Wednesday, July 28, 2004

NatWest bank customer service quality is debatable

I've been a personal customer of NatWest for a few years and since I don't realy use the account that much, I've had no problems with them. Now I also hold a business account at NatWest and have recently being trying to sort out various things, such as business cards on the account.

Not only was I told a number of times that I'd receive calls back regarding my queries and applications, I was also being given conflicting information each time I called. I had to keep calling back, because I never got a call from anyone even though I was promised someone would be in touch. Some of the customer services staff I encountered were very polite and professional.

I'd be inclined to think the same of the business managers who actually manage the accounts of business customers. In some cases I found them very understanding and dedication to helping me with my requests. Today I called NatWest and was connected to another business manager, who didn't really understand my concerns relating to the problems I had been having gaining the information I needed and processing of my requests. In fact, she was very rude. It's a good job I don't recall her name because I would name and shame her otherwise.

Amongst other things, she was debating what personal account I had with the bank because obviously their records were incorrect - like that is my fault? No and they could only go on what they had on record!

Now, since I was requesting business cards for the account they would need to see some kind of history, since there was not much on the business account because it had not been open long enough. That being no problem, but I stated I had already given the details of my personal account previously a few days earlier. They were not listed. I was also informed that my personal account was not valid because it had not been used in the last six months after providing the same details again.

I used the scenario: Say I have an account with 1,000 in credit. I have not made any payments or withdrawn any money in the last six months. As far as NatWest are concerned, this is not good enough for history purposes? I was informed this scenario as well as mine, would not fit the required criteria simply because the account has not been in use. They fail to take into consideration that my account has never been in any trouble, I have a switch card and cheque book (which they don't even think I have got) and regardless of balance, because the account has been idle it is not good enough.

What a load of rubbish. Pathetic in fact, combined with the fact I had to keep pointing out I don't have a Solo or Electron card on my personal account, since they are for chilren, yet as it stands this is all you are prepared to give me on a business account?

Does NatWest not consider customers with a personal account of a few years at least, with no problems ever, to be worthy enough of a card which is of any use to a business? It seems not. I have to make payments from the account online, Solo or Electron are not much use as most places do not accept them, I'm having to make payments from one of my personal accounts and then move money from the business account back over to my personal account because of this.

I would have to produce some history from another account first which is no problem, since I have a good credit rating and can get qiute a lot on accounts of mine held wth other banks with no problems at all.

It's fair enough taking precautions, but as an existing customer of 2-3 years, I am really not happy about the way this has been handled. I'm mostly annoyed at how the lady on the phone was talking to me, as if I had done something wrong. When I asked to speak to someone else about this she stated there was not anyone else I could speak to - that was it as far as she was concerned.

Now, most companies are prepared to compromise when the customer is not happy, she was not interested. I was quite direct about the fact I was not happy with her being of no use at all and that as a business account holder, I am also not happy that I cannot get the things I need to be able to use the account for business purposes - a Solo / Electron card on a business account is laughable.

I stated that if for any reason, when I send through account history from other accounts, there should be no problems at all but if there are, I will be forced to move the account to a bank that can actually provide me with a business class account with the services a business expects. I can understand this criteria has to be met with new customers of the bank, but since I have had an account which has been in no trouble, but could have been - that shows I know how to manage my accounts and I am not a new customer so the lower level of trust evident with new customers will not be there. Just because the account has not been in use is no excuse, like I said - the fact you would say the same regardless of the amount of credit in the account proves it.

All she had to say was if you want to move the account, that is your choice.

Very professional, not even understanding of my situation, which was fully explained. Not even prepared to get someone I could speak to. I think this is worthy of an official complaint, as I'm sure I am not the only one who has encountered being told their personal account is not worthy of being used, simple because it has not been in use, fair enough - but not when there is credit in the account and it has not had any problems.

I am aware of how the debit and credit card systems currently work in the UK and the reasons for not giving out cards but I have a Switch card already with Natwest, what is the problem? All my other personal accounts have visa debit & credit cards too. I've never come over issues like this before and if they give me any trouble when I send through history, I'll have no problems in swapping the account over to a real bank, such as Barclays or Cahoot as I've always been given what is required on my personal accounts, far more than I need & I'm sure they would be prepared to offer what is required for my business needs.

