Lloyds Bank just closed my Cash ISA and took all the money
I’m a little shocked actually. I logged onto internet banking to find that my Cash ISA with Lloyds Bank had become as if it were non-existent. It simply wasn’t there. The £2k that I had in that account was also missing. You can imagine my surprise when I opened up internet banking to find £2k missing.
To give some background to this: I recently opened up the Cash ISA as I’m becoming quite serious about saving money and managing my money accordingly.
The closing of my Cash ISA has set me back a bit and has got me in panic mode. I still do want a Cash ISA and I’ll see if I can re-open the same Cash ISA that has now been closed.
So, why did they close my Cash ISA?
They will not tell me. All they’ve said is that I signed a contract that stipulates that they can cancel/close an account for whatever reason. Hello? Customer service? It’s not like I’m going to sue you for telling me why you’ve closed my Cash ISA.
Now my money is in limbo in one of their accounts supposedly. The funny thing is that I opened the Cash ISA in a branch on Oxford Street which recently shut down. That’s actually the place I went to today, to see what was going on. However as that branch was closed, I had to break sweat and head to the branch on Tottenham Court Road, which actually turns out to be much closer to where I work. (doh!)
The nice man in the Lloyds Bank branch on Tottenham Court Road took my debit card and gave the head office a ring to find out why my account had been closed. Not to repeat, but his answer was the same as the above. They had closed my account – but could not actually give me a reason.
So where is my money?
It is in an official Lloyds Bank holding account. To get my money transferred back I needed some sort of ID which I didn’t have on me at the time. I was told to come back to the next day with ID if I wanted to get my money back. Why not just transfer the funds from the Cash ISA that Lloyds Bank (YOU) cancelled into one of my other accounts? What the hell? Any who, I agreed to this and I’ll be going back tomorrow. I’m hoping there won’t be any complications tomorrow when I try and retrieve my money. If I hear the words, “Sir, your money has been lost” then I think I’ll go apeshit in that branch. But let’s hope that it doesn’t come to that.
And… the update (06/03/2014)
I’m not sure if I should feel happy or troubled by the way that I’ve been treated. Today it was pretty much back and forth to the Lloyds Bank branch on Tottenham Court Road. I’m actually quite annoyed by all this faffing about.
I went into the Lloyds Bank branch today with I.D. on hand and they managed to transfer the amount that was originally in my Cash ISA into one of my savings accounts. I was happy at this point. However, I still tried to inquire as to why they closed the Cash ISA. No real reason given again. The same answer: “we have every right to close your account.”
I was kind of okay with that, I could forget about the whole Cash ISA thing, and go back to my office and continue with my life. Wrong.
I logged onto internet banking to see if I could transfer the funds that had been restored to me from them closing my Cash ISA. I couldn’t. The following error message came up when I tried to do the transfer.
I called that number up, and explained the situation to the operator. She then told me that a block had been placed on my savings account. She directed me to go back to the branch that I had just come from and thought that had resolved my banking issues. A little more annoyed at this stage, I went back to the branch that I had just spent little over 40 minutes (mostly waiting for an adviser) to get my money back from the Cash ISA that they had all of a sudden cancelled. I went back and waited again for an adviser (waiting seems to be the norm) and explained the situation and that I had been told via telephone that my savings account had been blocked. The manager there sat me down and next to her sort of desk (an island with a computer on it in the middle of branch), and she took my debit card to see what the problem could be. She logged all my details into the system and said that there was nothing else wrong with the account. I looked at her with glaring amazement – as the adviser I spoke to over the telephone had just told me my savings account had been blocked. At this stage, I was even more confused.
She then asked me to login to online banking via her computer to see just what message would come up when you’d try to transfer money out of that account into another account. (I have two savings accounts) The same error message came up. She was baffled by this and so was another adviser that came over to help.
She then called the people that cancelled the Cash ISA to see what had happened. They had stated that the system simply needed to be refreshed and that I would have to wait overnight to for this ‘refresh’ to happen. I’m hoping that it is all fixed by tomorrow. Otherwise, I’ll have to pay another visit to the branch. At this point, I complained. I stated that I wanted to file a complaint and somehow have it logged against what they had done. They gave me a pamphlet with addresses and numbers that I could contact. I decided I was to call first and write a letter later if the telephone call was not to my satisfaction.
So… I trotted back to my office. I called up the number on the pamphlet and got put through to a lovely lady called Sheryl. She’s obviously Scottish and her accent was actually quite soothing. I explained the situation to her and she REALLY sympathised with me and tried to get to the bottom of it all. Granted she put me on hold for over 30 minutes and I only really spoke to her for 10 minutes. She spoke to her seniors and the people in charge of closing accounts (“Credit Decisioning”) and they stated exactly the same thing as the branch advisers had told me. They cancelled my account because they could and did – not much of a reason at all. I accepted this and moved onto the second issue:
Why was my savings account blocked in the first place?
She inquired and gave me the same answer as the people in the branch. Their system needs to refresh.
I said okay, and accepted this. I think she felt sorry for me, as I told her exactly everything that I have explained here in this blog post; the fact that I was back and forth to the branch and that I had called several times. She offered me £25 compensation, of which I refused at first until she said that it was for my time and the trouble that I had been put through. I then agreed.
I came around to the third issue.
What’s happening my with credit card now? I can’t see it in online banking anymore, where I could before. Sheryl then tried to find out what was wrong and had told me that the credit card should be viewable in online banking. She then put me through to this horrible Italian sounding guy who didn’t seem to want to hear what had gone on – apparently he’s the internet banking manager. I tried explaining my situation to him, but he kept interrupting me and literally ignored or didn’t seem to comprehend what I was getting at. He went back to the Cash ISA issue, and stated that my credit card would not have been affected due to my Cash ISA being closed. (Thanks for stating the obvious there, but if you had let me finish my sentence you would not have had to explain that to me) He then incoherently blamed the fact I was using Google Chrome, a browser that doesn’t allow you to see your credit cards – apparently. I then logged into Firefox to disprove his theory and came across the same issue. At this point he said that I need to actually use the credit card in order to see it on internet banking. I wasn’t sure if he was bullshitting or not, so I replied with “Okay” and we both parted.
I then finished work, and went home exhausted and didn’t go out with my colleagues who all went out for a drink. I arrived home and looked to see if I had received any letters and lo and behold I had indeed received a letter. It was from Lloyds Bank from a Charlotte Nield, Operations Manager – who had cancelled my credit card. Yet throughout this entire process, no one, not even at the branch had noticed that credit card had been cancelled as well. I actually did ask them about my credit card, and they said that it was active and that the closing of the Cash ISA was nothing to do with my credit, as my credit card card would have been closed as well. It even showed as being active/open on their monitor as well.
What annoys me the most is the way that internet banking manager just shrugged me off like that. He clearly lied to me as he also, like the others I had been in contact with, had no idea what was going on. I still do not know why they have decided to cancel my Cash ISA and now my credit card. I’ve never in my life been in debt and I’m at my prime in terms of the amount of my money in my current accounts due to the job that I have now.
Am I disappointed? Yes, I am. It’s as if they want me to switch bank accounts and I’m actually eyeing up Barclays bank as an alternative. But is there seriously that much of a lack of communication between your staff members internally? That they don’t know what is going on or can’t access the information that they need to access to keep this whole process clean? It’s certainly a negative thing on their part and I hope to get some sort of explanation tomorrow.