My daughter has started a degree course and arranged to transfer her Santander account to a new student account with HSBC. One night she was woken up by mobile phone alerts from Apple Pay, informing her that payments from her Santander account had been stopped. She discovered that the £2,449 balance had been transferred to an unspecified place. As she had not received notification that the switch was to happen that day, she called both banks.
HSBC sent confirmation that the new account was ready to use but, when she logged on, there was no money in it. A month later, she has no idea what’s happened to her funds, including her student finance loan, personal independence payment (PIP) and NHS bursary. Both banks say they are unable to give her any information.
When we’ve visited the branches, we’ve been variously told by HSBC staff that the money is with Santander, and by Santander staff that it’s with HSBC.
I have terminal cancer and my daughter is registered disabled, which makes the chasing very hard. I am on a low income, so I’m not sure how much longer I will be able to financially support her.
MD, Worthing, West Sussex
You have been sucked into a vortex of errors and misunderstandings and it took my intervention for sense to prevail. Your daughter’s switch, for reasons unclear, took two months to take effect. When, finally, it happened, she feared the money had vanished into thin air because Santander didn’t specify a payee or a reference. So she rang Santander.
At this point, it could have been resolved with a few clicks of a keyboard. Instead, Santander referred the query to its fraud department, which was unaware of the account switch and instructed HSBC to freeze the funds.
Despite your continuing calls and branch visits, the case remained a fraud claim which, since it wasn’t, meant no one could intelligibly update you. HSBC would only unfreeze the money once Santander had retracted the fraud claim, but Santander forgot to do so.
The funds have, at last, been made available in the HSBC account. Santander has offered £250 in compensation. It says: “We acknowledge that we could have supported the switching request more effectively by displaying the relevant reference alongside the payment made to her new account. We also should have acted on the request to withdraw the fraud claim that was made on her behalf to help protect her account.” HSBC was contacted for a comment.
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