12 March 2009


Matthew W Barrett, ChairmanQuis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Contact Centre
Barclays Wealth
PO Box 9
Barclays House
Isle of Man IM99 1AJ

Name of Account:
Sort Code:
Account Number:

Dear Sir

Thank you for your letters of 24th and 27th of February and now March 3rd 2009 informing me that the above-mentioned bank account balance is overdrawn to the tune of £496.80.

I am aware of that.

On February 16th around 5:30pm, my credit and debit cards were stolen from my bag in Waitrose store, Kings Road, London SW.

I reported the loss of the card by telephone, as did my son from Greece where the account address is.

chris lendrumOn February 17th, Barclays Fraud Detection Department sent a letter to Greece expressing concern that my debit card “may have been used fraudulently.”

They listed five transactions on February 17th between 00:35 – 00:37 hrs, each of £41.75. This was six hours after the theft of the cards was ‘phoned through to the Fraud Detection Department and verbal assurance given that a “safeguard” would be placed on the card.

However, the amount was not large and the Fraud Dept letter – reference XYZ – confirmed in print that they had placed a ‘safeguard’ on my account 'which protects me against any potential fraud in the immediate future' (their words).

I returned to Greece where, shortly after, a statement arrived listing my last two withdrawals before the robbery and showing my account to stand comfortably in excess of a moderate £5,000.00.

The next communication from the bank was your letter of February 24th advising me that on Feb 23 my bank account balance was £496.80 overdrawn and listing the Reserve Usage Fees I was now subject to.

My son telephoned the number given on the Fraud Detection Department’s letter of Feb 17th and got nowhere – they couldn’t even see the account.

Finally, my son was given the number +44 1624 684 030 which, to this day, has never responded and we have had to be transferred each time from another department.

Although my son is co-owner of the account, he was not at first allowed to know whence came any further withdrawals to cast light on the draining of the account.

However, he was advised to apply for a Cash Machine Dispute Form which it turned out he was not eligible to request because he was not owner of my stolen card.

He set up a call on my behalf, giving all possible details to the rep to save me needless distress and confusion. When I finally got on the phone I was put through such a rigorous check that I simply did not understand what I was being asked.

I am 88 years old and am not fluent in your computerized ways. How worse would I have coped without my son with me? That was precisely why I went to such pains to ensure his addition to the account with full powers of attorney.

How is an old lady to understand grilling down the international phone lines about:

  • Membership number
  • Memorable password
  • Code number
  • Selected letters from my memorable word

    I was already in distress. I was simply requesting a blank Dispute form to start the no doubt lengthy process of retrieving money that the Fraud Department allowed to be removed with apparent impunity in over 100 cash machine or store purchase transactions over the period of one whole week.

    As I say, I am not expert in your technology but nor do I see the logic in I as the injured party being put through confusing security procedures for the privilege of being sent a claim to retrieve money that the thieves appear to have had no security problems filching in the first place.

    barclays premier leagueAnd why is your Fraud Department capable of spotting five suspicious transactions and reporting them to me, along with assurances of ‘safeguarding’ my money, and then ignoring a further 100+ uses of the card without a single message to me?

    I dare not deposit funds because I have had no indication from the Fraud experts that they have made the card any safer guarded than after Feb 17 - and nor would I have much confidence in any such assurances.

    I suppose I will continue to collect Reserve Usage Fees until I pass the test unaided by my son to be allowed a Dispute form and this whole thing is sorted out.

    So, there you have it.

    I do not know who else to inform but my son has thoughtfully suggested we send timely copies of this letter to assorted officers of the bank: they, too, may have mothers, grandmothers or elderly aunts of delicate disposition who might be caught out by your Fraud division’s lax security. God willing, my example might save them from the distress I am going through.

    Please advise me of the next step.

    Yours faithfully

    Signature above printed Name and Address

    barclays logo

    Copies to the respective Barclays addresses for:

  • Mr Matthew W Barrett, Chairman
  • Mr John Varley, Group Chief Executive
  • Mr Chris Lucas, Group Finance Director
  • Monsieur Robert Le Blanc, Group Risk Director
  • Robert Nimmo, Corporate Risk Directorate
  • Mr Chris Lendrum, Vice-Chairman and Group Executive Director
  • Mr David Roberts, Chief Executive, Private Clients & International
  • Mr David Weymouth, Chief Information Officer

    Mailed 12 noon Friday March 13th from Kerkyra Central Post Office
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