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Not Impressed With Barclays


The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to express my despair at the level of customer service in your Kentish Town branch. My wife and I, both Barclays account holders individually, have been attempting to open a joint account but, despite two trips to the branch, we have been unsuccessful. My wife is a designer and I am a journalist and, as you can imagine, it's never easy to schedule a point in the working day where we can both be in the same place at the same time.

On our first visit, a Friday afternoon, we waited half an hour only to be told that we needed to make an appointment in advance. This was inconvenient and annoying, but at least it was understandable. On our second visit however, that appointment was ignored. There will not be a third visit.

We had arrived at the branch on Monday at 1305 for our 1310 appointment. We introduced ourselves to a clerk and waited patiently to be seen. But 1310 came and went without the appearance of our advisor. When we asked the clerk if everything was alright we were informed that the advisor was 'out of the branch'. The clerk wasn't sure precisely where 'out of the branch' was, but she promised that we'd be seen soon. At 1320 the Branch Manager appeared and told us that the advisor had 'nipped out for a coffee'. Good luck to her, I thought. If the coffee here is as bad as the service, then I'd shop elsewhere as well. But then I remembered that I was the customer.

At 1325, with no new information forthcoming and having already waited for 20 minutes, we gave up and walked out. Five minutes later I received a phonecall from our advisor, presumably having finished with her coffee, asking if we would be able to return. Unfortunately, by this point, we were already heading back to work. Having been told on our first visit that the joint account discussions would take approximately 45 minutes, we knew that we couldn't afford any delays if we were to honour our afternoon appointments. We cut back on our lunch-break in order to keep those commitments, why couldn't your advisor keep hers?

My wife and I only married a week before Christmas. We needed that joint account set-up swiftly so that we could bank cheques addressed to 'Mr and Mrs Slipperduke' and then enjoy our honeymoon in style. We ended up not being able to set it up at all and so we travel to New York this week funded entirely by my personal overdraft.

If we can't trust Barclays to keep an appointment without scampering off down the road for a skinny latte then we see no reason to trust Barclays with our money. When we return from New York, we'll be looking into the services of other organisations. We'll also be thinking quite seriously about the future of own individual accounts.