Bar­clays’ blun­der cost me £1,700

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - FRONT PAGE -

I went to a Bar­clays branch to ask about a euro ac­count.

The ju­nior cashier ex­plained it was im­por­tant to open a euro ac­count oth­er­wise the money from the sale of our prop­erty in France would be changed into ster­ling at the rate on the day.

A week later, I went back to the branch with my wife and saw the se­nior cashier, who asked for ID for my wife. She said that it would only take a week for the euro ac­count to be opened and we would get de­tails in the post.

Our bank in France sent the money to the UK. We as­sumed that Bar­clays would put it in our euro ac­count. In­stead, it turned out that the lo­cal Bar­clays bank had never acted on our in­struc­tion. This meant the money was put into our ster­ling ac­count.

The cashier said she vaguely re­mem­bers open­ing the euro ac­count and sent the ap­pli­ca­tion to the euro de­part­ment.

The euro de­part­ment ap­par­ently never re­ceived the re­quest, so we were never con­tacted.

It is clearly Bar­clays’ fault. How­ever, it thinks it can get away with £200 com­pen­sa­tion when we have lost a sig­nif­i­cant sum.

The money was changed at well be­low the ex­change rate that I would have got from other com­pa­nies. VD, WAR­WICK­SHIRE

Be­cause of the mix-up, the money went into your Bar­clays ac­count and was con­verted into ster­ling at the day’s buy­ing rate. Bar­clays said that its buy­ing rate is cal­cu­lated by ap­ply­ing a per­cent­age charge to the day’s mid­mar­ket rate (or ref­er­ence rate) cor­re­spond­ing to the value of the cur­rency conversion.

In this case you were con­vert­ing €148,000. Bar­clays ap­plied a charge of 1.3pc of the day’s mid­mar­ket rate.

Fur­ther to my in­volve­ment, Bar­clays re­viewed your case. A spokesman said: “We un­der­stand that Mr D made the pay­ment into his Bar­clays ac­count un­der the im­pres­sion that it would be re­ceived in eu­ros and not con­verted into ster­ling.

“We are re­fund­ing £1,699.87 to the cus­tomer so that the conversion is pro­cessed at the mid-mar­ket rate and have cred­ited £200 to his ac­count for the level of ser­vice pro­vided.”

This fig­ure has no com­mis­sion in­cor­po­rated in it. You are very happy with this out­come. have re­ceived sev­eral es­ti­mated bills.

Then re­cently I was sent the cor­rect me­ter read­ing and could see I had been over­charged. I rang Scot­tish Power.

Ten days later, in­stead of a bill of about £40, which I was ex­pect­ing, I re­ceived one for £725.

I am 83 years old and was hor­ri­fied. I feared I might have cal­cu­lated in­cor­rectly.

I wrote twice to Scot­tish Power but it didn’t re­ply. Then I phoned to get help and even­tu­ally re­ceived a bill for £37. All this worry has worn me down.

I feel that Scot­tish Power has been very re­miss. GF, BERKS

Af­ter I con­tacted Scot­tish Power it apol­o­gised for the level of ser­vice. It said the bill was based on es­ti­mated read­ings.

A £30 good­will pay­ment has been ap­plied to your ac­count and flow­ers sent by way of apol­ogy.

Nev­er­the­less, it does need to fully ap­pre­ci­ate just how ter­ri­fy­ing such in­flated bills can be, par­tic­u­larly for any­one on a low, tightly mon­i­tored bud­get, as it ap­pears you are.

pay them my­self once I reached 25 years of age. I left the bank af­ter just over eight years to raise a fam­ily. By the time I could re­turn to work, there were no va­can­cies.

I have tried sev­eral times to get a pen­sion from the bank or a lump sum for the con­tri­bu­tions made on my be­half, but have re­ceived re­jec­tions on each oc­ca­sion.

The ex­cuses for my not hav­ing a pen­sion have ranged from “you did not work here for 10 years” to “you did not at­tain the age of 30 be­fore you left”.

Does this re­ally make sense? WG, WILTS

You had been earn­ing £5 a week and had per­ceived the pen­sion scheme as an im­por­tant and in­te­gral part

of the re­mu­ner­a­tion pack­age. How­ever, this was an era that might be seen as the Wild West in the pen­sion world.

As you stopped work­ing for the firm be­fore April 1975 and didn’t ac­tu­ally pay into the scheme, it is likely you in­deed have no en­ti­tle­ment.

More in­for­ma­tion about these old pen­sions is avail­able from The Pen­sions Ad­vi­sory Ser­vice. Visit pen­sion­sad­vi­so­ry­ser­vice. org.uk or call 0300 123 1047.

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