed in my PIN. I also gave her a photo ID. I gave her a print-out that worked for the immigration purposes for a June 2010 meeting...so she would know exactly what I required. She rolled her eyes and told me the other branch should have NEVER given me such information. She also scolded me for having a foreign passport rather than proper british ID. She then informed me that the branch manager was absent and that the assistant manager would take a LONG TIME to prepare a bank draft. I asked to see the manager in charge. After waiting for 20 minutes.....the manager came out and told me that my request would take another 25 minutes and that the print-out of my transactions would not be possible. She said I would have to wait for a new statement to arrive in regular mail. She also expressed skepticism that the document that I requested would be adequate for the immigration officials. I told her that she was wrong about the Barclays services requested, I informed her that she didn't understand branch controls, and had absolutely no knowledge of UK Home Office immigration policy and was out of line to opine on the adequacy of my immigration submission. I then asked for my passport and ATM card back...which took another 5 minutes to retreive. I then went to the kiosk within the branch and printed my statement...then waited to speak to a cashier who kindly stamped the printout as true and correct. Later that day, I visited my immigration solicitor in Wimbledon, and dropped by the South Wimbledon Barclays branch and received a bank draft in 5 minutes. Ironically, I left my debit card in the Maida Vaiile branch kiosk machine. The Wimbledon cashier stated that they were not allowed to call another branch and told me to cancel my debit card rather that to try to pursue recovery via telephone! Wow! Two branches visited in one day and I didn't encounter anyone that completely "gets" customer service!
Over the last 5 years I could easily recount another 20 similar shambolic customer service interactions. This is even more appalling as I am a "Premier" customer! Now that I have left their employment and am free of any reprisals...I can truly say, the bank actually treats their customers with contempt. The typical cashier is over-worked, under-paid, underappreciated, yet truly "gets" customer service. As one looks up the organisational chart....the management DNA is one of exploitation and disrespect of customers. The recent PPI mis-selling that will cost the bank BILLIONS in refunds to their customers is proof of the of their attitude toward customers. Barclays was the only bank to decline thousands of card transactions for customers seeking olympic tickets in the 2012 ticket lottery. The other UK banks seemed to have "figured it out". To date...not one apology phone call or letter has gone out to any Barclays customer whose dreams of attending the London Games were destroyed by Barclays incompetence.
I will be moving my accounts away from Barclays and am researching the UK high-street banks to determine what bank could meet my admitedly low customer service expectations. Based on my experience...I don't care if I'm labeled as a premier customer or not. Surely there is a bank that will see me as a human being that can also present a profitable business relationship for them. I understand the competitive landscape demands automation of activities...but it should ENHANCE the customer experience. Regardless.....no amount of automation and high-tech wizardry can ever replace old-fashioned respect and cultivation of a valued customer relationship.
As a final note...I am not a disgrutled former employee that is trying to "hurt" Barclays. I was rated an "A" performer at my last year-end review. I've never had an overdraft or even needed the overdraft protection. I've never been late on a Barclaycard payment or loan payment. I'm simply recounting my personal experiences as a "Premier" customer.
Summary: contempt and disrespect of their good customers. Ttoo bad there isn't a -5 star rating
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