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Sparky Vs The Abbey


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I feel the need to publicise my ongoing complaint against The Abbey in this forum and see what other members think about it...


My posts will be in the form of the emails I have sent to The Abbey over the past month which basically detail everything that has happenned to me...


Yes, I do tend to get a touch sarcastic in my dealings with The Abbey but, if you bother to plough through my tale of woe, I think you'll agree that my frustration is justified...



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Email 1: Sent 4 Jan 2008



This email is being copied to:


The Abbey


The Financial Ombudsman Service

BBC 'Watchdog'

The Daily Mail 'This Is Money'





I am emailing this story to all of you in the hope that one of you will be able to do something

about my situation, before I reach the end of my thether... which isn't far away.


In November 2006 I moved from rented accomodation in Surrey, to a purchased

property in Sussex. Having moved it was of course necessary to change my

address details with my bank and all the other financial companies I deal with, credit cards etc.

The Abbey required that I fill out a form with my old and new address details and, having handed

it in, leave it to them to update their database. This I duly did. I also arranged a mail forwarding

service via The Post Office, for 6 months, to allow my address changeover to take effect with

all the organisations that needed to contact me.


Time passes.


Mail is forwarded to me at my new address for 6 months, but over the course of time I check

that each and every one of the financial companies have my new address. And, it seems, they

have, as they all write to me at my new address to confirm it... The only one I fail to remember

receiving a letter from is my bank, The Abbey. I do though notice that my bank statement is now

being sent to me at my new address so I naturally assume that they have updated everything.


Cut now to around August/September time... My mail is now no longer being forwarded as the

forwarding service has ceased. Everyone now has my address and all statements and bills are

coming through to my new address. With one noticeable exception.


I haven't received a cheque book from The Abbey recently.


This I only notice around August/September as I run down to my last couple of blank cheques

and realise I need a new book for bills I need to pay. Normally I would expect to receive a new

cheque book when I'm down to around 3 or 4 blank cheques left in my current book, but, as far

as I can recall, I've been down to 1 or 2 cheques left for around a month and I have no sign of a

new chequebook.


So I call The Abbey to find out what is happenning.


Over the course of a month or so I call them a couple of times, speaking to a call centre in

Bombay (or wherever), and each time, explaining my situation, confirm with the person I am speaking

to that I am in need of a chequebook. They duly advise me that they have record that one was sent

recently and to wait 7/10 working days. This happenned a couple of times and yet despite their

assurances, no chequebook arrived. And each time I phoned them they say they will have to cancel

the one that they have record of sending and re-order a new one. This happenned at least 3 times.


More time passes, still no chequebook.


I decide to take my request to my local branch and see what they could do and on the 22nd November

I went to the Leather Lane, London EC1 branch of The Abbey and asked one of the tellers to order me

a chequebook. This she says she did and couldn't understand why I still hadn't had one.

But a new one would be with me in 7/10 days.


More time passes and I am in desperate need for a chequebook. Luckily, most of the companies I need

to make payment to accept debit cards but credit cards issued by HFC do not accept debit card payments

unless you are in arrears (Thats another complaint for another day... I want to pay them by debit card in order

to AVOID going in arrears but they don't accept debit card payments UNTIL you are in arrears... Madness.)

Around 10 days before Christmas I revist the Leather Lane, London EC1 branch of The Abbey and request

again another chequebook, and, were it possible, could it be sent to the branch so I could collect it from there?

There was obviously a problem with the postal service as things weren't arriving with me via that method.

it was at this point that the girl behind the desk spotted something.


They had two different addresses for me in their database.


You guessed it.


For correspondence (and this obviously included statements) they had my new address in Sussex...


But they still had my old address, in Surrey, the one I moved out of a year ago, as another valid address for me...


I think the word you would use to describe my reaction is... 'Livid'.


The girl said she would 'get things sorted' and order me a chequebook. She couldn't understand why I had two

valid addresses for me, but she would see to things. I left her my telephone number to call if there were any

problems and left the branch seething.


January 2nd 2008.

The first 'proper' working day after the Christmas break. STILL no chequebook. And no calls from the girl at

the Leather Lane Abbey.

This is getting serious now so I phone the UK number for The Abbey and ask for the complaints department. I

am eventually put through to a 'L***' in Milton Keynes who listens to my complaint. In order to verify I am who I

am she has to ask me some security questions... starting with my address...

