Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Abbey's latest ISA Investigation

Abbey's latest investigation into ISA delays

Three weeks ago I wrote 'Complain to Spain' when Abbey's Customer Complaints department told me it didn't matter which board director I complained to about the administrative delays Abbey's customers were expected to endure, my letter would end up on her desk.

I wondered what would happen if I emailed Emilio Botin, the Chairman of Banco Santander - the Spanish bank that owns Abbey. I discovered a 'contact the Board' email response form on Satander's corporate site and fired off my enquiry - asking why year after year Abbey ran into problems processing customer's new ISA accounts. Last Wednesday I got another letter from Abbey - promising an investigation, followed later that day by a phone call.

Apparently the senior team at Abbey had just become aware of the ISA delays customers were experiencing and now the complaints were mounting (Abbey previously let slip there was a backlog of 700 unprocessed applications, that was 6 weeks ago). A full investigation is under way. The manager phoning last week wanted to know what the outcome had been when I complained about a 50 working day delay to confirm my ISA was open.

My quick search on the web revealed more Abbey ISA complaints on the forums of moneysavingexpert.com from savers who had sent in cheques but now couldn't access their money at all - because their Abbey cash ISA's hadn't been opened yet. These customers are also experiencing delays of months.

Abbey has promised to send me another £50 as a goodwill gesture - for the dissatisfaction I expressed to the Board about the way my original complaint was investigated. That was last Wednesday, no cheque has arrived yet. Instead today's mail brought another letter from Abbey - their investigation is taking longer than expected.

Only Abbey would dare write to tell its customers the investigation into the delay is also delayed!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In early May 2008 my sister was persuaded to invest in the Super ISA (Issue 2) together with an associated savings venture, paperwork expected to take 2/3 weeks due to high demand.

By Week 4 her local ABBEY queried the ‘need’ for her to receive relevant paperwork.
By Week 9 she had been given the runaround by just about every different department in and out of the UK. Not on screen and no documents.
She followed all regular and suggested procedures as outlined by ABBEY and received only one personal email reply (God bless him) which would seem to have been penned by a gentleman originating more from Warsaw than Madrid or Milton Keynes.
She sent copy of her complaint – in meticulous detail – to Glasgow, Milton Keynes, her local branch etc. She followed official guidelines but had had enough and wanted to call a halt to these farcical and angst-provoking procedures. She wanted OUT.

Week 11, I prevailed upon her to accept assistance.
I live in Italy and within 10 days - by exercising a degree of continental courtesy (which was reciprocated) – I had achieved for her to replace her investment in square one, recoup her interest, and receive a cheque in lieu of stress, expenditure and general bad behaviour.

Thank you. Some of your advice was useful. Some of it pointed me in the right direction for personal research. What I find so incredibly sad about the whole business is that my sister did everything by the book and got nowhere. Fortunately for her, we do not share a library list.