Questions Of Cash: NatWest ignored me over old account

 

Q. Both my parents have passed away. While undertaking the house clearance I came across a National Provincial bank account book in my name. It was opened for me at the age of eight and clearly intended for me to benefit when older. The bank book shows over £800 and there is no record of any withdrawals.

I provided my local NatWest branch with copies of the bank book in 2009. I received a reply from NatWest that failed to confirm that the account had been closed. I responded in July 2009 that their explanation was clearly established upon a best guess. My letter was not replied to, nor was another letter from October 2010. I have never received evidence that the account was closed. NatWest has obviously decided to ignore me. JW, Carmarthenshire

A. We have discussed this problem for several months with RBS, the parent bank of NatWest (formed by the merger of the National Provincial and Westminster banks in 1968). RBS tells us it has carefully checked its old records. These show the account was closed in 1997, 11 years after your father died and before you were aware of its existence. RBS retains detailed account information for 10 years, which it says is fully compliant with its legal obligations. Its summary records merely show the account was closed by a person using your surname.

You have requested further information regarding the account, including who was entitled to make withdrawals from the account opened in your name, but RBS no longer has this information. RBS accepts it could and should have done more to answer your enquiries sooner and more efficiently. Consequently it has transferred £75 into your account as a gesture of goodwill. But it is adamant that the account was properly closed. A spokeswoman said: "Our complaints team have now concluded their enquiries in the light of the additional information provided and have located a closing statement proving that the account was actually closed 25 April 1997. The reason for closure was given as 'no further use'.

A cheque was issued at the time to [a person with the reader's surname] with the closing balance of £4.06. All our records were computerised by the early 1970s. After that time there would be no need for customers to produce a book when making a deposit or withdrawal... We know some customers kept their passbooks as a personal record and the bank did not ask for their return... In recognition of the inconvenience caused by the delay in him receiving a full response regarding this matter, we have credited his account with £75 as a gesture of goodwill." You tell us that you are not satisfied with this – we suggest you pursue the matter with the Financial Ombudsman.

Q. My partner flew from Germany to Dublin on Christmas Eve 2010, travelling with his two young children, to visit me over the holiday. His Aer Lingus flight was delayed, causing them to wait nine hours at Hamburg airport and to spend Christmas Eve at a hotel in Dublin, instead of being at my home. They were not given any vouchers for food and drink during the delays, which is required under European Union law. My partner and I have complained repeatedly, but he has not received any compensation. MW, Ireland

A. You state that you and your partner have repeatedly provided Aer Lingus with the details of the bank account the payment was to be made into. Aer Lingus says this information was not received. When you contacted us we provided this information to Aer Lingus' media relations team to enable the payment to be made. When we checked a few days later on progress, once more Aer Lingus denied having received the account details.

We are promised that a payment for €124 (£100) has now been approved, in line with the amount requested by your partner. This should be received within the next week. It has taken us several weeks to obtain this payment and you requested additional compensation because of the continued delay.

However, Aer Lingus does not accept that the delay is its fault and has not complied with your request. A spokesman for the airline said: "Aer Lingus, in accordance with EU Regulation 261/2004, reimbursed reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for additional accommodation costs. Aer Lingus cannot accept liability for consequential costs such as car hire and recommends that any individual affected in this way contacts their personal travel insurers in order to pursue this portion of their claim."

Q. My building society's lawyer has phoned me to discuss my mortgage application. Before he will speak to me he says he requires me to answer security questions to confirm my identification. This is a terrible cheek. How am I supposed to know who he is? I should not be expected to provide security details that could open the way to someone committing a fraud against me. I put the phone down on him. I think this practice could well be illegal. CW, London.

A. We asked the Information Commissioner's Office for its view, but it does not share your opinion regarding the legal situation. A spokesman for the Information Commissioner said: "The Data Protection Act places a series of obligations on financial companies who hold and process peoples' data. This includes having appropriate measures in place to keep this information secure. Asking a person security questions to access details related to their account helps to stop unauthorised access to this information. Therefore the building society may instruct their lawyers to adopt this approach when speaking to their clients. If they do adopt this approach then it is good practice to inform their customer that these checks will be made. If the person has any doubts that the individual they are speaking to is not a representative from their building society, then they should contact the company to confirm, before handing out any of their information."

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: questionsofcash@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Financial Analyst - Forecasting - Yorkshire

    £300 - £350 per day: Orgtel: Financial Analyst, Forecasting, Halifax, Banking,...

    Business Architect - Bristol - £500 per day

    £500 per day: Orgtel: Business Architect - Banking - Bristol - £500 per day A...

    Regulatory Reporting-MI-Bank-Cardiff-£300/day

    £200 - £500 per day + competitive: Orgtel: I am currently working on a large p...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

    Day In a Page

    Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

    Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

    In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
    Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

    How has your club fared in summer sales?

    Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
    Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

    'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

    Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
    The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

    The best swim shorts for men

    Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup