Questions of Cash: What a pain with Spain when I tried to get my Santander cash

 

Q. I have a current account with Santander in Salamanca in Spain, where I taught English during 2010. I was unsure if I would return, so I kept the account open containing €1,600 (£1,43.50). I now know I will stay in England but I have been unable to transfer the money to an English account. I have online access to view my account, but it turns out this is insufficient to make a transfer of funds, for which I must prove my identity.

Each time I phone the English-speaking call centre in Spain I am told something different. It seems I must go to Salamanca branch to prove my identity and sign security forms, but I am unable to. I have written to the branch – in Spanish – to send me the forms to make the transfer but I have heard nothing.

I visited my local Santander branch in England and asked if I could open an account with them and have the balance transferred. They said the two banks are separate and they cannot help. Their advice was to take a holiday in Spain and get the money while there. I need the money for living expenses, not holidays! I cannot believe that in the digital age the only way for me to access my money is to visit Salamanca in person.

RP, West Yorkshire.

A. This has proven a surprisingly difficult challenge, but after several weeks and several false leads we eventually succeeded. Although Santander Bank in the UK is separate from Banco Santander in Spain we realised it would be much easier if the UK bank could provide introductions for us to resolve your problem. Introductions were made and initially it seemed that the matter would be easily resolved.

We were given the phone number of an English-speaking Superlinea service – 0034 91 273 7090 – which we were told would enable you to make the transfer after answering some standard security questions.

We were also told that your branch in Spain was "not aware" you were trying to make the transfer. However, when you made the call things did not work out as we expected.

Again it seemed you would have to provide proof of identity in person, involving a trip to Spain. We made fresh contact with Santander's head office in Spain, and it was then agreed you would email the Salamanca branch directly to state you instructed the branch to close the account and provide details of your account in the UK to receive the funds. You were permitted to prove your identity by attaching a scan of your passport, to enable the release of the funds.

That did not immediately work, as the branch apparently did not receive the scan. Eventually, however, everything worked smoothly and your account was credited with over £1,400.

The bank says that to avoid problems like this customers should make arrangements while still in the country for remote access to an account. Its spokeswoman explained: "It is normally a simple process to arrange phone and internet access. However, once a customer has left the country security procedures make this much more complex. Banco Santander has an English-speaking phone-banking line for customers in Spain, but a customer has to be previously registered for phone banking to use it."

Orange made me see red over my mobile

Q. I lost my iPhone in early February. I informed Orange and it blocked my account. I then signed with EE for an iPhone 5, but decided a few hours later to cancel the order.

It was too late to prevent the handset being despatched, so I had to refuse it on delivery. EE was to cancel my new contract and refund all charges when the handset was returned. Despite repeated requests EE never repaid the money and owes me £70.

I ordered a new iPhone 4s from Orange, but the SIM card did not work. A new SIM card was despatched, with a new PAC code for me to keep my phone number.

My new handset showed my old number on my handset, but a different number on recipients' handsets.

A few weeks later the voicemail stopped working. In September, when I was moving and needed to be in regular contact with my solicitor and estate agent, my phone stopped working altogether. My husband phoned my number and a stranger answered, saying she had just bought a phone and my number had been allocated to her! I phoned Orange and terminated my contract. It refused compensationand is still collecting money from my account.

RP, London.

A. Orange, part of EE, said: "We apologise sincerely that [the reader] did not receive the high standard of customer service that Orange strives for. We have offered [the reader] a gesture of goodwill, which she has accepted." Given the scale of your problems we hope it was reasonably substantial!

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But we'll do our best to help if you have a financial dilemma. 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

Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
News
Tattoo enthusiast Cammy Stewart poses for a portrait during the Great British Tattoo Show
In picturesThe Great British Tattoo Show
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

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

    £45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

    Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

    £45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

    Laura Norton: Project Accountant

    £50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?