I give her my address in Sussex and she replies THAT IT DOESN'T MATCH WITH HER DATABASE.

So despite it being 2 weeks after the girl in The Abbey (apparently) re-ordering me a chequebook and telling me

she would sort out the disparity in addresses in their database, my address that 'L***' in Milton Keyes was able


I couldn't beleive what I was hearing from 'L***', I said that the reason for my complaint was for the very reason

she had just brought up on screen... The Abbey STILL had my old address registered as a valid address.

She gave me a complaint reference - ****** and I requested a call back that day from someone at The Abbey

with an explanation.


January 3rd 2008.

I received no call from The Abbey despite my request, so I called Milton Keynes again and spoke to 'J****'

who was able to access my complaint details, listened to my complaint, and said that he would look into whether

a chequebook had been ordered, if it had been sent, and most importantly, where it was being sent to. He said he

would call me back that day, and/or, a member of management would call me.


January 4th 2008

I had no call from The Abbey yesterday so that is the reason I am writing this (rather long email) to try and get

SOMEONE SOMEWHERE to sort out my problem.


There are a number of MAJOR concerns I have.

Why, when I filled out the 'New Address' form wasn't my address correctly updated in ALL areas of the database?

Why wasn't the disparity in addresses spotted by any of the 'Bombay' operators during the calls I made trying to

order a chequebook?

Why wasn't the disparity noticed on the 22nd November by the girl in the branch I spoke to?

Why was it only spotted 10 days or so before Christmas by another girl at the branch who then said she'd do something

but then obviously didn't?

Why was it STILL wrong on the 2nd January when I called Milton Keynes?

Why was it STILL wrong on the 3rd January when I called Milton Keynes?

Why did I get no callback on the 2nd... or the 3rd?

And the top concern that I have is that, in these days of identity theft, if The Abbey have been sending my chequebook

to the wrong address all these months, how secure is my account bearing in mind that if this chequebook (which, to be

honest, is obviously what it is when it arrives in a chequebook shaped envelope) falls into the wrong hands



I have sent an absolute age waiting for a chequebook... I have had default charges added to credit card accounts because

I haven't had cheques to pay them... I have made multiple phonecalls... I have been given the run around by all and sundry

at The Abbey... I now have the worry of wondering if my chequebooks, with all my details, are in someone elses hands...

I am considerably out of pocket AND STILL WITHOUT A CHEQUEBOOK. And now I have the worry of whether I have to

change account numbers with The Abbey (or, obviously, take the time and trouble to move my account to a more competant



And you know the biggest joke of all...

When I've been into the branch to try and sort this out I have also asked whether, whilst I am without a chequebook, they

can issue counter-cheques to be able to pay some bills...


The answer?


No. The Abbey do not issue counter-cheques for people who have a cheque account.


Jeez... you couldn't make it up just how incompetant The Abbey are.


Please... will someone step in and try and get The Abbey to sort this debacle out... Oh, and theres the small matter of

compensation for all the time, trouble, default charges and inconvenience they have caused.


I await your reply, and assistance if possible, with interest.



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Email 2: Sent 21 Jan 2008




A copy of my previous email regarding my complaint against The Abbey is copied at the end of this email...

But here is my continueing 'saga' regarding my complaint...


Despite promises to call me back I had no call from The Abbey on the 4th January...


Or, after the weekend, the 7th January...


On the 8th of January I walked into my local branch in Sussex to pay in a cheque, and, just

on a whim, asked the 'teller' to have a look at the details of my account and let me know how many

addresses he had registered for me...


You guessed it... Two different addresses... my current one, and my old one in Surrey.


So, having arrived home, I called The Abbey complaints department in Milton Keynes... Again.


I spoke to an 'A****'.


Having gone through all my security details yet ANOTHER glitch sprang up... My birthday as recorded

on The Abbey 'system' was now apparently the 1st Sept ('A****' told me this), despite it

correctly being 11th Sept, which it has been all my life (funny that...)...

So now, as well as having my wrong address details on the system, somehow my date of birth had now been

changed to something completely random...

I advised 'A****' of my correct birthday, and about my address details being wrong and that I had been dealing

previously with a L****...

