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Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Halifax Bank - The Tenth Circle of Hell

I haven't written much recently because my life has been eaten by a series of multiple frauds on my account. This has resulted in a series of phone calls where I trembling on the brink of hysteria explain over and over and over and over again to a call centre person that my debit card needs to be cancelled and then I hear a voice on the phone informing me that: "Your account has possibleh been fraudulentleh accessed." NO SHIT SHERLOCK.

Whoo-hoooo-hoooo-wavy lines to indicate going back a few weeks . . . .

On 24 July I logged onto my account to find that some thieving bastard had somehow stolen £1000 from my account. I cancelled the card immediately having been told that "my account has been fraudulentleh accessed".

A week later I got my new card and a crime declaration form which I filled in and photocopied. (NOTE - When dealing with banks always always photocopy stuff and always send it back recorded delivery. That way the incompetent twunts can't pretend they didn't receive it)

And something else! If some thieving cunt ransacks your account you have to arrange an overdraft with the fraud department. Not the call centre - they apparently can't do it! And the fraud department is only open till 5pm and shuts at the weekend. That's good because fraud never occurs after 5pm or at the weekend does it?

And then on 1st August, after arranging an overdraft with the Fraud department of £1000 – (the same amount that had been fraudulently removed from my account) I was puzzled to hear that although I had about £200 in my account I was unable to take out any more money. Again, I phoned the Halifax to discover that I had GONE OVER the £1000 overdraft! Because once more my account had been plundered and I had several Debits waiting to come out of my account – NONE of which I knew anything about! And weird amounts like £70.09 to Autoglass and £43.15 to Tmobile.

I had just been sent a claim form for the previous £1000, and while filling it in I noticed it said: CARDHOLDERS NAME: Ms L C Purcell. My name is Jane Purcell and it always has been. Where did the L C come from? Another account?

I then spoke to Sophia at the Fraud department who was very helpful, but she couldn’t find a Ms L C Purcell. Again, nobody knew why this could have happened or why at the top of my claim form had the words:

Account holder name: Ms Jane Purcell
Cardholders name: Ms L C Purcell

Sophia was as baffled as I. "However, I have to say that unfortunateleh your account appaears to have been used fraudulentleh." You don't say.

On Saturday 2 August I checked my account again to discover there were MORE fraudulent transactions and when I phoned up again, learned there were yet more pending!

This time I spoke to Donna who told me that I had shedloads of transactions about to go through on my account. We worked through all of them and they amounted to nearly a thousand quid. This on top of the £1000 that had already disappeared. But nobody could explain why a card that I had cancelled on 24 July, still had fraudulent transactions coming thorough on it a week later. Donna at least said she was very "sorreh".

On Aug 2nd I filled in the Crime Declaration form which had been sent by the Halifax fraud dept.

It said on the second page that if there were any additional frauds, I should add them on. As by then there had been at least seven more, in addition to the original 2 x £500 frauds, I printed out a copy of my recent statements with all the frauds clearly ringed. I added a letter to this explaining what was happening, and took copies before sending it all back to the Halifax Fraud dept.

On 11 August I phoned the Fraud Department, hoping that my fraud claim had been received and processed. This time I spoke to Nick who pulled up my details on screen and said the claim hadn’t been received. His exact words were: “We haven’t received it.” followed by a long silence. I had no idea what to do and while I’d kept a copy, noted that it said at the bottom that if Halifax hadn’t received it within 14 days the claim could be cancelled. What was I meant to do? Nick said I could re-send it or fax it and “they only put the threat in to make the customer get a move on.” Sadly no such system exists for Halifax staff. He was spectacularly unhelpful, and monosyllabic. He was a little shit frankly.

Five minutes later I rang Halifax again (the call centre, not the fraud dept) and spoke to Claire. I asked if there was any chance if my fraud claim had ended up in the wrong file and with a little judicious searching she said that it had been. Because I had included a letter and a printout of my account with all the fraudulent transactions ringed, along with my fraud claim, it had been filed in the ‘complaint file’ instead. In a few minutes Claire found that my fraud claim HAD in fact been received and put through on the system. I had this conversation literally five minutes after speaking to Nick who told me that the fraud claim had NOT been received. I don’t believe that he would have had less access to my details than a call centre member of staff. So why couldn’t he click a few numbers and find out what had happened to my claim? It's not my fault that he hates his job and is very short (probably).

Claire also said that there was another card in circulation ending in a 00 which had ‘now been cancelled’. This was news to me. I had never received such a card.

As far as I was aware I had a card ending in 3601 which had been used in the original fraud and had been cancelled on 24 July, and then I was sent another card ending 3608 which I now use. I had never received a card ending in 00. Had it been sent out to me and intercepted somehow?

Could this be linked the mysterious L.C Purcell? Nobody could tell me. Claire put a note on my account, (whoo-hoo another note! I’ve had a series of notes on my account, variously saying – ‘urgent’ ‘really urgent’ ‘even more urgent’) and was about to put me through to the Fraud dept but it was then 5pm, so they were closed.

On 12 August I phoned the Fraud department again to find out whether they had my Crime Declaration form (as Claire said) or not, (as Nick said.)

This time I spoke to Andrew. He told me that they had received my Crime Declaration Form, but it had been put in the ‘complaint’ queue instead of the ‘fraud’ queue. I asked: “Could you move it to the fraud queue instead?” Andrew then said that the only frauds they had marked down were the two £500 frauds to Mint Classic. We had a conversation that went as follows:

Me: But what about the list of other frauds? I sent you a list with them all circled. There have been at least TEN other frauds on my account since 24th July.

Andrew: Yes but the only ones on the crime declaration form are the two £500 Mint Classic Frauds.

Me: But it says clearly on the Crime Declaration form that if there are any other frauds, to add them. Which I have. Didn’t you get them?

Andrew: Er yes. We’ve got your letter, and your printout of statements with the frauds ringed.

Me: So why haven’t they been included?

Andrew: I don’t know. I’m going to have to send you another Crime Declaration Form.

So here I am on 12 August right back at square one. Waiting for another crime declaration form. I can only hope that this time it will include all the multiple frauds on my account. But given the track level of incompetence so far, I’m not holding my breath.

I’ve had no explanation AT ALL as to why this happened, or why there seem to be two cards floating about with my name, or who is this mysterious L C Purcell. Neither have I received any money back. My direct debits have been thrown into chaos.

The very worst thing is that although I haven’t done anything wrong here, it’s me that has to chase, constantly ask questions, and repeat the same story over and over again to a succession of call centre staff.

There has been multiple fraud on my account and it has been handled with utter incompetence and obfuscation at every level. Nobody can seemingly do anything except ‘put a note’ on my account and send me forms with other people’s names at the top, which then get filed in the wrong place.

So BEWARE. Keep copies of everything and send all your correspondence by recorded delivery.


Phill Barron said...

Bunch of fucking bastards.

Call centres are everything which is wrong with the world. I feel your pain.

Jane said...

The thing is - it's not the poor monkeys at the call centre's fault (well apart from that short cunt Nick). They just don't have any power. I've been trawling consumer websites and Jaysus - I thought I had it bad. At least Halifax aren't constesting the payment. With some poor sods, this shit has been going on for MONTHS!!!!

I love your blog btw.

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Anonymous said...

Fraud dept are I'n the same call centre just a different dept.