Questions of Cash: Problems with 'dormant' direct debit ended 20 years of faultless banking

 

Q. I have had several problems with Barclays this year, after more than 20 years of faultless banking. One outstanding problem is that this summer I used my Co-operative Bank credit card for the first time for some months. I had a direct debit set up to automatically pay the minimum amount. Unknown to me, this had expired. Barclays refused to make the payment for two months in a row and failed to tell me. I was charged two months' non-payment by the Co-op until I spoke to them and they lifted the charges.

The Co-op told me to speak to Barclays about the problem: Barclays told me the Co-op had cancelled the direct debit the day before the payment was due to be processed. I spoke to the Co-op again, who said this was untrue and they didn't have the authority to do this anyway. The Co-op has agreed to explain the situation to the credit reference agency if Barclays will provide a note of explanation – which they promised to provide, but have not done so. NS, London.

A. Your experience should be a warning to all occasional users of credit cards. Banks must comply with a "dormancy" rule. Any direct debit not used for a period of 13 months – either from the date of a lodgement, or from the date of last payment – is made dormant and removed. This is for customers' security, reducing the risk of fraud or error. In your case, the direct-debit mandate was made dormant because it had not been used for 22 months. Barclays says that the responsibility for notifying a card user that a direct debit has gone dormant lies with the originating bank, not the payer's bank. A spokesman for Barclays says: "All direct-debiting companies are aware of this rule and of the need to set up a new mandate if required. After a mandate has expired and been removed, should the company claim payments, these will be automatically returned as 'no instruction held'." We have asked The Co-operative Bank to ensure that there is no remaining adverse entry on your credit reference report.

Q. In June my aunt was to transfer £500 via internet banking to my Santander current account. I mistakenly got two digits wrong when reading out my account number from my cheque book. Two days later I realised the account had not been credited and the reason for this. My aunt inquired and was told the transfer had already been processed and it was too late to recall. When I spoke to my branch manager I was told that even though they knew whose account had been wrongly credited, the bank was not prepared to contact the account holder either to request a refund, or even to explain what had happened. I cannot believe that banks are not required to cross-reference the account number with the account holder's name when processing transfers. SS, Hastings.

A. Yours has become a common experience and is a frequent cause of complaints to Questions of Cash. As this column has stressed on several previous occasions, it is essential to take great care when making electronic payments to provide the correct details – and to do the same when advising another person of account details for a transfer. Banks no longer check account numbers against the names of account holders when processing electronic payments. If the transfer goes through wrongly, you may lose the funds. In this case, Santander has taken pity on you. A spokeswoman for Santander says: "Due to the circumstances of this case, we have agreed to make a goodwill payment of £500 to [the reader]. We urge customers to use care when transferring funds online and stress that there was no Santander error in this case."

Q. I have purchased an annual station parking permit from Meteor Parking, costing £200 a year, to be allowed to legally operate from a taxi rank in southern England. Although I have a permit, there is a lack of enforcement to prevent others plying for hire without paying the permit and stealing business from those of us who have paid. I have contacted Meteor Parking several times, without success. They just say that they provide staff to enforce the rules. MM, southern England.

A. Meteor Parking has now discussed your problem with you in more detail and promises to take the necessary action. It has provided you with a phone number to report any cars seeking trade without the necessary permit. A spokesman for Meteor says: "We work closely with Southeastern [Railway] to monitor taxis trading at its stations and have implemented a permit system whereby only taxis with a valid permit are able to trade. Taxi drivers who are found to be operating at Southeastern stations without a permit risk a parking charge notice of £90 and prosecution. We frequently visit the stations to avoid abuse of the system."

Q. The Co-operative Bank has caused me repeated problems this year. It has failed to update its records with my current phone number; it has not provided the Co-operative Group membership dividends I am due; and it failed to process a payment to a health insurer, causing the policy to lapse. NL, Philippines.

A. Unfortunately, your complaint has been ongoing for several months. During this time, we became mere observers, copied into emails between yourself and the bank. These suggested differences of opinion of fact, but also that the bank repeatedly missed agreed deadlines for resolving aspects of a complicated complaint. Eventually we intervened again, with a request that the matter be resolved immediately – it then was. A spokesman for The Co-operative Bank says: "This was a detailed and in-depth complaint with a number of aspects. Unfortunately, there have been some delays in us responding and we accept that it could have been handled better. We have apologised to [the reader] and as a result of any inconvenience caused credited his account with £300."

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

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

    Reach Volunteering: Trustees with Finance, Fundraising and IT skills

    Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses reimbursable: Reach Volunteering: St...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent