Are the people
In Barclays Bank
honest?

Obviously, being a law abiding citizen, I wouldn’t dream of making any actual allegations of dishonesty against the people at Barclays.
             But it is legal to ask the question and, with my recent experiences, I can’t help but begin to wonder.
             I do have an account with Barclays which I hardly ever use because I have recently found that even going into a Barclays Bank is something of a disgusting experience.
             I also have a Barclaycard which I rarely use for the same reason.
             I did have an account at the Woolich which was taken over by Barclays some time ago and turned into a Barclays Bank account.
             There was just over £6 in that account.
             Not too long ago I put this account’s debit card in an ATM to check the balance because I was thinking of linking it to PayPal for my ebay payments.
             However the ATM immediately swallowed the card.
             Thinking this was simply a bank error I waited expecting a new card in the post.
             When I didn’t hear anything from Barclays I went to the branch and was told that because I hadn’t used the card for so long no new card would be issued until I had gone through the complete security procedure and proved who I was.
             Despite the fact I only wanted a replacement card sent to the name and address held on Barclays computer, a personal banker sat me down and wasted about forty minutes of my time going through the procedure and ensuring I was who I said I was and also wasn’t a terrorist, drug dealer or money launderer.
             When the new card arrived a week or two later I went to the Barclays ATM, checked the balance and also changed the PIN number.
             About four weeks after this, just prior to linking the account to PayPal I decided to recheck my balance when, surprise-surprise, the Sainsbury’s ATM swallowed my card and displayed a brief three second notice saying my card had been retained on the instructions of my bank.
             Another problem? I’d just been through a full security check and thinking it a simple error I waited again for Barclays to send me a letter of apology and a replacement card.
             After four weeks, when I heard nothing, I went to the branch at which this account was held and after sitting down with a personal banker I was told that there was no trace of this account on their computer.
             It was even implied that this account didn’t exist and therefore there was nothing anyone could do.
             From where I was sitting I was able to see the computer screen and under my name and address I could see my Barclaycard details and also the details of my other account. Underneath these entries I could see another entry in, if I remember correctly, red.
             When I asked what that entry was it struck me as if the personal banker was quite surprised to notice this other entry on his computer screen and, after a close look, said that was an account which had been archived.
             No, he couldn’t tell me how much was in this account, it had been archived and an application for details would have to be made to the relevant office.
             So after being told I would have to wait for a letter I left the bank.

*****

About four weeks later I received a letter from Barclays Customer Relations in Leicester telling me that the account had been declared dormant and so had been archived.
             Dormant? I’d just been through a full security check to get a replacement card and had also changed the PIN at a Barclays ATM.
             Anyway, it seems that as the account contained under £25 Barclays were not legally obliged to write and tell me they were making the account dormant, so they didn’t bother.
             They put the balance of the account into a secure account and have now put me in a position where I have to jump through hoops to get my money back. There is no question of just sending me a cheque or transferring the funds into one of my other accounts. (Same name, same address, same date of birth, same signature etc. etc.)
             Now, supposing they did this to a million customers?
             That would be six million pounds or more they could lend out at seven or eight percent interest. A Barclays agreed overdraft costs 19% and an unauthorised overdraft costs considerably more. So to say seven or eight percent is modest indeed.
             This despite the fact that the Bank of England rate is still only half a percent.
             So, where do you think all this money for multi-million pound executive bonuses comes from?
             Mind you, as I said earlier, I wouldn’t dream of making any allegations of theft or dishonesty. I am, after all, a law abiding citizen.
             But how many people have less than £25 in a Barclays account which they’ve forgotten all about?
             They certainly won’t be reminded of the fact they have this money in a Barclays account.
             But if they do remember, how difficult will it be for them to get their money back?
             Not impossible. Just very difficult.
             But how many of these just won’t bother and so allow Barclays to keep lending their money at exorbitant rates of interest.
             For every thousand in this so called secure account, with fractional reserve banking, Barclays can lend at least ten thousand at high interest.
             For every million, they can lend at least ten million at high interest and for every billion…?
             Come Christmas time I confidently predict that all Barclays Bank executives will be getting big, big bonuses because the bank, thanks to all those dormant accounts which have been forgotten about, will be able to afford them.
             What do you think?

*****

Sunday May 9th, 2010.

SHOCK-HORROR.

Shortly after posting the above I filled in the relevant form to reclaim the money from my dormant account which Barclays Bank had sent me and today, to my horror, I got a letter from Barclays telling me that they had no record of any dormant account in my name.
             I couldn’t believe Barclays Bank would stoop to such cheap tricks in order to hold on to a mere six pounds!!! But it doesn’t need much imagination to see what Barclays is up to. Most people who get a letter such as the one I received will forget all about the money they have in a dormant account and Barclays will get to keep it forever. However, if anyone starts to shout and scream, Barclays Bank will, no doubt, send them a letter of apology saying a mistake has been made and refund their money. But of all the money Barclays Bank has swiped from customers with their ‘dormant account’ trick, only a few will ever get their money back.
             I was talking to a business executive friend of mine the other day and he insisted that this was not a dirty trick by Barclays Bank. He said that the file had simply been lost. But I’m an experienced computer programmer and know that with properly programmed computers, files do not get lost. In fact, with the threat of internet banking fraud, all programs used by Barclays Bank are rock solid and so no file gets lost unless someone at Barclays Bank wants it to get lost.
             My friend then said that it was probably simply a matter of incompetence. Many big companies just hire people to do as they are told and, because none are allowed to think for themselves, incompetence creeps into the system. But, when I sat down with the personal banker at my local Barclays Bank to try and trace this missing account, I dealt with an intelligent young man who was clearly familiar with all of Barclays Bank’s products and also the banks computer system. That is why I was so surprised to have to point out to him which link he should click on to try and trace my account. He was definitely not mentally challenged in any way and that was why I became suspicious.
             But, at the end of the day, if Barclays Bank executives are so desperate for my six pounds that they are willing to stoop to cheap tricks, what can I do? I certainly wouldn’t want the world to think of me as being mean, small-minded or petty. So I am happy to give my six pounds to Barclays Bank. In their selfish, petty minds, they obviously think they need it more than I do.


Getting my own back.

Anyway, I have my own ways of dealing with problem. As a result of my money being taken by Barclays Bank I made it my business to find out how much it cost to advertise on Google. What I found was very interesting because on a pay-per-click basis, most sponsored advertisements cost only about four pence. But some cost quite a lot. For example:
             Barclays Bank Accounts
             If you enter the above into the Google search engine and then click on one of the sponsored links, the advertiser has to pay at least £5. Barclays is always a sponsored link when you type this into Google but they have a defence system. If you click on their link, reverse back to Google and click on their link again, and then do this several times, Barclays Bank computer begins to refuse the request to access their page. However, I found that using several browsers, including Internet Explorer 6, is a way of getting around this problem.
             Online Bank Accounts
             At present clicking on a sponsored link after typing this into the Google search engine costs the advertiser up to £10 per click. But again Barclays Bank has a defence against those who would click the sponsored link too frequently. The thing to do is just do it several times a day, every day.
             Obviously, I am not encouraging anyone to cost Barclays Bank vast amounts of money by clicking on their sponsored link when they have no intention of using their services. Heaven forbid!!!! But I did think you’d like to know a bit more about how the Google advertising system works and how much advertisers must pay to have their links prominently displayed.
             Imagine if large numbers of anti-capitalists got together and made it their business to make google rich at the expense of the banks. There'd be no yearly bonuses for the executives.

---April 5, 2010---

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