Questions of Cash: ‘Does customer loyalty mean nothing to Barclays?’

Q. In September, I overdrew by £10 at Barclays for less than a day and was charged £22. It was the first time in 36 years I’d made an error. The local manager said she no longer had discretion and that the charge was fixed. I wrote to head office about customer loyalty, but it seems this no longer exists. SG, Newcastle.

A. Barclays says it wrote to you in June to explain changes in its charging structure from August, but you apparently did not receive this letter. The new terms offer a “personal reserve service”, which “provides customers with their own reserve” to use in emergencies if they go overdrawn. Making it seem good news, Barclays says “customers only pay for this service when it is used, and then all they pay is a Reserve Usage Fee of £22 for the first five consecutive working days”. It still means you’ve been charged £22 for going overdrawn by £10 for a few hours. This sounds to us like an excessive overdraft penalty by another name. Barclays is not prepared to withdraw the charge.

Q. I recently opened a one-year bond with the Anglo Irish Bank, which has just been nationalised by the Irish government. I read in Questions of Cash last Saturday that the bank was only ever “partially covered” by the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Anglo Irish’s literature in December stated only that it was a member of the FSCS. Its website also claimed membership of the FSCS, with a link to the UK’s FSCS website. I emailed the FSCS seeking clarification of Anglo Irish’s membership, using its “contact us” box, but received no reply. The situation was ambiguous until Anglo Irish sent letters to customers this month, saying it was no longer a member of the FSCS. I was given an English address to send my cheque to Anglo Irish, which I thought made it equivalent to an English bank branch. Is there any greater degree of safety for depositors now that the bank has been nationalised? I thought the issue of compensation had been settled, but apparently not. MM, Newcastle.

A. The situation on savings guarantees is certainly complex – especially with banks regulated in another EU country, with UK offices. Primary regulation remains the responsibility of their home regulator, rather than the UK’s Financial Services Authority. Compensation schemes for UK customers of these European banks is the same as in their home territory, except where the UK provides higher levels of support, in which case the guarantee is “topped up” to the UK level. In the case of the Irish banks, this meant that the UK’s FSCS ceased to be relevant in November when the Irish government adopted a higher guarantee than that of the FSCS.

The position with Anglo Irish has not been helped |by its failure to respond initially to ‘The Independent’ when we tried to get the position clarified after receiving letters from concerned readers. And its communications, still, are misleading. The Irish government has issued a guarantee for a two-year period that covers the full value of deposits in the Irish banks, yet Anglo Irish tells us, bizarrely, that it is prevented from stating that this is the case, as that would be marketing itself to exploit

that guarantee. Instead, it is only allowed to refer to the compensation that was in place prior to this, which |was limited to €100,000 (£92,500). This has caused much confusion. The bank has now been nationalised, giving it an additional safety net from the Irish government. Concerns about Ireland’s finances should |not affect the government’s ability to meet compensation claims in the immediate future should any of its banks be unable to repay their savers.

Anglo Irish apologises to you for any confusion in its correspondence. A spokeswoman adds: “The nationalisation of Anglo will in no way adversely impact our customers’ deposits. Depositors in Ireland enjoy robust protection when it comes to the security of their money.” A spokeswoman for the FSCS says it has had a “massive” increase in enquiries since the start of the banking crisis, causing delays in responding to enquiries. It says that, at present, it is replying to 90 per cent of emails and other correspondence within 15 days.

Q. We moved house in August, informing our internet and phone provider Pipex in plenty of time. We were instructed to confirm the move nearer the time and told that it would take three to four weeks to set up the service at the new address. In October, we |still had no internet connection, despite phoning repeatedly. We gave up, having paid Pipex £60 for a service we did not receive. We also had a large BT bill in place of Pipex’s service, including £6 for calls to Pipex. MG, Dorset.

A.Tiscali, which now owns Pipex, apologises, saying that |an error had been made by |one of its agents. It agrees to refund the £60 and will pay you an extra £20 for your inconvenience, plus |the extra costs on your BT phone bill that you have incurred because Pipex failed to set up its phone service – which you calculate at £40 to £50.

Q. My elderly aunt has never had confidence in banks and has no bank account. She is now unable to leave the house on her own. She received a cheque for £737 almost a year ago for an “unclaimed cash entitlement”. The letter states that the cheque must be presented for payment within 12 months. We don’t know what to do as my aunt is unable to go to a bank to open an account, but of course she does not want to lose the money. She lives on the Isle of Man and we live in Lancashire. JR, Rossendale.

A. It is possible to open a bank account without going to |a branch of the bank. The Co-operative Bank told us that it would normally require a passport or a photo driving licence to open an account by phone or post. |If your aunt does not have either of these, then it will accept another agreed form of identification certified as being hers by a professional person – her solicitor, doctor, dentist, or even the sub-postmaster. However, she may need to request a replacement cheque in spite of the 12-month deadline specified in the letter, as banks will not normally accept a cheque that is more than six months old for presentation to another bank for clearance.

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But if you have a financial dilemma, we’ll do our best to help. Please email us at:

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at

Life and Style
love + sex
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

    Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

    Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

    £36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn