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Banks need to treat their customers better

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) have said that the major High Street banks need to ‘get their act together’ and treat their customers better, following claims today by ‘Consumer Focus’ that less than half of those who make a complaint to their bank are satisfied with the response.

CAS Chief Executive Lucy McTernan said,

“Last year we revealed that banks in Scotland were failing their customers in a number of ways. e.g. by imposing high charges, failing to explain their fee structures properly and refusing to allow people access to basic bank account services.

“Altogether there are plenty of things for customers to complain about. The fact that those complaints are not even being handled properly just adds insult to injury. It’s yet another way in which banks are failing the public.

“Debt and money problems form a huge proportion of the issues people are bringing to the CAB today. Banks should be right at the heart of helping to solve these issues and manage their money properly. Instead it seems they are making things worse – particularly for those most in need.

“Sadly, evidence like this comes as no surprise to Scotland’s CAB advisers, who speak to banks every day on behalf of their clients. We surveyed our advisers just a few weeks ago and found they had a very low opinion of how the banks handled complaints, using words like ‘aggressive’, ‘cavalier,’ ‘inflexible’ and ‘patronising’ to describe the attitude that banking staff had towards their customers.

“The banks still owe the taxpayer for the massive bail-out they received a few years ago. They promised at that time they would re-pay the taxpayer for that help by acting more responsibly. They need to get their act together and make good on that promise.”

The report published today by Consumer Focus says that three quarters of people who have a grievance against their bank have made a complaint, but only 47% of those are satisfied with the response they received. Similar evidence regarding poor complaint-handling by banks was published by the Office of Fair Trading in January.

For more information on the CAS response, or to arrange interviews etc., please contact Tony Hutson on 07774 751655.