He put me on hold for an age, and eventually came back to me with the news that L**** had told

him that she was waiting for a, what I beleive he called, 'Data Corrections Form'... She had apparently ordered

one, but was waiting for it. 'A****' also advised me that the way to sort this all out was to go into a branch and

let them know my correct details... I told him I shouldn't have to be doing that as I had done that in November

2006 when I supplied The Abbey with a 'change of address' form... And I also pointed out that my new date of

birth, as advised to me by A****, was nothing to do with my address so how could I be sure that once I filled

out a form AGAIN with my new address that someone wouldn't just randomise it anyway... I mean, my date

of birth has nothing to do with my address (other than them both belonging to me) so how could that possibly

have changed?


I asked 'A****' who had changed my date of birth and he said he couldn't say.


I asked again to speak to L****. He put me on hold again and eventually came back to me saying that

L**** wasn't available. I said that 'A****' had just spoken to her so could I now speak to her bearing in

mind she seemed to be dealing with my case.


He refused to put me through claiming again that she wasn't able to speak to me.


I was livid.


It was now 1630. I said to him that I needed things sorted out quickly as I was going away on holiday to the USA

on the morning of the 9th January and would like to find a chequebook waiting for me on arrival back in the UK a

week later. I asked that L**** call me back by 1730. He said he doubted that was possible but would get someone

to call me tomorrow, the 9th. I advised him AGAIN that there was no point AS I WOULD BE OUT OF THE COUNTRY

ON HOLIDAY IN THE USA. I gave him 1 hour to get L**** to call me back.


Needless to say I had no return call.


Off I went on holiday to the USA on the 9th January.


Arriving in Las Vegas on the afternoon of 9th January (Las Vegas time) I turned on my mobile phone to see if it worked

over in the USA and guess what...


A missed call and a voicemail message from a 'R***' asking me to call.




I obviously wasn't going to waste my mobile phone bill calling the UK from the USA to speak to R*** so I didn't call back

(and as no-one from the Abbey has ever called me back, with R*** being the exception, why should I do what The

Abbey are loathe to do, ie, call someone back?)


I carried on with my holiday, until, 5 days later, I tried to pay for something with my Abbey Debit Card and the payment

was refused... I had had no problems up until then so couldn't understand why my card was refused. That put me in an

extremely embarrassing situation having my card refused but luckily I had the cash on me and was able to pay.

Worried about the state of my bank account and also about paying for the hotel bill at the end of the holiday I was left with

no choice but to check that my account was okay by phoning telephone banking in the UK from the USA.

I called... entered my card details... and then my birthdate... And the system was unable to recognise me and cut me off.

And for that I was charged around $40 in hotel phone call bill. I tried again, and this time entered my card details, the

WRONG date of birth that 'A****' had advised me about and... success... I heard my bank balance and was assured that

the money was all in there... So why was my card being refused? I held on the line and heard that Abbey Customer

Services was open at 7am UK time... 11pm Las Vegas time. So I had to wait. So far the hotel phone bill was up to around



11pm came around and I phoned the UK again... Got through to Customer Services and, having gone through security

questions including my wrong date of birth I asked why my card was refused. I was told that a temporary stop had been

placed on my card as a number of unusual transactions had appeared...


Would these be transactions in the USA? I asked...




Jeez again.


I asked why 'A****' hadn't placed on record the fact that I told him I was going to the USA when I spoke to him on the 8th

January... The person in Customer Services didn't know.


Could I take the stop off the card? Said I...


Yes... said Customer Services... If you call the fraud department.


Can't you put me through? I asked...


No, they don't open until 9am... (Which, the customer services bod admitted, was a really stupid thing, as customer services

opens at 7am and a lot of the calls they handle are for the fraud department... so why don't they open at the same time? - Nice

to hear an Abbey employee bemoaning the all round stupidity of The Abbey...)


So I had to ring off and wait until 1am USA time to be able to speak to the fraud department at 9am UK time...


Call costs so far... Around $140...


1am came and I called the fraud department and, having gone through security questions again I put the record straight as to

the transactions I had made in the USA and that they were all to do with me. I questioned as to why I had been able to use

the card for 5 days without problems and the reply I got was that it was 'the system'... I also asked why no-one from The Abbey

had tried to call me BEFORE cutting me off to ascertain if the card usage was me and was told that it wasn't policy to call

the customer, it was down to the customer to chase up... I said that it was costing me a fortune to call them from the USA

and the woman I was speaking to told me to take it up with 'complaints' and cut me off...




So my 4 calls to the UK from the USA ended up costing me around $190... I have a print out of the hotel bill to prove this and

I will be requesting the repayment of this, from you. Why should I have to pay to sort out a problem of YOUR doing.




