This is the story of how Santander treats not only their own customers but also the bereaved relatives of one of their customers.
My mother passed away back in January 2009 and I was named the sole beneficiary in her will and the executor of her estate.
All in all an upsetting time, with lots of paperwork to do, people and organizations to inform, arrangements and claims to make ect, ect.
All the organizations I had to contact were very helpful and sympathetic and tried to make things as easy as possible to resolve, insurance companies the pensions office and the local branch of the Santander where my mother did her banking.
However the nice chap at the local branch of Santander was not able to do anything with regard to my mother’s accounts or even the Santander shares that she held from the Santander take over of the abbey.
He asked for her documents and copied them all, death cert, marriage cert will and my id,
He photocopied them all and said that he would have to send them to the probate department to be processed.
He said it would take 7 to 10 days but it was a strait forward case and would be quickly dealt with.
It went downhill from there!
I left it for two weeks trusting that what I had been told was correct but having not heard anything I thought I would check on the progress.
I called the local branch and spoke to the account rep who said he had sent the paper work in and was surprised I had not had any reply.
He then spoke to the probate dept who asked him to resubmit the paperwork and that they would then deal with it.
Another week goes by and the same thing happens again ... paperwork resubmitted yet again and calls made to the probate dept by the account rep.
This time the probate dept are getting snotty with the account rep but he resubmits the paperwork as they request.
Another week and still nothing so I chase it up and the account rep tries to call the probate dept who hang up on him, so he calls the manager of the probate dept and complains about what has happened.
The manager promises to look into it and call him back. Of course this does not happen.
So further calls are made and the bank manager gets involved and eventually some of my mother’s accounts are closed. The probate dept then sends out a series of cheques from these accounts most of which were for a few pounds each.
At last I think a light at the end of the tunnel it has taken some 7 weeks but finally a resolution.
But of course it is not at all finished.
Another couple ofweeks go by and nothing further from Santander so I call the account rep again who tries to chase it up but gets nowhere.
At this point he tells me that the shares have to be resolved separately and to contact Santander directly to get the claim form.
So 3 calls to the Santander shareholders helpline over three weeks produces no claim form
So I had to call to Santander complaints line to even get a claim form sent out and I am sure this will be another epic battle. (still not resolved some 3 years later)
Back to the rest of the accounts and another week goes by so I call the complaints dept to complain and I am told they cannot do anything as the branch are dealing with it.
So I call the branch who tell me, no the complaints dept are now dealing withit. So I give it a few days and call complaints again who insist that no the branch is dealing with it and they cannot touch it until the branch writes tome and tells me they have failed to resolve it.
So I call the branch again and they tell me they are sending me this letter. At which point I lose it,
I call the chairman’s office and lodge an official complaint with them, this is supposed to be the top level complaint in the whole organization.
I speak to a polite lady who expresses concern and says that they will take over the complaint at head office and resolve it quickly.
So I leave it another week and hear nothing so I call them again and am told that they have sent out an acknowledgment letter and someone will be assigned to investigate my complaint.
So in other words they have done nothing for yet another week!
I have had to deal with the death of my mother and all the pain and trauma that that has caused but I am not even been allowed to try and begin the healing process because Santander are forcing me to confront her death on a daily basis and rubbing my face in it buy making me fight and chase them every day now.
Santander were unlawfully holding my mother’s money with no excuse, they cannot explain why.They claim there is no problem but refuse to process the paperwork
And to cap it all........ The best bit now!
I got a letter from their debt recovery department demanding that I, as the executor of her estate clear a small overdraft that was left on her current account.
This despite the fact that Santander are holding over ten times that amount still in her other accounts.
And of course the probate department are supposed to clear any debts or overdrafts ECT as part of the process of closing the accounts before they release any funds to the estate.
When I first went into the branch to formally inform them of my mothers death and give them all the paper work they had requested, they had print outs of all my mother's accounts with balances and totals.
I was given this information but alas not the actual documents
so that I could do the required probate steps and make all the arrangements.The final figure paid from Santander was £5000 less than this amount. With no explanation as to why.
And the complaint to the chairman’s office
well after a few weeks of, you guessed it no contact or information I got a garbled phone call saying that they had investigated and yes it had not gone a sit should and lessons had been learned, no disciplinary action at the probate dept, denial of the missing £5000 and an offer of £500 compensation.
My reply to that was unprintable.
At that point I pretty much gave up as I could not take the stress and upset any more
Now jump forward to 2012 and the saga continues.
I am now getting threatening letters from the German government and the solicitors they have hired in London because once again Santander lied to me and have stolen money again from my late mother.
When I reported her death to Santander and went through the whole horrible process I described above, I was told that all of my mother’s accounts were closed and all activity was suspended on them,
I find out from the German government who have been paying a pension to my late mother and this pension has been happily taken by Santander and kept by them.
No mention to me about it and into a supposedly closed account.
Naturally the German government want this over paid money back and Santander are refusing to return it either to the pension provider or to me so I could return it.
So let this saga be a warning to you all………. If you think you may die one day and if you have relatives who will have to deal with things after you are gone........ Then make sure you do not bank with Santander