Sunday, 19 August 2012
To say that I am sick and tired of the attitude of banks, particularly over their appalling treatment of customers trying to reclaim wrongly sold PPI, would be a gross understatement.
I speak from experience but I know tens of thousands of others are probably being subjected to a similar lack of respect. In my case, the finger is being firmly pointed at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
When they opened a branch in my neck of the woods many years ago I was one of the first to open an account with them. Compared to my experiences with Barclays, the RBS were like a breath of fresh air, and they continued to be until this whole issue of irregularities occurred over the selling of PPI. Until then, my experiences with RBS had been extremely good. I found the staff to be friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. I had no complaints. And then, under the leadership of Fred Goodwin things started to go wrong ... very wrong. Staff came and went and the levels of service fell. I hardly ever visited the bank without a member of staff trying to sell me a new 'product'. When I extended my meagre business overdraft at my manager's suggestion to something more substantial I was informed that PPI was a compulsory part of the agreement. I didn't argue; after all I trusted and got on exceptionally well with the business advisor assigned to my account. Little did I know then that when I later needed to claim on the payment protection insurance, I was promptly told by RBS that as a self-employed person I did not qualify. Up until then, with the bank never being in any doubt about my self-employed status, they had continued taking hundreds of pounds from me in premium payments over a period of several years.
When the miss-selling of PPI made the headlines I realised that I was entitled to a refund, now amounting to several thousands of pounds. At the start of this year I instigated a claim and by the start of May I received an offer as a 'goodwill gesture'. I completed the documentation accepting the offer and posted the form back to RBS same day. Even though I was angered by their reference to a legitimate refund of money I was entitled to get back being referred to as a 'goodwill gesture' I was, at that time, prepared to ignore it. When the refund hadn't arrived a month or so later I phoned the RBS helpline and was told very quickly by some disinterested individual in the Manchester call centre that my acceptance documents had been lost in the post. There was not even a hint of 'may have' been lost in the post but a definitive pronouncement that appeared to be uttered as a well-rehearsed line he had used a thousand times before to other hapless victims.