And so on the 17th January I return home... and on my home phone answerphone there is a message from 'R***' asking

me to call...




And there is NO chequebook waiting on my mat.






So I phone R*** at Milton Keynes.


The person I spoke to (and, for once, I didn't get his name) took all my details AGAIN... Made a note of my wrong address details,

my wrong birth date details... and said that I needed to go into a branch and sort out.


No I shouldn't, I pointed out. You should have got it right in the first place. Can R*** call me back?




But I got no phone call back... Should I have been surprised?


So I called again on the 18th January... I spoke to a 'L*****' - She took down all my details AGAIN... I asked if I could speak to R*** and was told that she was off sick and had been for a couple of days...


Should I have been told that yesterday when I asked her to call me?




Okay then L*****, I said, where are we as far as my complaint is concerned?

Well, she says... I need to make a lot of calls... phone the chequebook people, phone the branch, phone this, phone that... I need to

get back to you...


Can you call me back then? I enquired... more through hope than anything else.


Yes... I'll call you back.


Guess what happenned...




So here we are on the 21st January... I STILL have no chequebook... I have 2 people at Milton Keynes, L**** & R*** who

appear to be dealing with my case and yet don't have the courtesy to call me when I can speak to them... or don't call me back at all...

I am seriously out of pocket with regard to the phonecalls I had to make from the USA to get my card un-stopped...

And I also have the spectre, AGAIN, of being charged default charges by a number of credit cards I have to pay because they wont accept

debit card payments AND I DON'T HAVE A CHEQUEBOOK TO PAY THEM...

I have been trying to get a chequebook for around 7 months now and STILL nothing...

And I seem to have had my birthdate randomly changed to something it isn't... And, as I say, my birthdate has been the 11th September

all my life...


One thing that the Customer Services bod said to me when I called him from the USA about my stopped card was interesting...

He said that since The Abbey changed to a new computer system things have been happenning randomly with regard to addressess and

personal info...


And all I have to say about that is... How safe is that? Whats to say that it won't happen again in the future were I to finally find someone

able to sort out my problems?


At present I am on the cusp of closing my account and taking my money to a bank that actually cares about my welfare and doesn't keep

passing me from pillar to post.

I am of the thinking that all the default charges I get charged by my credit card companies because I cannot pay them by cheque should be

paid for by The Abbey. I should be paid back for all the USA calls I had to make... And I should be paid compensation for all the calls I've

had to make chasing things up... along with the stress and worry of thinking that my account might be compromised because my cheque

books, with my name, account number and sortcode, could be being sent to random addresses accross the UK...


I await SOMEONE sorting this out soon...

Or perhaps the courtesy of a call back... I mean, I have been promised at least 4 times, by various members of your

staff at Milton Keynes, that I will be called back by them... By 'L***'... 'J****'... L****'... & most

recently... 'L*****'... NONE of whom have called me back...



You're a shambles aren't you?

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Email 3: Sent 22 Jan 2008



And so my torture goes on.


I wrote a loooong email yesterday spelling out the joke my situation has been so far...

I would have perhaps expected a reply, or acknowledgement, or anything in fact, from

The Abbey in response to that email...


But nothing.


So, having left it most of the day I girded my loins and phoned Milton Keynes AGAIN.

This time I spoke to a 'L**'...


Once again I went through all my details, wrong address, wrong birthdate etc... and, having

verified who I was I asked to speak to R***.


She's not available.


So I had to deal with L**...


Once again I detailed all the agonies I have been through with the Abbey and L** couldn't be

more apologetic... She did at one point get in contact with 'L*****' who had promised to call

me back on the 18th and she apologised for not bothering to call me back.


Well thats some consolation.


I said to L** that I had received a letter from a 'R****** H**** - Head Of Complaints', which,

despite spelling mistakes ('Customer Repesentative'... Repesentative? Is that the same as

a Rep''r''esentative?) also contained NO 'complaints leaflet' as detailed in the letter...


Sums things up really.


I asked L** whether the 'I-refuse-to-talk-to-you' L****, or 'Never-available-to-speak-to'

R*** was my Complaints Handler and L** told me that no, neither of them were...



I was actually lost for words...


Since first bringing my complaint to the attention of Milton Keynes on the 2 January, I have

spoken to:


2/1 - L***

3/1 - J****

4/1 - L****

8/1 - A****

9/1 R*** tried to call me in the USA

14/1 - Customer Services

15/1 - Fraud Department

17/1 - Unknown

18/1 - L*****

21/1 - L**


NINE different people to whom I've had to explain my situation to each time.

