Back in early June I received a letter from Marks & Spencer Bank advising it was no longer going to offer current accounts and I therefore had to find an alternative bank.
I telephoned and was told to use the switch service, which I did. I opened a new joint bank account with my wife at Lloyds – as she had a separate account with it – and completed the necessary online forms.
I was told during this phone conversation with M&S Bank that I had to arrange a new overdraft on the new joint account to cover the old account. My overdraft limit was £800 and Lloyds provided it without issue.
Fast forward to the switching date in July, I could see that my direct debits had been transferred, but the balance on my old account with M&S Bank was still showing as minus £636.75. I tried to contact M&S bank about this but was cut off.
Problem: A M&S Bank customer was repeatedly asked for money he had already transferred
I then received a phone call from M&S Bank asking me to pay the outstanding amount which I did. This immediately showed as ‘pending’ and the money was deducted.
Since then, I have been called multiple times by the bank, asking me to pay the money, despite having done so. Where is my money – and why can M&S Bank not find it? C.D., via email
Grace Gausden, consumer expert at This is Money, replies: You didn’t feel the spark after M&S Bank seemingly managed to botch your switch to Lloyds.
The firm announced in March it was closing its banking services to focus on credit cards and digital payments.
The bank, which is half-owned by the supermarket and HSBC, said at the time only a small percentage of its three million customers will be affected by the change, with all accounts closed in August.
This was because not many people used it as their primary account.
GRACE ON THE CASE
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At the same time, it revealed it would be shutting its 29 in-store branches.
Once you knew your account was going to be shut, you asked M&S Bank how to switch to another bank as this was something you had never done before.
You decided to open a joint account with your wife at Lloyds.
Initially, all seemed fine, with your direct debits being moved over, however you could see your outstanding overdraft amount had not been moved to your new bank.
You tried to call to explain this to M&S Bank but you say there was no answer.
However, you then proceeded to receive multiple calls from the bank asking you to pay the funds.
You paid the amount as you were advised it wouldn’t be transferred automatically.
Despite this, you continued to be – in your words – ‘bombarded’ with letters and phone calls from M&S Bank chasing the money.
Although you explained you had paid it, you were told the reason the payment was not showing up could be because it had been done recently and there had not been enough time for it to be reflected on its system.
M&S Bank customers that had to switch providers say it lost money it had transferred over
You even sent bank statements to prove you had paid it as M&S Bank said it could not find the money.
Unfortunately, you say you have spent hours on the phone trying to locate the money and are worried this may impact your credit score.
I contacted M&S Bank to see why it was having such trouble finding your payment and why it continued to ask you repeatedly for the money.
Fortunately, it realised its mistake and has now offered you an apology and a goodwill cheque of £75.
An M&S Bank spokesperson said: ‘On this occasion, a payment wasn’t correctly applied to the customer’s account, which meant a debit balance was still showing on their overdraft. This has since been corrected and the overdraft has been cleared.
‘We have also contacted the customer to apologise that the service experienced fell below our usual high standards on this occasion and to confirm that there is no impact to their credit file.’
You are not the only person to experience this problem with another reader also getting in touch to say she had experienced something similar.
Ms D set up a new account with Starling Bank and transferred all money from her M&S Bank current account over a period of time but couldn’t do a switch as her M&S account was a joint one and she wanted to set up a single person account.
After clearing out her total balance on 30 August, she received a message on the 31st saying she was £40 overdrawn as another direct debit had been paid that day.
At 11.15pm on 31 August Ms D transferred £40 from Starling to M&S Bank to make the balance zero and assumed the account was closed.
However, M&S Bank did not close the account as it said it never received the payment of £40 and therefore it was an overdrawn account. It did, however, pay £40 bank into the Starling account on 3 September but can’t say why.
Between 3 and 6 September it then took three more direct debits taking Ms D once more into an overdraft with it then asking for £180.
Fortunately, the customer managed to resolve the situation after speaking to M&S Bank with the account being closed and the overdraft being written off but it shows some issues customers have experienced when switching accounts.
While these two issues are now sorted, M&S Bank may need to ensure they’re on their marks in future to avoid further problems occuring.
If you’ve had a similar problem problem with M&S Bank, contact me on the email address above in the purple box.
British Gas were in hot water after a customer found it was sending bills to another address
Hit and miss: This week’s naughty and nice list
Each week, I look at some of the companies that have fallen short of expected standards as well as those that have gone that extra mile for customers.
Miss: British Gas received heat this week from customer, Verity.
She said: ‘Last year I bought a house and moved in on 1 September. It took me a short while to get all bills set up.
‘It was about the end of October when I realised I hadn’t had a gas or electric bill. I looked through the previous owners notes and could see the house had been supplied by Robin Hood Energy. I tried contacting them twice to no avail.
‘A Google search then showed they were being purchased by British Gas. I contacted British Gas on three occasions. Once I was told there was no supply to the house. The second time I was cut off. The third time I was transferred to a team to set up a new supply.
‘It was around March time this year I had a rather ominous letter from LCS, a debt collectors, telling me I had an outstanding bill of £470.83 and that British Gas has sent me the bill and payment reminders on several occasions. This was news to me.
‘A phone call to LCS occurred and I explained the saga. I said I could pay off the bill in small monthly instalments. But I did ask for proof of the contact from British Gas as I had received nothing despite my repeated attempts to contact them.
‘Four months later, I have a letter from LCS attaching proof of British Gas invoice. The invoice, whilst it says is for supply at my address has the postal address for a house down the road. I’m now at a bit of a loss.
‘This has dragged on and caused me considerable stress.’
I contacted British Gas as it seemed ridiculous the energy firm was expecting you to pay a backlog of payments in one go when it had sent all correspondence to the wrong address.
Luckily, the supplier agreed and gave you a discount of £70.83 whilst also allowing you to pay off the rest of your bill in monthly instalments, without affecting your credit score.
A British Gas spokesperson said: ‘We’re sorry that Ms C’s bill was sent to the wrong address.
‘We’ve been in touch to ensure she has it now and we’ve agreed a plan to spread out her payments, making them more manageable. We’re pleased she is happy with this outcome.’
Fortunately this is now resolved and you don’t have to expend anymore energy on the situation.
One reader was happy with garden furniture firm, Out & Out, after it replaced a broken set
Hit: This week reader, William, praised firm Out & Out.
He said: ‘In June I ordered a Delano outdoor garden suite from Out & Out using a discount.
‘This was delivered promptly and we were very pleased with it. In September it developed a crack in one of the slats, I think I could have put up with it but was worried that others might eventually go the same way.
‘I checked their website and they appeared to promise a comprehensive guarantee so I contacted them by email. I had a prompt and courteous reply from their representative and the next week they delivered a complete new set.
‘I was amazed at this response especially having had some shoddy dealings with other companies. A big thumbs up from me. Well done.’
Happily, you dig your new gardening furniture and the customer service you received.