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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I have banked with TSB 40 years and I have a joint account

Customer Question

Dear Sir,
I have banked with TSB for over 40 years and I have a joint account with my wife designated R A Sansom & Mrs. S Sansom.
When the bank introduced internet banking I registered to use the facility.
In November 2015 I telephoned the bank and they walked me through the process and advised on how to open another account in my sole name. I told them I wanted to differentiate between my “Joint” account and this "Personal" account and it was to be only in my name. I wanted to call it: R A Sansom SODS A/C. Almost the same as R A Sansom Number 1 A/C.
They advised once the account was open I could annotate as I wished. I duly annotated the account R A Sansom SODS A/C.
I specifically wanted to differentiate between the two accounts because a group of friends and I, who used to work in the City and who are now retired, meet together several times a year and I now coordinate the lunches and meetings, such as a race day at Sandown Park this year in March. Some events require prepayment and some of the the guys, who do not use internet banking, send me cheques to pay their share. We decided to call ourselves the SODS (Sterling Old Dealers). Please note, we are not a Club, Society, Partnership, Business or Limited Company. Just a group of friends.
I wanted to differentiate between my current "Joint Account" and my new single "Personal" account so that if I was away on business or a golf holiday, my wife on receipt of cheques; and indeed myself, could pay the cheques into the correct account.
The account was worked without any problems until recently when two of my City friends paid cheques to me and incorrectly made them payable to “Sterling Old Dealers Society”. This was clearly wrongly worded. I called them and they said, “just add R Sansom SODS A/C above the payee’s name which I did. I understand the alteration of the name of a payee on a cheque might cause a problem. I sent a letter to the TSB branch with two paying-in slips. One paying in slip had cheques for our joint account the other had cheques for my new personal account R A Sansom SODS A/C.
A member of staff from the TSB branch in Brighton called me while I was out and spoke to my wife. All they said, was they would call me back. What was said is a now a matter of dispute. Firstly, they have told me they called several times but this is not evidenced by any messages left on our answer phone. Then the branch manager states he asked my wife to call him back. She disputes he gave her such a message.
Nearly, 10 days later, I looked at my accounts on-line and found the branch had not paid the SODS account cheques into my personal account. I called the branch and after much searching they found the cheques and told me they couldn’t pay them into the SODS account. In other words, they had been sitting in someone’s tray and they had done nothing with them for 10 days! If we want to split hairs, I believe holding customers’ cheques in a branch is against banking law.
I can accept the cheques I had amended the payee’s name on might cause a problem but two of the other cheques were correctly titled.
I have now spoken to the branch manager and he has told me:
(1) Although I can add the SODS A/C title to the name on my internet banking account they do not have this registered as such in their own records! This in itself is very worrying. How can staff advise customers to register an account with the bank which they then do not monitor know how it is titled? Surely, their systems should be able to monitor and check the title on customers’ accounts?
(2) I can no longer receive cheques made payable to R A Sansom SODS A/C and pay them into the account I have registered in this name on their internet banking system! In other words, I could not add “Number 1 A/C” or any other title to an account. He told me he had referred this to his Head Office and his advice was correct. This is total banking nonsense. For years, customers have been able to have their accounts titled as they wish. Either TSB systems need to be changed so that when a customer titles his account on the internet banking system the bank can identify the name on the account or banking law needs to be changed.
I believe the branch manager in Brighton is incorrect in the advice he has given me about me not being able to pay cheque properly made payable to me into my personal account titled R A Sansom SODS A/C .
Can you advise accordingly please?
Thank you for your kind help.
Yours faithfully
Bob
R A *******
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 7 months ago.

Hello Bob my name is ***** ***** I will help you. What is it you want to achieve please?
Alex

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi Alex
My initial letter should be quite explanatory.
However, I want to know if the TSB Bank is correct in telling me:
(1) I cannot ask for a bank account to be designated R A Sansom SODS A/C. I can have an account designated R A Sansom 1 Account. What is the difference?
(2) Is it correct for the bank to allow customers use their on-line facility to designate an account,as I have, with SODS A/C, and not have it registered on their main inhouse system? For a branch not to know how a customer designates an account is ridiculous.
(3) Should the bank have held on to cheques I sent them for the credit to my account without either returning them or contacting me.? I believe this is against UK banking law.
How's this Alex?
Best wishes
Bob **********
Expert:  Ash replied 7 months ago.