And I don't include the various calls to Bombay trying to order a chequebook and the two visits

to my local branch in Leather Lane EC1 to try and order one over the counter.

And despite all this, and all the promises to call me back and get things sorted, each day goes by

with NO CHEQUEBOOK, NO COMPLAINT HANDLER... and certainly absolutely no satisfaction.

So thats around 7 months without a chequebook, and at least 2 months that you have been aware

of my wrong address (when I tried to order a chequebook over the counter at Leather Lane)


L** advised me that due to computer problems things like Data Corrections, instead of taking a couple

of days to sort out were currently taking TWENTY ONE DAYS...

Could you be any more inefficient?

She also said that she had notes that chequebooks were apparently at my branch to pick up...

(Not that anyone has ever written to me to tell me... You have? TO WHAT ADDRESS?)

But I said that I had made various calls to Bombay over the months and each time the person in Bombay

had said they would order a new chequebook AND CANCEL THE OLD ONE(S)... So my problem would

be that if I was to go to Leather Lane to collect a chequebook, Lord alone knows whether that chequebook

is a valid one, or one that Bombay has previously cancelled.


So, having spent 25 minutes on the phone I was losing the will to live... Liz said she would make calls and

call me back today... I told her I would take that with a HUGE pinch of salt as she would be the first person in

Milton Keynes to actually call me back when they said they would...


I await that call as I write this...

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Email 4: Sent 23 Jan 2008



So the 22 January arrives and, miracle upon miracle, L** phones me back at 10am...


This actually caught me by surprise as (other than R*** and her missed calls whilst

I was on holiday) she is the first person to ever call me back!


I feel blessed.


She advises me that she has been speaking to my local branch in Leather Lane EC1

and, if I go there and speak to a 'L****', or Assistant Manager 'N***' I WILL be able

to draw counter cheques on my cheque account to pay the various bills I need to pay

this month. She also tells me that she is investigating the whereabouts of my cheque

books and whether there are any at Leather Lane EC1 for me to collect (as I have been

told by 2 people in Milton Keynes in the past) and she would get back to me.


I visit the branch in Leather Lane during my lunchbreak and spend 15 minutes queueing

up to get access to my own money. I am finally served by L**** who is actually expecting

me! She tells me about how I shouldn't be able to draw counter cheques on a cheque

account (can't explain exactly why that should be Abbey policy) and also advises me that

in future I should transfer money from my cheque account to my savings account and then

draw counter cheques on that... I replied that the simplest answer would be for The Abbey

to supply me with a chequebook fullstop.




As I didn't have a list on me of all the people I need to have cheques made out to readily

available I asked Lynne to produce a cheque to pay just one of the bills I knew about. She

then advised me that 'The System' would charge me £10 for the priviledge of drawing a

counter cheque on my own money. This is not a charge that I had been advised about by

anyone at Milton Keynes and its fortunate that I have the funds to be able to pay this along

with the value of the cheque itself. L**** said that she would make arrangements to have

this charge repaid/refunded to me... 'I should think so...' I replied. We made arrangements

to meet up at lunchtime today, Wednesday 23rd, so I could get all my cheques done.

I asked L**** if she had any chequebooks at the branch for me... She said she can't remember

ever seeing any for me and, having checked, found nothing for me. So despite the fact that

Milton Keynes have advised me that they had record of at least 2 occasions that chequebooks

were sent to the branch, the branch have nio record of ever getting any.


Does The Abbey actually know ANYTHING about the whereabouts, or otherwise, of chequebooks?


It appears that they don't.


Oh, and whilst I was there I asked L**** to have a look at her system and see what address

she had for me...


You guessed it.


My old one in Surrey.


The day passed and I was still awaiting the call from L** that she promised... so, at around 1630

I called Milton Keynes again to get any news...


I spoke to yet another phone person there... 'T**'...


She still had my old address on the system but, amazingly, my birthdate was now apparently

correct... Someone had amended it back to what it should be, the 11th September, from what

they had recently, and wrongly, the 1st September.


This of course begs the question that if my birthdate can be corrected so quickly (relatively

speaking) why is it that other things, like addresses, can take 21 days to sort out? Or not

sorted out as my case seems to reflect.


