My daughter, who has special needs, was asked by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to supply all bank statements from April 2015 to the present date.
We left Nationwide and Halifax with the requested documents — but NatWest was a different story.
On December 6, we were assured that they would be posted in the next week. They were not. On December 20, we were told the statements were being re-ordered. They never arrived.
No help: Natwest staff proved less than helpful when one reader tried to help his daughter obtain her bank statements
We tried twice more at the beginning of January and made an official complaint. Still no statements.
Branch staff were also really unhelpful and advised us to phone and complain. Finally, on January 29, we were told the account was registered as not requiring paper statements, so the computer was rejecting the request.
We were then sent statements for January 2018, not those for which we had been asking.
On our next visit to the branch, we spoke to a spectacularly unhelpful person who we felt really couldn’t have cared less.
S. B., by email.
No doubt you wished to respond quickly to the DWP — this could affect your daughter’s benefits and income.
Yet NatWest’s blundering meant it actually took three months to complete this simple task, as every staff member with whom you spoke was too slipshod to do their job properly.
If it had happened once, we could have blamed carelessness, but your experience suggests poor training, lack of oversight and dismal management.
Each staff member should have taken ownership of the problem to make sure you received the documents as quickly as possible.
Once I prodded the bank with a sharp stick, someone from the chief executive’s office called you to apologise.
NatWest admitted: ‘The service you received from the branch and our processing teams has been wholly unacceptable.’
Staff have been spoken to, as have senior managers. A list of transactions has now been sent by courier and the statements posted separately.
NatWest has also offered to speak directly to the DWP if there any questions about the account. In addition, you have been sent what you describe as a ‘huge bouquet of flowers’ and £250 has been paid into your daughter’s account.
YOU HAVE YOUR SAY
One group of society is missing from the article — housebound people who rely on others for shopping and so must use cash.
B. V., Leicester.
Cash is the only true way to budget. It’s tangible and you take exactly what you need.
The very principle behind cards is to make you consume based on what you want, not what you need.
S. L., Aylesbury, Bucks.
Whether you use cash or card, the supermarket still knows what you bought when you swipe your Nectar or Clubcard.
C. H., Hampshire.
As we have seen with the current Facebook goings-on, once firms have access to our data, we cannot know where it ends up and who can use it.
I use cash where I can — who is to say that in future, our purchases will not be used against us?
L. T., Carlisle.
It’s a shame the elderly aren’t embracing technology, as it would make their lives cheaper.
I set up a direct debit for my 90-year-old mum to pay her bills and saved her £100 a year.
S. P., by email.
I’ve been charged £312.75 by Vodafone for a contract of which I had no knowledge. It dates to when I thought I was upgrading my existing deal, but was given a new contract.
I’ve asked for a refund, but it has offered only £20.
C. K., Hertfordshire.
Last April, you tried to upgrade to an iPhone 6s. You placed the order online but, for some reason, you were given a new line, rather than an upgrade of your existing one.
From this point on, you had two numbers and two bills.
When you complained, Vodafone was dismissive and described this as a ‘miscommunication’.
It said it provided an app that allowed you to monitor your account — in other words, it was blaming you.
It concluded: ‘As there is no dispute of the line rental costs for the nine months, we consider the charges incurred valid.’
Well, Vodafone has now looked at your case again and admits the new connection was set up in error. It will be refunding the £312.75, plus a £50 credit.
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
I’ve read in Money Mail that the tax-free personal allowance is £11,500, but I’m getting only £10,600. Am I being shortchanged?
Name and address supplied.
It is £11,500 until April 6, when it is increased to £11,850.
But HMRC reduces allowances to collect tax due — so you may owe tax on some untaxed source. You should have been sent an explanation from the taxman.
Ring HMRC on 0300 200 3300 and have your National Insurance number to hand so it can look up the details of your case.
My partner died last year.
He had a small annuity paying £417 a year. A few weeks after his death, we received a letter from his insurer, saying it had stopped the payout.
I thought under recent laws, families could receive a lump sum. Is this correct?
G. S., Romsey, Hants.
No, that’s not right. If you have turned a pension into an annuity, it will die when you do, unless you have specified that the money goes to a partner.
I tried to call National Savings & Investments on the number included in Money Mail’s Spring Clean Your Finances supplement yesterday, but it won’t work. Can you help?
R. L., Stevenage, Herts.
Unfortunately, the number we printed is out-of-date. You can contact NS&I on 08085 007 007. We apologise for any inconvenience.
My husband died in October. He had £35 of Premium Bonds.
When I tried to cash them in, I was told I needed to send a certified copy of his will. This will cost me more in solicitors’ fees than the bonds are worth.
D. R., Vale of Glamorgan.
Your letter highlights a concern I have had for some time.
When someone dies and leaves a small number of Premium Bonds, the hurdles set in place by National Savings & Investments (NS&I) are out of all proportion to the sum involved.
This would help explain why there are 1.4 million unclaimed prizes worth more than £58 million.
NS&I can find no record of you writing, but it agrees you would have been asked to provide either an original or a certified copy of the will with a Death of a Holder form. Call 08085 007 007 if you need one posted to you.
I would try contacting a local solicitor about the cost — if the will is simple and short, it might just be worthwhile.