Thursday, March 22, 2007

BBC Puts Boot Into Barclays

The BBC investigative programme "Whislteblower", which investigates anti-social or criminal practices in organisations and companies across the UK, put the boot into Barlcays Bank last night.

It exposed a catalogue of shabby practices at a call centre and branch in Guildford, ranging from mis-selling unnecessary products to fraud.

The programme sent in an undercover reporter firstly to a Barclays call centre, then to a branch in Guildford. There she uncovered a catalogue of shabby practices:
  • Her bank trainer told a classroom of call centre trainees that he "loved" getting customers complaining about bank charges.

  • People were charged for financial products they neither asked for, or knew they had. Beware of being charged for the new Barclay product "Additions", one incident showed that a customer was charged for this without even having asked for it. One manager admitted that the bank's "Additions" accounts are one of the "most mis-sold" products in the bank.

  • One employee moved over £200K from one customer's account to another, without permission, purely so that he could get commission.

  • The programme highlighted serious flaws in security and fraudsters at work, the reporter saw bank employees working with criminals to commit fraud.
The good news is that Barclays made £7BN last year, and their spokeswoman when confronted with the evidence in her ivory tower in Canary Wharf said:

"I don't think what you've seen is any way representative of the way in which Barclays does business, and I'm sure our millions of customers would tell you exactly the same thing."

So that's alright then!

Extracts of the programme can be watched via this link Whistleblower.

Here is Barclays response, as posted on their website Barclays.

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