I asked 'T**' if L** was available and apparently she wasn't (surprise surprise)... 'T**' also said she would

look into how things were progressing as far as my address change was concerned, and where or

when I was ever going to get a new chequebook and she said she would get back to me...


Its now 1125 the following day and I have had no call back from L** or T**...

(Or any of the other dozen or so people I have dealt with over the past 21 days I have been dealing with

Milton Keynes.)


I will be off out at 1200 lunchtime to waste more of my lunchtime queueing up at my local branch to

get cheques made out to pay my bills. The word 'exasperating' doesn't even begin to describe

my experiences...



Also, The Abbey, please note that the Financial Ombudsman have responded to my emails and I will be

taking up my case with them. I am also giving a 'Margaret Stone' from The Daily Mail permission to speak to

you on my behalf to investigate, publicise, embarass, and do whatever she deems necessary to assist me in

getting things sorted out.


I might suggest it might be a good idea that after 3 weeks you should have a complaints handler in overall

charge of my case by now in order to give to these organisations as a point of contact. It would also save

me a whole lot of wasted time having just one person to speak to instead of the dozen or so I've had so far.


The. Ball. Is. In. Your. Court.

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Email 5: Sent 24 Jan 2008



Round and round we go... where it stops nobodys knows...


So... January 23rd arrives... Its now 21 days since I first brought this complaint to the

attention of The Abbey in Milton Keynes and, as yet, I am still no closer to having it

sorted out...


Or getting a chequebook.


I had been promised a call back today by 'T**' or 'L**' in Milton Keynes...


So I waited.


And waited.


1200 came around and I had had no call... (well fancy that...) so I called Milton Keynes

again and spoke to a R***, to whom I went through my details again and, rather than

involving him as well as everyone else I'd spoken to (although I did feel sorry for him as

he'll probably now miss out as the only person in Milton Keynes who hasn't dealt with me)

I asked him to pass a message to T** and/or L** and remind them that I was expecting a



Off I went to my local branch of The Abbey to get my counter cheques done.


After 25 minutes of queuing at The Abbey (2 positions open during their busiest period, and

at one point one of the positions upped and went to lunch and took 10 mins to do a

changeover with a fellow member of staff... Meanwhile various other members of staff

wandered about busying themselves with papershuffling and queue-ignoring, including the

manager and assistant manager...) I was finally served by L****, who had dealt with me

yesterday. She then proceeded to take 20 minutes to produce 6 counter cheques, which

included a good 10 minutes of her liasing with the manager and assistant manager to see

if the automatic charge of £10 being applied to each and every cheque that was produced

could be stopped at source.


It couldn't.


So as well as my cheques, I also have to do without £60 in Abbey charges until they are

refunded... £10 each for 6 cheques... Never have I had such blatant extortion introduce itself

to me and shake my hand and thank me for ripping me off.


Good thing I haven't got an immediate need for that £60 then...


Back to work I went... 30 minutes late back from lunch. Good thing there are people able to

cover for me or I'd be charging The Abbey for my hourly rate by keeping me waiting so long

to access my own money.


Time ticked by.


1600 arrives and I had given up all hope of A** or L** calling...


So I phoned them. Yes... I had to chase The Abbey up AGAIN.


I eventually got through to L**.




She apologised for not calling me back.

(This is getting a bit of a habit... its like The Abbey are testing my patience to see

if I'll give up with my complaint, or my Indiana Sparky And The Quest For His Chequebook

adventure I'm on... but The Abbey have another thing coming... I'm VERY persistant.)


Returning to L**, she told me that she hadn't called me back because the bods in

Milton Keynes are not allowed to make outgoing calls between (something like) 11am-

2.30pm (Which makes a mockery of them being a call centre and customer assistance

point of contact if they can't actually make calls...) - I pointed out that it was now 4pm

so what happened to her calling me when she could, sometime between 2.30pm and



She was busy.




I mentioned to L** that apparently my birthdate was now correct on the system, so if that

could be changed so easily why couldn't my address details be changed. And then she

owned up that my birthdate details were actually ONLY correct on their COMPLAINTS



The main Abbey Customer Database was still, apparently, wrong.


Getting nowhere fast here are we?


She then told me she would put me on hold and contact 'Card Services' and see what was



A few minutes later she came back to me to tell me some news...


That, according to their records, I HAD ordered a chequebook on the 13th December...






They hadn't sent it to me because they had 2 addresses on their system.

