I thought I would write my story … to enlighten people and in the hope, that no one goes through what I have been through … so far.
My father passed away in May and since then I have had experienced the most stressful time dealing with Alliance & Leicester trying to get joint accounts changed to my mum sole name and any other accounts held in my dad’s name.
From the start Alliance and Leciester has shown that they have no idea how to deal with such a sensitive matter and at a difficult time for families. Their processes, if they have any? and inability to deal with them if they do, just cause unnecessary stress, grief and anxiety to those left to sort it out.
My poor mum is under enough stress dealing with her grief and as an older lady, with all due respect to her, really would not know where to start when it comes to dealing with the banks, and thankfully working within Financial Services and Customer Services for over 20 years, I have a huge amount of experience which meant I could take some of the pressure off of my mum. Unfortunately I had no idea what I was going to experience…..
In order to deal with the account on my mum’s behalf I had to complete some security forms which I had to request 3 times from Alliance & Leicester before I actually got them.
Trying to find someone to help in the first instance was my first battle and getting passed around to different departments and getting told different things was a regular occurrence.
I was told to make an appointment to see my local branch in Croydon to hand over the death certificate so it could be copied and sent to head office. The assistance I received at the branch was extremely worrying as the girl I saw did not have a clue what she was doing and I eventually spent the morning speaking to head office myself and relaying back the information to the branch.
Result I thought, however, the branch managed to lose the copy of the death certificate and to this day it has still not appeared within Alliance & Leicester. I even spoke to their credit card team the day I went into the branch to pay my mum’s outstanding bill which was due, and it only came to light some 2 months later that whoever I spoke to in head office was not in a position to take payment, so not only did we then get charged overpayment fees, I then I had to speak to a completely separate arm of the company to pay the bill, as no money had been taken from the current account!!!.
I eventually got through to the Probate & Trust team in Bootle who have been dealing with the accounts department……..even having a specific team to deal with I am now 5 months down the line and some of the accounts have still not been transferred.
My solicitor has sent over the probate to Alliance & Leicester and after me chasing – they said they did not receive the documents, but after my Solicitor phoned to complain they miraculously found them. They have however not passed this onto the Probate & Trust team and when I call the team I was told it is my responsibility to contact the team who received the probate in the first instance…but oh what do you know, no telephone number on the correspondence, so you have to type up a letter and fax it to them….to which I have had zero response.
I would like to add at this point, that at the same time as sending the documents to Alliance & Leicester we sent them to Nationwide and within less than a week the accounts were closed and transferred into my mum’s name. The service I have received from Nationwide has been superb. Just what you would expect – and I thank them.
Some of the other problems I have experienced are: Accounts being cancelled in error, Direct Debit Mandates cancelled, Debit and Credit Cards cancelled that were in joint names, losing legal documents, correspondence still being sent in my fathers name.
I cannot begin to tell you how much time I have spent speaking to this bank and I am still no further forward and have no faith whatsoever in their ability to get this resolved. As soon as I the accounts are transferred, whenever that may be, I will be closing them and transferring the money to a bank that does want to offer good Customer Service.
I have been told that I should be going through the grieving process for my dad, but this is impossible until such time as I have been able to sort out what should be a simple process.
I would like to add that at no point has anyone with Alliance & Leicester offered their condolences or shown one bit of understanding as to what families have to go through during what is the most emotional time in anyone’s lives.
Is this how they treat their customers fairly? – Thank goodness I am not a customer !
Written by Sarah Johnson
Concept Financial Planning Ltd