Companies customer service

How to increase a bank’s offer of redress

Change of name with the bank

Halifax Halifax Halifax. I have a choice of 3 complaints to do here. Actually 4 if you count the one I did for a friend and got her £500. Now which one today? Toss of a coin (yes 3 times don’t try and get clever with me you know it aint gonna work). Let’s take the most recent one.

I changed my name. Yes ha ha ha ha haha to all those companies to whom I haven’t yet complained who think they have my name. You don’t and you don’t know to what I changed it ner ner ner ner ner! (Slightly unnecessarily childish particularly given that I have just tweeted “How childish can politicians get? Seriously. “I win I got my Royal Charter” “I win I got my Law” Grow up & do what’s best 4 ppl!” But hey ho moving on).

So, got the  Deed certificate, paid for legal copies as some financial institutions needed them and others were happy with copies. Sent off details to Halifax and asked a simple question about fees on their card. You’d think that would be quite simple wouldn’t you, well obviously not or I wouldn’t be writing about it would I?!

The Halifax correspondence

From Halifax

I got a letter back addressed using my former name, not enclosing my document and not answering the question, but enclosing a new direct debit form! Fail on 3 counts! Rude huh?  So I complained. Obviously.

I got a letter back offering me £30. Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again if you don’t think that the amount reflects the inconvenience or time spent on the matter, particularly when they don’t apologise or explain the issues…. complain again. So I did. I was particularly pedantic actually.

From me

I pointed out the following to Ms R:

keyboard Bank made a mistake? Not happy with offer, how to get it increasedShe said Halifax disposed of the document because it was a copy. (Oh yes Dear Reader did I not mention that earlier? Halifax destroyed the legal copy that I PAID for!) It was not a photocopy. It was a “Certified legal copy of a Deed of Change of Name (Deed Poll)”. I expected to be reimbursed!

She requested that I send my deed poll to the same address as before. Given that this was the address at which I had my property destroyed I refused to do that again and enclosed another legal copy to her and trusted that she would at least not destroy it and return it!

I received no explanation why, when my property was destroyed, no-one wrote to me to ask for (actually another) the deed poll. Had I not complained I could have continued to wait for both my deed poll to be returned and to receive my new credit card!

She completely ignored by question about the Card and I asked for a third time and failed to explain or apologise for why I only received a direct debit form and covering letter which ignored the two out of three points of my letter. I found this extremely rude and unacceptable.

Now here’s the particularly pedantic part. I wrote “I quote from your letter “I can see that we’ve let you down with some of the points you’ve raised. However I hope I’ve explained that there are some instances where I believe our actions were necessary.” This would indicate that you believe, as you have written in the plural, that at least two of your actions were necessary and acceptable. Please explain which these actions are. Destroying property which does not belong to Halifax and I had to pay for, not writing to me regarding this, ignoring my query about the credit card and writing to me in my former name are my list of complaints (to which I have added today). I do not believe that any of these actions (or non action!) were necessary, some were just downright rude. Please do explain which two you deem as necessary as I am very interested and it is these that I shall highlight to the Financial Ombudsman in particular”.

I also expected more than the £30 offered.

Haifax redress

I got a response. In short, £12 reimbursement for the deed poll and £100 for the inconvenience.

So that was that. Nah, I’m pedantic remember. So although satisfied with the amount, I did need to write again and point out that I had requested the money be sent in a cheque and not put on the card which she didn’t do! So, as I had to write again I hoped that the following points would help her in the future.

1)       The first page of her letter was a photocopy and not the original on letterheaded notepaper.
2)       Fifth bullet point, incorrect use of an apostrophe in the word “fees”
3)       “are charges” not “is charges” would be grammatically correct (as in my letter which you could have copied)
4)       “You have been advised there is…” No, I advised you on this point and the instances are plural and therefore “are” not “is” is appropriate.
5)       No new paragraph on what should have been the first new paragraph on the second page.
6)       “…should be made clear to your at the time” should have been “you” not “your”
7)       “Halifax so not apply any loading..” doesn’t make any sense, I assume that you mean “do”
8)       “…and enclosed your Deed…” “enclose” not “enclosed”

Just a little bit....;)
Just a little bit….?

There were a few other things, (not least that she didn’t answer the point about which issue I complained about was necessary) but I won’t bore you now seeing you got this far! Well honestly, I do expect a letter from a bank to be written and checked! Yes, I could have saved my time but frankly, the poor quality letter writing annoyed me and anyway I was being helpful! Perhaps it helped in her future work. I freely give tips for companies  on how to avoid complaints!

So, share your experiences of the banking world. Which one is good which one is bad? I have found HSBC pretty good but last time I wrote to them customer service standards were going down and I had to write to the CEO. What do you think of your bank/building society/credit card companies?

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1 little Known Fact You Need to Know When Your Gas is Cut Off!

Gas hob rings

Cold innit? Even colder when you are without heating. Gas people ever cut you off without notice? Back in 2011……

Gas works caused us to be without gas

there had been some gas works undertaken in our road for some weeks. Starting on the 14th December we were without gas for 3 days. It was extremely cold, around the time of the snow and we were given 2 small electric heaters, a further heater the next day and 2 electric hobs. In addition, it was only by chance that we were not without heat for longer.

Gas workers didn’t know we were without gas supply

When we had been without gas for all of the 14th and it was about 5pm I went outside to ask the workmen when my gas supply would be back on. They told me that I should have gas and that when they had put the cameras down, our house was showing as fine and being served from across the road (where pipes are not being replaced).

Guess what I did? I just put up with it, well there was nothing they could do was there? Yeah right! Obviously I did what I do best. I complained.

How to complain about loss of gas supply

Now, I know people who have said they have been without electricity or gas and they don’t know how to complain or what to say. What you do people is fight them with their own rules!

Here, it’s the National Grid. The Gas Standards are here. You study them, you pull out every one they have broken and you use it. It isn’t quick, it isn’t just “oi give me money for annoying me”. It does take research and time.

So, I said that as per GS13 of the NG Standards I was not provided with notification in advance of interruption of supply at least 5 days in advance. In fact I was not given any notification. Had I been, I would have been able to make alternative arrangements, including taking my two year old to a warm house and not wasting food I decided to add. Always give that extra bit of detail when appropriate. Payment for that is £20. That’s a given they have to give it to you.

Add detail to your complaint about loss of gas supply

Now, remember I said add a bit of detail? Here was a bit more. The heaters gave little heat compared to a normally fully centrally heated house I said and I was unable to cook the meat I had defrosted (so couldn’t refreeze) I said. And indeed other meat in the fridge I said. I had a two year old which made the situation worse as it was imperative that he was kept warm I said. We had to have the heaters on full blast for the entire time we were without gas supply at obviously great cost to us I said. Electricity costing more than gas! I expected to be compensated for the 3 days we were without supply which I believed to be £30 plus £30 for each 24 hours without supply, plus the increased cost of running 3 electric heaters. (I said).

Redress for loss of gas supply

Got £140. (Under GS14 they have to respond within 10 days, sadly they did!) Spent most of the day at a lovely friend’s house two doors away anyway! We also sold the heaters… But anyone want some electric rings??? I got some friends a couple of hundred pounds from the National Grid using different Standards, such as GS2 for leaving their lawn wrecked too.

Further help to make a complaint about energy

All you need to know to make a complaint about energy gives you links to lots of resources, posts, stories and links to what you need to complain about your energy supply.

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The importance of switching energy suppliers and telecom providers on ITV News