Big Five let down their customers in a big way yet again

Business banking news review: week ending 18 Apr 2013

Not that anyone will be particularly surprised by this, but it turns out that the Big Five banks in the UK are horrid when it comes to customer service.

It seems like high street banks are always trying to think up new ways to completely ruin their reputations with consumers, and if you need proof of this you need look no further than the actions of RBS and NatWest, as their current account holders are in for hiked overdraft rates. These unfortunate souls don’t just have to worry about the 19.89 per cent interest rate on their arranged overdrafts but will now have to cope with annual fees of £72 a year if they go more than £10 into the red; this is a big change, considering that before the change you used to be able to go up to £100 into your overdraft before triggering the extra charges.

Luckily, student and graduate accounts won’t be subject to these horrid changes. Otherwise you’re going to have to take out a packaged account – and you’ll have to shell out £24 a month for the privilege.  Of course if you think that NatWest/RBS is the only high street bank to earn the ire of consumers, guess again: a new report revealed that taken altogether the Big Five racked up an eye-watering 13,000 complaints on a daily basis for 2012.

There were some 1.7 million complaints made against NatWest/RBS, Santander, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, and Barclays over a six month period last year alone. Many of these complaints – around 60 per cent – originated from cases of payment protection insurance being mis-sold to consumers, with Lloyds TSB walking away with the top honours in that particular category, though there were plenty of complaints left over for terrible customer service and a raft of other issues.

Overall the big winner was Barclays, though Lloyds TSB certainly did give it a run for its money; Lloyds had just under 350,00 complaints, while Barclays came into the winner’s circle with just over 414,000 complaints. Looks like it’s going to take a bit more than just a few cleverly worded public relations campaign slogans to turn things around for these banks, doesn’t it?

Honestly I can’t draw enough attention to these horrid complaints numbers in the hopes that if enough people hear about them, they’ll take their business elsewhere and find a better solution for their banking needs, whether it be a rival bank or building society or even a local credit union. The Big Five have been left to their own devices for far too long and deserve to have their ‘good’ name dragged through the mud more than once!

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