Clients slipped wrong disk

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The Independent Online
WHEN David Whistler decided to join the growing army of Internet banking devotees he was hoping he would be able to check his balance from the comfort of his home, perhaps pay bills at the press of a button. Instead his PC sings him love songs and calls him "Puggy Wow".

The trouble started when he installed new software for Barclays Bank's Internet banking service. Attempts to check his balance yielded extracts from a radio broadcast of The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

Further efforts to use the software merely elicited the response, in the clipped received pronunciation of a Thirties continuity announcer, that his table "was aglow with brass nick-nacks".

Yesterday, Barclays, which pioneered PC banking and unveiled its Internet banking service in May, launched a massive product recall after admitting that the wrong CD had been dispatched because of a mix-up at the pressing plant. Instead of software allowing installation of the Barclays Internet service, the CD-ROM had been pressed with 10 eclectic audio tracks normally used in test-runs.

The bank was unable to say how many of its 350,000 on-line customers had received the wrong disc but Peter Duffy, head of Barclays Online Banking, said it "may only run into a few hundred.

"We have had around 20 queries up to now but all affected customers were mailed on Thursday advising them of the situation and have now been sent the correct disc with the right software on.

"It's quite embarrassing. We hope customers see the funny side of it."