I opened a current account with TSB as I was not happy with my now ex-bank. I placed £25,000 into this account, the entirety of my life savings, and it was instantly frozen.
Upon investigating, TSB responded a week later asking for proof of the money’s source that I instantly provided.
After another week passed, it wanted to know how I came by that money and now it is asking for the origins of that money. The questioning does not end, and it takes a week to ten days for them to respond.
Nearly seven weeks have passed and it is still not satisfied with the proof I have provided which has been clear and concise. I am now without funds to pay rent, taxes, bills and food.
A TSB customer has found it has taken months for their funds to be checked by the bank
Council tax has gone into arrears and I am being threatened with legal action.
Why am I not able to access my money and when will the account no longer be frozen? D.W., via email
Grace Gausden, consumer expert at This is Money, replies: When you decided to switch from your previous bank to TSB, you assumed it would be an easy transition.
Instead you found you were without your life savings for more than two months, leaving you unable to pay several household bills, causing a lot of stress and anguish.
After making the switch and realising your account had instantly been frozen, you contacted TSB who asked for several documents proving where you got the money from.
GRACE ON THE CASE
Our weekly column sees This is Money consumer expert Grace Gausden tackles reader problems and shines the light on companies doing both good and bad.
Want her to investigate a problem, or do you want to praise a firm for going that extra mile? Get in touch:
You immediately provided the documents but didn’t hear back from the bank.
Therefore, you tried to chase via phone and email but didn’t receive a response until days after initial contact each time.
As a result, you paid a visit to one of TSB’s branches ten days after you submitted the last piece evidence, which was a video of you accessing your NS&I account online to demonstrate Premium Bond activity which is where your funds came from.
You did this as NS&I cannot provide statements with the client’s name on it, which is what TSB asked for.
In the branch, you presented your overdue council tax bill which threatens court action and explained that, at the time, you were likely to have no Christmas due to its actions.
You also passed a deadline to pay a £9,000 legal bill which you believe could result in a CCJ and a bailiff visit.
The in-branch representative explained they couldn’t help and you would just have to wait.
TSB took a long time to reply to calls and emails which asked where the funds were from
Frustratingly, TSB were slow in responding to every email and phone call you made, meaning you were often left unsure of where you stood.
It seemed very unfair you were left waiting months for £25,000 of your money when you had provided every piece of evidence the bank had asked for and so I contacted TSB.
A TSB spokesperson said: ‘We are required to establish the source of funds deposited by customers, particularly for new customers to the bank or where large sums are being deposited.
‘Having now received the required information from our customer we are pleased to have been able to lift the restrictions on the account.’
It said banks are required to establish the source of large or unusual payments into an account in order to meet the money laundering rules – rules that have become stricter in recent years.
This is particularly the case for new customers where it has no previous experience of what might be a typical transaction.
In this case, your first transaction was to deposit £25,000 and there were no other payments in or out of the account.
In order to meet its regulatory obligations, it requested proof of where these funds came from.
The requests for information have been complicated because they were often handled by your husband who is not a TSB customer and initially the bank said it was not sent the information it requested.
While you are happy you have now received the funds, you may face fines for being in arrears on several bills and could face legal trouble after not being able to pay your legal bill.
It has made you concerned about your relationship with your new bank, but it is a lesson for anyone thinking about switching account and moving large sums without any other activity, given the money laundering crackdown.
A grieving son was frustrated after there was a delay to his fathers life insurance policy payout
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: This week, reader Sebastian, revealed how disappointed he was in Legal & General after the death of his father.
He said: ‘My father passed away in August 2021. His death was covered by a life insurance policy with Legal & General, who owe my mother £40,000.
‘After submitting the claim in early September and subsequently receiving all of the relevant paperwork and access to medical records, we were due to be contacted by an assessor to further discuss the claim.
‘The assessor has claimed to have called my mother on two separate occasions but this never happened.
‘Their claim line puts me through to an agent that cannot give me any of the contact details for the assessor, nor a manager, nor arrange a time in future to discuss with them the claim.
‘They have been endlessly avoiding paying out the life insurance claim.’
After speaking to you in December and hearing you were still waiting, I contacted Legal & General as this is not the first time I have covered the slack service by the firm.
A spokesperson said: ‘Our customers are our upmost priority and our teams are committed to responding as quickly as possible, ensuring they keep our customers up to date.
‘We’re sorry for any misunderstanding or delays caused and wish to convey our very best wishes to the family at this time.’
Not long after I got in touch, it confirmed your mothers claim was paid in full on 22 December 2021.
It added it was instructed that your mother was the next of kin but your sister would be dealing with the claim.
As point of contact, it recorded your sister’s mobile number on its systems as opposed to your mother and this was the number the assessor used to make contact on two separate occasions.
This caused some delays but it also said there were some delays with regard to receiving receipt of completed forms and death certificate from the executor.
Hopefully now your family can grieve your father in peace.
One reader praised a local tech store, Garlicks, for replacing his mothers washing machine
Hit: In better news, reader Max, wanted to praise shop, Garlicks.
He said: ‘I am the sole carer for my mother who has a complicated set of issues one of which means I have to do two loads of washing everyday.
‘I bought a washing machine in February 2021 from Harry Garlick, a tech store that has four shops.
‘In November, the machine broke and Garlicks gave me a loan machine after the first manufacturer’s engineer said he couldn’t fix it.
‘A part was ordered and I had a second engineers visit with no fix. A second part was ordered and still the next engineer could not fix my machine.
‘To cut a long story short, after three visits from the manufacturers own engineers without a fix, Garlicks swapped my machine out for a different manufacturer’s product.
‘Through all this, the washing machines had to be carried up and down a flight of very steep stairs negotiating a stair lift. I would like to say a big thank you to Garlicks Barnoldswick and to the delivery people.’
No bad comments to come out in the wash here, great service from a local firm.