I have been a barclays customer for 33 years, a Premiere customer for the last 20 years. I had a 9000.00 agreed permanent overdraft facility I have used on and off and it was at 7300.00 OD. I live permanently abroad (monaco) and following advice from a barclays manager, I wrote to barclays last year to inform them I am now separated from my wife and the divorce is taking place in Monaco, and with the account being in joint names, there was a mandate dispute (this is what the manager said to put) and I wanted them to stop any further payments being made from it (to avoid my wife spending more money and increasing our joint debt). I sent them back my barclays card and they actioned my request. I sent them my new address and started receiving statements, the last of which was March of this year (2011)
The interest accumulating was only 18.00 and it was added to the overdraft monthly. Due to the ongoing divorce, despite the fact I am a high earner, until the divorce is resolved my outgoings are much higher than normal (I am having to pay rental on two homes now and associated expenses of two separate households). In 12 months my situation will be much better. At no time did I receive any communication from barclays that anything was untoward, that they wanted the loan repaid, nothing at all.
Two weeks ago I received a letter from RMA, a debt collector acting on behalf of Barclays. I contacted them by phone and said I knew nothing of this or any problem between myself and Barclays bank whatsoever. They said they were only interested in recovering the debt. I asked for copies of any correspondence from barclays to me re the debt and they refused.
I contacted my local branch via email and related the above. They said the account had been cancelled and they were very sorry, but now it was in the hand of debt collectors there was nothing they could do, and weren't even able to access my account to see if any letters had been sent or why the account was ever in dispute. They apologised but said there was nothing they could do. I wrote an email asking for my complaint to be made official as it struck me as irregular, and I wanted the ombudsman to look into it. I received an email saying that my complaint had been forwarded to barclays customer services and to contact the ombudsman if it wasn't resolved by barclays.
Last friday the debt collector called me and I expained I had made a complaint to barclays bank and needed a couple of weeks to hear their response. They agreed to put it on ice for two weeks.
Three days later (monday this week) I received a post card from the UK saying that someone from RMA debt collection would be visiting me this thursday between 8am and 8pm at my home (in monaco). I called them to confirm my conversation with their associate re two weeks on ice and they said that that had been posted prior to that conversation. I work from 8am to 6pm and am not able to hang around all day and can't believe this is how they operate. Are they seriously going to fly someone to Monaco on the offchance I might be in to discuss a 7000.00 overdraft?
I have never previously owed any money, or had any dealings with debt collectors. I am a high earner, who, for the first time in my life needs to use an overdraft for one year (until the divorce is resolved and our assets split).
Does anyone know if Barclays are allowed to just put my overdraft with the debt collectos, or have any advice as to the above? I have no problem servicing the interest on the debt, but can't pay it off right now. Nobody at barclays will talk to me as my account has been cancelled and is now with debt collectors. I repeat, I had no forewarning of this whatsoever and it has all come as a complete shock.
Does anyone know how long I have to wait for Barclays to come back to me on my complaint before I am allowed to write to the ombudsman?
Thanks for any advice. I can't believe this is happenning and I am really stressed about it.