Just to be clear, this is the name you have given to the online bank account, like a nickname?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Dear Alex W
A member of staff at TSB walked me through the process of opening a personal on-line account in only my name. They then said once it was open I could add whatever reference to it on their on-line facility.
I added SODS A/C to my personal name R A Sansom. So it now reads R A Sansom SODS A/C.
It appears that on-line, I can add whatever reference I want to the title of the account but for some unknown reason it is not reflected/noted in the branch systems where my account is held.
It is ridiculous that the two areas of their banking - internet and branch records, do not match up. Then, when a cheque is sent me which I pay into the account the branch Manager not only tells me he cannot accept it because their branch records/system only shows R A Sansom but he now says I cannot have an account even in the branch which is titled R A Sansom SODS A/C. The title is no difference i have R A Sansom No 1 A/C or say R A Sansom Business A/C.
I trust this is clear.
Best wishes
Bob *******
Expert:  Ash replied 7 months ago.

Thanks. You need to write to your bank and set out your complaint. They will investigate the matter and report back to you. If you are not satisfied with their response then you can complain to Head Office. Their address is:

TSB, Customer Services, BX4 7SB

If that does not resolve your complaint you can then complain to the Financial Ombudsman who regulate banks, are independent and can consider your complaint.

Their website is: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

That should resolve it for you. So in summary:

1) Complaint to branch

2) Complaint to Head Office

3) Financial Ombudsman

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Dear Alex,Many thanks for your advice.Being a retired banking director, I am quite conversant with the complaints procedure with banks and the three steps you have recommended.What I was looking for was a reply as to whether:(1) a bank cannot tell a customer it cannot have an account designated after the customer's name with, as in my case, R A Sansom SODS A/C which is essentially the same as R A Sansom 1 A/C or R A Sansom Business A/C.(2) It is correct legally for a bank to allow customers to add through its internet banking system an identification tag to the customer's personal account name, which in my case it advised I could add "SODS A/C" to R A Sansom. So it now appears on the internet account system I look at as R A Sansom SODS A/C. However, the bank cannot identify itself how the customer has designated the account in the branch?So for example, anyone having an internet banking account, has no problems making payments via their own internet banking system direct to my internet account which I now have designated R A Sansom SODS A/C.But if that person, or for that matter any other person not on internet banking, makes a cheque payable to me in the name R A Sansom SODS A/C, the branch manager can return the cheque because it does not match an account which the branch has registered in that name? Even though the bank's inyernet system shows me I have my account registered as R A Sansom SODS A/C?Kind regardsBob Sansom
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I believe Alex should have the opportunity to reply before I ask for a refund.RegardsBob Sansom
Expert:  Ash replied 7 months ago.

Hello Bob I am very sad you gave me a negative rating as it affects my standing on the site.

I had thought I had answered your question and I am sorry you already knew the answer, but sadly I can only tell you what the law is.

However to answer your questions as you have raised them:

(1) a bank cannot tell a customer it cannot have an account designated after the customer's name with, as in my case, R A Sansom SODS A/C which is essentially the same as R A Sansom 1 A/C or R A Sansom Business A/C. - it is a matter within its terms and conditions, you need to check too see what they say about naming. if it is not in the terms then they can NOT enforce it

(2) It is correct legally for a bank to allow customers to add through its internet banking system an identification tag to the customer's personal account name, which in my case it advised I could add "SODS A/C" to R A Sansom. So it now appears on the internet account system I look at as R A Sansom SODS A/C. However, the bank cannot identify itself how the customer has designated the account in the branch? - this is NOT illegal. There is no offence to allow a customer to add a bank account through internet and then change the identification tag. This may be a contractual issue, but it certainly is NOT illegal.

But if that person, or for that matter any other person not on internet banking, makes a cheque payable to me in the name R A Sansom SODS A/C, the branch manager can return the cheque because it does not match an account which the branch has registered in that name? - Yes the branch manager can, but once again this will be in the terms and conditions. If those terms are silent then the bank can NOT refuse.

Does that clarify? Alex

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Dear Alex,I am sorry my first rating did not meet your expectations.The problem with my question is that it mixes ordinary branch banking with internet banking.Ordinary banking has case law supporting many day to day activities but internet banking is new to the law and I think this is the case here.Many thanks for your attempt to provide suitable advice but I think this will require the intervention of the Ombudsman to resolve.Kind regardsBob Sansom
Expert:  Ash replied 7 months ago.

Happy to help Bob. Alex

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