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Good luck if you're a victim of fraud

I've been with NatWest for 20 years. In September, three fraud transactions hit my account; two were refunded immediately (currency), one (a takeaway delivery!) was not. Because I'd used the online retailer before, it was considered a 'retail dispute' and NatWest could only contact the retailer for information via their bank.

That's after they wrote to me to tell me that my Visa Secure password had been re-set, and the only person who could possibly have access to the information required to re-set it would be me; we suggest you carefully check your transactions madam. Three and a half months later, I discover a major flaw in Visa's systems. To re-set the password, you need four pieces of information, three of which are available on the debit card itself (so, viewable on any cloned card), the last is your date of birth, which apparently is publicly available information - I am not sure how, perhaps via council tax records. Firstly I didn't appreciate being accused of making up fraud transactions or of frankly being too stupid to know how I'm spending money, and secondly, NatWest appear to be providing customers with a debit card that's as easy as pie to hack... which is nice. Of course, they're not going to openly admit this to you. No, Visa is SECURE. Nonsense is it. All that Visa need to do is to add in a secret question or two into their password re-set system to resolve this problem.

Anyway, I must've written to this guy dealing with my case five times in four months. Despite threatening to report them to the banking ombudsan and that I'd close my account if the money wasn't refunded by a date in December (at the 3.5 month point here - please note that when they did write to me, I was told it would take up to six weeks), I had NOTHING back from him and no credit.

Finally, at the beginning of January, I filled in an online complaint form detailing my displeasure at their customer service and complete lack of keeping me up to date and not responding to my letters. I received a refund to my account a day later. On the complaint, I asked to be compensated. I've spent approx 10 hours writing to this guy. Anyway, no compensation.

The latest letter tells me that my enquiry has been submitted to the retailer's bank in line with membership of Visa International. So - hang on - they've actually only JUST submitted the enquiry, after four months?

Enough is enough. The final step in this saga will be to write back to the Senior Bank Officer (not the same guy) stating my dissatisfaction, and I will copy the banking ombudsman on the entire correspondent chain too. I've already started looking into other banking providers.

Now, this may seem like extreme action for a relatively small amount (£69.00) - but consider this: 1) I've been a customer for 20 years; 2) I got lucky - someone else is going to be very unlucky with a 'retailer dispute' that could cost them to lose thousands from their account until NatWest can be bothered to actually do something about it (any website you have EVER used would be a 'retailer dispute', and I assume that also applies to any shop you've ever physically visited too). Imagine waiting six weeks, or four months as I have, to have a substantial amount of money put back in your account? And finally, all of their online blurb states that fraud transactions will be refunded immediately. Well, hey, this IS fraud, it's just that NatWest choose to name this a different type of fraud and therefore don't apply the same terms to it - in complete contradiction to their customer charter.

The cost of fraud is factored into our bank charges, loan rates, mortgage rates, etc etc. So, you do pay in advance for a service which is meant to give you your money back immediately in fraud cases.

Unacceptable NatWest. I'm going to go somewhere with better, ethical customer service, and hopefully who also provide more secure debit cards than Visa with its easily hackable level of security.
Dean Ledge Harrison found this review useful
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