Co-operative Bank: the pain doesn't stop even after you've left!

I'm writing this blog post while on hold to the Co-operative Bank which I left in June.

Or thought I'd left in June.

It's easy to think such a thing when you walk into your bank branch, tell them that you want to close your accounts, zero out your balances, and get told by the branch staff that all your accounts are closed.

Fast forward to July 1st when I get a letter from one Val McCarren, Head of Managed Accounts at the Co-Operative bank, informing me:

even though there wasn't enough money in your account, I've had to pay the following items for you and your account is now overdrawn without prior agreement

The charge in question? A payment of close to £600 (about $1,200) made to Radisson Hotels -- get this, on July 2nd with my bank card.


So someone made a payment, using a card which I had cut up and disposed of, belonging to a bank account that was closed?

Support rep: "Well sir, the account isn't closed."

Me: "I saw a member of your bank staff close the account in front of my eyes and I was told that the account was closed."

Support rep: "Yes, but it's not closed."

Me: "So can you tell me what you're going to do about this?"

Support rep: "Well, you need to..."

Me: "No, you misunderstood me, _I_ don't need to do anything. I closed my account. I did not make a transaction with a card on a closed account on July 2nd. The Co-operative bank has made a mistake. Now I want you to tell me what _you're_ going to do to fix it."

Support rep: "Well the account is overdrawn, we need to handle this situation... you need to talk to the Radisson..."

Me: "The account is overdrawn because you did not close the account when you said you did and then you honored what must be a fraudulent transaction. I am not going to waste any more of my time on this... Will you state for the record that the Co-operative bank made a mistake in not closing my account when I was told that it was closed."

Support rep: "Yes, sir, we admit that it was our mistake."

Me: "Good. Next: Have you noted that I did not make the transaction in question and that it is a fraudulent transaction?"

Support rep: "I can't do that sir, we're not a one-stop shop, you need to talk to our Fraud Department."

Me: "All right, transfer me to your fraud department."

After being transferred to the fraud department, I spoke with Emilia Park, who immediately accepted that they had made a mistake and that the account should have been closed on June 19th. She also told me that they would be refunding the transaction immediately, taking the matter up with the Radisson, and closing my account (permanently, this time, I hope.)

I didn't get the first support representative's name but she was completely unhelpful and made it sound like this colossal cock-up was my fault. I want to thank Emilia, however, who was apologetic and effective in resolving the issue in minutes.

Do you want to know why I left Co-operative Bank (or thought that I did, at least?) This is why! I was sick of having to deal with non-personal customer "service" and intolerable levels of incompetence.

I want nothing more at this moment than to never hear the name "Co-operative Bank" or be contacted by them ever again.

Go away, Co-operative Bank, and take your so-called "ethics" with you. If you were truly ethical, your ethics would start at home, with your customers. It clearly doesn't.

As a postscript: I've been phenominally happy with HSBC since I moved both my personal and business accounts there (I can't wait to finally close my account with Abbey National too!) When I go into the branch at HSBC, someone is always there to greet me. I get seen to within 5-10 minutes at most when I drop in. Most importantly, they haven't messed anything up and everything, so far, has just worked.

I don't have high demands from a bank. Just that the basics work and that they don't waste my time. Speaking of which, I'm going to get back to coding...