UK Financial Ombudsman Service receives large volume of enquiries over recent IT issues at banks

Maria Nikolova

The latest wave of computer troubles at TSB, RBS, NatWest and Barclays have prompted the ombudsman to issue a consumer factsheet dedicated to the matter.

The UK Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has earlier today published a special Consumer Factsheet over recent IT issues that have affected the operations of several banks, including RBS, TSB, NatWest, and Barclays. The publication of the Factsheet is in response to the growing volume of enquiries that the FOS has to deal with related to the recent computer troubles at the financial institutions.

The FOS explains that the first steps that the customers have to take include getting in touch with the bank and letting the bank know what happened to them because of the computer problems; what the customers want the bank to do to help put things right for them; and what losses the customers want the bank to cover.

If the customers are unhappy with how their bank deals with their problems, they can contact the FOS. The Service can usually get involved 15 days after a customer has raised concerns with the bank – and sometimes even sooner.

Losses that people have already complained about include fees, charges and fines. These may have been applied to one’s bank account, where payments were missed or delayed. There are also non-financial losses, as consumers can be compensated for the trouble, stress or inconvenience they have been put through. This could cover things like embarrassment because one could not repay the debt owed to someone or disruption caused by having to take time off to sort out urgent problems.

Last week, UK Treasury Committee chair Nicky Morgan requested answers from Natwest and Barclays over the IT issues affecting their customers. She has written to Jes Staley, Chief Executive Officer of Barclays, and Ross McEwan, Chief Executive Officer of RBS Group, to find out what has gone wrong, the extent of the failure, and how both banks intend to compensate customers who suffered losses as a result.

Commenting on the correspondence, Mrs Morgan said: “This is yet another addition to the litany of failures of banking IT systems. Potentially millions of customers could be affected by uncertainty and disruption.

“It simply isn’t good enough to expose customers to IT failures, including delays in paying bills and an inability to access their own money.”

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