So, I'll have to sort out online banking and move money around that way. That is, if I can even get access to my account! Generally credit cards will only allow transactions to go through when you have credit, the debit system will allow transactions to go through regardless, since the debit guarantee states the company taking payment will always get their money, which is why there are the issues with obtaining cards when you are a new customer.

There are reasons for beig declined on a debit card when a transation is taking place but it is not due to your account being checked to see if funds are available - this does not happen - most people think it does. Usually it is because of busy periods, so trying again would work. The only other reason would be due to the card being stolen and blacklisted with all of the banks and merchant card service providers.

Since most credit cards will not allow more than your limit due to balance checks (usually), there would be no issue with giving us a card? Wrong, they won't do that either - so we can't even get a low limit covered by the in credit amount that is already in the business account! The balance check is what differs from debit cards which do not check before allowing a transaction, as I stated above.

The moral of this story is:

Some banks don't care that you are a business and have requirements to be able to do business. Natwest, doesn't care if you leave either - so I would suggest avoiding them for your business banking needs at all costs in the first place. I'll be sending history and if I have any further problems I will close the account and make an official complaint - and I'm not normally one for complaining but this is just a joke so maybe I will make a complaint anyway.

Post ID: 456, posted by jase at 10:00 PM
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Comments

I have read this with interest as I am an ex employee of Nat West. I left because of the excessive stress caused by the management and workload. I must say that the people you had dealings with were probably unable to do anymore than they did These days no manager in the branches has any real authority they are all answerable to someone faceless in an Ivory Tower who has probably never had to serve a customer Face to Face. (No excuse for being rude though) This has resulted in banks becoming inhuman and robotic in their dealings with customers. I am now just a customer and I hate going to my branch they are heavily understaffed because no-one likes working for them. The staff who have been there for sometime are experienced and helpful but they are constantly Bullied into selling products. The job is no longer a customer service role but a Retail selling role. I agree with you that until someone wakes up to the fact that customers want service not selling or bureaucracy they are not going to gain friends!

Posted by: A Read at August 20, 2004 11:33 AM

I am lodging an oficial complaint. After Banking with Natwest for almost twenty years, i had to close five accounts (with sizable balnces) becasue of the unwillingess of a Branch manager to even see me to discuss some business regarding the account. I reside abroad. I was last in england three years ago. Natwest has changed.

Posted by: Hammer at September 18, 2004 07:02 PM

It is a joke really, I'm going to apply once again soon when the account has been open for a year or not far off. If they refuse again, I'll move the account because there will be enough money in there & requesting a credit card say, with low limit on it is not asking for too much yet will allow us to manage bills easier.

If they can't do that, they are of no use to us. I wish I had the conversation recorded because the women on the phone was an idiot, she calls herself one of the business account managers. Yeah right, she could not manage a simple request, from a customer service perspective.

Posted by: jase at September 20, 2004 02:10 AM

I went to abbey national a newer bank service than Natwest bank. I opened a join account with my husband because i just got married not too long ago and i was very happy and impressed with the excellent customer service of abbey national team in Swansea. i got my Visa card in five days time instead of ten days time and next i went to Swansea kingsway Natwest branch and i tried to replace my switch card with Visa debit card like what i did in abbey national. The women who sat in the counter wasn't polite to me and it was a row of Asian or particulary chinese students who wait for her service.She told me the highest level of card is Visa Credit Card and there is no such thing call Visa Debit card. I told her i just opened a Visa Debit card account with my husband in Abbey national. I am 24 years old coming from a foreign country and married in swansea and if this women is about 42 years old twice the age i am and doesn't know there is existance of Visa Debit card, It is a shame of Natwest bank to give a job for this lady. I remembered she turned around and put my switch card on the table and a booklet of Visa Credit card and convinced me that she knows more than what i should know.I seriously feel there is a racist problem from this branch. She should learn about her attitude to work in her own country and give other visitor in this country a bad impression towards the service from this bank globally.When i go back to my own country for visiting my family, i think if anyone ask me about Britain bank account, i have to tell them Don't bother to apply one from Natwest Kingsway branch and if i want to find more information about the services of Natwest, i rather go to a small branch for a more friendly service.I deposited my money in the bank not to get the grieve

Posted by: Hui Ling Archer at November 27, 2004 05:56 PM
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