Savers ‘Being Let Down’ by Customer Service

One quarter of respondents to a recent survey who had made a complaint about their savings account over the last 12 months still feel like their worries were not resolved to a satisfactory degree. According to Which? members taking part in an investigation into savings account complaints, it presents a real worry – particularly given that one in five UK customers have had problems over the past year.

While savings accounts are becoming more diverse and open to different demographics in the UK – such as junior ISAs with household-centric companies like Family Investments – older people are struggling with their account holders, with certain banks topping the table for examples of discourse.

Santander headed up the chart for the highest proportion of customers that experienced problems during the last 12 months. In fact, 29 per cent of the bank’s customers had difficulty with this provider over this period. Barclays followed in second place with 22 per cent of savings customers experiencing problems during the last year.

While poor customer service was the most common problem that Which? recorded, mistakes on statements were also a major issue – the second most often-quoted complaint. Other sticking points were also regularly mentioned; many respondents were annoyed about their inability to see the interest rate in their online account, while others were angered at the difficulty in getting through to a human on the phone to answer a question.

However, other banks performed quite well. First Direct and Nationwide were the least likely to have customers encountering problems with their savings account, with only 12 per cent of consumers registering complaints.

While certain positive trends did emerge, they weren’t without a caveat of some sort. For example, while six in ten of the most recent savings accounts complaints were resolved to the satisfaction of those making them, one quarter of complaints had to be made more than once before there was some form of resolution.

Meanwhile, 33 per cent of people told Which? they didn’t think a problem was serious enough to make a complaint; 19 per cent were more put off by the expensive phone numbers that banks offer for complaint calls.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said of the findings: “There’s a lot to complain about in banking over the last few years and to win back our trust they must sort out their complaints handling. When things go wrong it is critical that banks act swiftly and fairly to deal with the problem, identify what caused it and make sure it’s not repeated.”