Santander – an exercise in customer service

bank teller

You have been a victim of fraud. All of the money in your bank account has gone. The thousands of pounds that you thought was your security have disappeared for ever.

As a bonus, if you don’t pay something into the account it will overdraw, and you will be charged for it. So you head off to your Santander branch to sort that out.

You join the queue, shuffling along until you reach the counter. The chirpy employee greets you with a smile. She knows about your problem. She is sympathetic. Is she going to invite you to discuss it with an advisor in private? Will they inquire after your well-being, and ask what they can do to help you? Perhaps they will offer you a cup of coffee, even a couple of biscuits?

Wake up! This is Santander. You will discuss this life-changing event here, at the counter, in public. She tells you how you were defrauded, and how you could have avoided it. She tells you that a Santander account is one of the most secure on the market, because of the sophisticated fraud-detection software. You are not reassured.

To confirm your identity, she takes your credit card from you, and takes it into a side office. You are concerned. Santander instructs you not to allow anyone to take your card out of your sight, and she has done just that.

She returns. Now that she is sure that you are who you say you are, she begins to trace the route taken by your stolen money. Surely this was done two days ago, when you reported the fraud? You’re forgetting. This is Santander.

Good news! She knows where the money went. It was all transferred into a Lloyds account. Bad news. The account’s empty.

She’s very sorry, but there’s no more that the bank can do. You need to report it to the police.

You tell her that you reported it to Action Fraud two days ago. You were told then that the police don’t investigate bank fraud on behalf of the customer. They will only act on a bank’s request. Shouldn’t she make sure that that request has been made?

No. It’s your responsibility. You give up. You leave the bank to go to the police station.

“Next, please!” says the cheery teller.

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