Home Money TONY HETHERINGTON: Nightmare over Neighborhood Watch’s bank account at Barclays

TONY HETHERINGTON: Nightmare over Neighborhood Watch’s bank account at Barclays

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Peace of Mind: a sign in an area covered by Neighborhood Watch

Tony Hetherington is the Financial Mail on Sunday’s star investigator, battling readers’ corners, revealing the truth behind closed doors and winning victories for those left penniless. Find out how to contact him below.

AP writes: Our Neighborhood Watch has a community bank account at Barclays.

One of the signatories passed away and the remaining signer contacted the bank to add me to the mandate.

The paperwork was completed and I visited the bank with the new mandate form and proof of my identity.

But when I sent an email and wrote to the bank, I received no response.

Peace of Mind: a sign in an area covered by Neighborhood Watch

Tony Hetherington replies: Not receiving a response was just the beginning of his problems. When he called the bank and spoke to someone he believed was in Africa, they agreed that Barclays had received the new mandate form. However, there was a question about your designation as a signatory and the speaker gave you a different number so that you could call someone in India, who in turn told you to go to your branch, which you had already done.

You called Barclays again, this time speaking to Stavros in Greece, who told you that the new mandate should come into force within a fortnight.

It didn’t, so you wrote to the bank’s headquarters. She was informed that she had been doing a lot of work in the background and that she should hear something later that week. Of course, he heard nothing, and when he complained he was told that the matter had been escalated to senior management.

No reason was offered, but a couple of weeks later the other signatory on the Neighborhood Watch account tried to use it and was told by the branch that the account, which contained £650, had been frozen. At that time you contacted me and told me that ‘Barclays has taken our funds!’

I asked the bank what had gone so wrong that they had to freeze the account of a community group whose sole purpose is to warn against crime. Barclays told me: “This is a rare occasion where an error occurred when the account was initially opened in 2007.”

Your Neighborhood Watch program was mistakenly assigned a personal Everyday Saver account instead of one for a local association or society. This was noted when she requested to change the mandate and the bank was now changing it to a Business Premium account.

The good thing is that Barclays apologized for the mistake and inconvenience and added £500 to the bill. What’s less helpful is that the bank only makes such changes one day a month and you missed the last batch by 24 hours, again delaying the entire process. I returned to Barclays headquarters and the delivery was done quickly. The bank even added another £200 to its previous £500 apology.

So problem solved? Not quite. A strange letter arrived from Barclays, saying that because Neighborhood Watch had changed its “business address” (meaning the statements would go to your home), the bank wanted a copy of the lease or rental agreement for your business, or utility bills, insurance contracts, correspondence. from HMRC, letters from the Financial Conduct Authority or The Law Society, or signed confirmation from an accountant or solicitor. If you don’t provide at least one of these documents showing your ‘business name’, your nice new account will be frozen again.

Once again, Barclays apologized. It was all a misunderstanding. The bank knew you weren’t running a business and would gladly accept a utility bill or something similar as proof of your address, although, like a crazy Alice in Wonderland scene where nothing is as it seems, Barclays He explained to me that even though the account is not for a company, its address is still considered a business address.

Once upon a time, perhaps back when Mr Mainwaring of Dad’s Army was the manager of the local bank and knew all the customers, accounts were less complex. Now banks – not just Barclays – are so far removed from their customers that they are resorting to box-ticking exercises rather than common sense.

He showed Barclays his income tax coding notice which included his address. His account is now working normally. But the only really good thing to come out of all this is that your Neighborhood Watch gets an unexpected £700 upgrade.


DF writes: We have an apartment in Tenerife that we advertise through the rental company VRBO UK.

We received a booking and the £502 payment was due shortly after, but VRBO said it was sent to Alfred Capper’s account.

I had never heard of it, but VRBO refused to pay me, saying they couldn’t get the money back.

Sunny outlook: the rate for an apartment in Tenerife has finally arrived

Sunny outlook: the rate for an apartment in Tenerife has finally arrived

Tony Hetherington replies: When he told VRBO he hadn’t received the £502 he should have sent to his bank account, he told VRBO he had asked a company called Hyperwallet to investigate. VRBO told him that Hyperwallet had responded that “unfortunately there are no funds left for recovery at this time.” This was no explanation, but VRBO gave an equally dismissive and unhelpful response, saying that he had sent the money to Payoneer (EU) Limited, a Gibraltar payment processing company.

VRBO is part of travel group Expedia, which told me it had been in touch after discovering that its account details had been changed to an unknown Payoneer account, and that “our team quickly investigated and determined that your host account could have been compromised.” .

Expedia claimed to have sent you a form to fill out so you can get your £502 back. Two days after I questioned VRBO, they told you they would pay you after all. The next day, £502 appeared in his bank account. Magic!

If you believe you are a victim of financial irregularity, please write to Tony Hetherington at Financial Mail, 9 Derry Street, London W8 5HY or email tony.hetherington@mailonsunday.co.uk. Due to the large volume of inquiries, it is not possible to provide personal responses. Please only send copies of the original documents, which we regret cannot be returned.

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