L** is the first person to confirm to me what I already knew, that around 2 weeks before Christmas

I HAD ordered a chequebook with the branch in Leather Lane EC1. She is also the

first person to let me know that they did indeed have the information on their system that I was telling

the truth when I said I had attempted to order a chequebook...


And it was at this point the the whole sorry saga completed itself and became the viscious circle

scenario I kinda knew it would...


Let me type this out slowly so the whole ridiculous situation can be appreciated in all its glory.


I wasn't getting chequebooks sent to me at my new address.

I went into a branch on the 13th December to order one.

I was at that point told I had 2 addresses on the system.

(So this is why the chequebooks are not being sent to me.)

I then order a chequebook to be sent to the branch BECAUSE of the query about 2 addresses.

A chequebook is ordered.

But then not sent to me, or the branch because of the 2 address situation.

Which is the very reason why I ordered one at the branch in the first place.


The circle of incompetance is complete.


They wouldn't send me a chequebook to the branch because of the 2 addresses on their system

which was stopping them sending chequebooks to my address which is why I was ordering it at the



You really can't make it up could you?


I asked L** if she could tell me why The Abbey had made absolutely no attempt to contact me to

ascertain what was going on with my dual-address scenario and why no-one had bothered to tell

me, either at the time they were stopped from being send to me, or any time since I have been

dealing with Milton Keynes, what my correct address was so they could send them to me... I had

made a few attempts via the Bombay call centres to order chequebooks... Made an attempt on

the 22nd November at my local branch to order one, and now, a confirmed order on the 13th December

at my branch... But in ALL those attempts, NO-ONE had bothered to get back to me to tell me

they weren't being sent to me... NO-ONE had bothered to flag up the dual address situation...

And NO-ONE had tried to contact me to resolve the situation... Its basically all been down to me

to chase The Abbey nearly every day this year to try and sort this out...


She apologised that she couldn't tell me why...



Good customer service is an alien concept as far as The Abbey are concerned.

You really don't care do you?


It was at this point that my 25 minutes on the phone were beginning to grate with those that

I work for so I asked L** to investigate things further, and call me back in the morning.


Tick tock.

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And thats where I stand at the moment...


No closer to getting a chequebook than I was 2 months ago.


And very frustrated!


Now... I think I'd better go back into all those emails I just posted and anon the names to protect the 'innocent'...


Not that they are innocent of course!


More news as it happens...

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Wow. I thought I had a an issue with the Abbey but after reading that I dont think I do!!!!

Dosnt it get you mad, all these people who are supposedly 'trained' to do a job. All hiding behind that old line 'the system'. No one will ever stand up and take responsibility and we, the customer, to whom they owe thier jobs just get shoved to one side.


I wish you luck, get it sorted then throw the book at them. (Not your chequebook!:D )

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Wow. I thought I had a an issue with the Abbey but after reading that I dont think I do!!!!

Dosnt it get you mad, all these people who are supposedly 'trained' to do a job. All hiding behind that old line 'the system'. No one will ever stand up and take responsibility and we, the customer, to whom they owe thier jobs just get shoved to one side.


I wish you luck, get it sorted then throw the book at them. (Not your chequebook!:D )


The most annoying thing is that after nearly 3 weeks of complaining to Milton Keynes about my lack of chequebook The Abbey STILL haven't assigned a single Complaint Handler (their description) to my case so I have one single person/point of reference to speak to...


And, as you say, they all blame 'The System'...

What they all fail to realise is that 'The System' is a computer programme written by someone so there is always a HUMAN responible for any actions tht 'The System' takes...


By the way, the various people I have spoken to at The Abbey sy that a LOT of problems have cropped up since they changed to a new computer system, presumably since they came under the wing of Santander. Emails to Santander that I've sent have all gone unacknowledged and unanswered but from what I glean from the people at Milton keynes is that I am one of many many MANY people who have had their account details 'randomised' by the new system.

The Abbey are apprently having a major mangement pow-wow today about this computer system foul-up...


But, in the meantime... I'm still without a chequebook, which is all I really care about.

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I think that it is time to take this further, one of the official bodies, and the good thing is that Abbey have to pay for it too lol



Lula v Abbey - Settled

Lula v Abbey (2) - Settled

Lula v Abbey (3) - Stayed


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I think that it is time to take this further, one of the official bodies, and the good thing is that Abbey have to pay for it too lol


Hello Lula...


The Financial Ombudsman is aware of my case and has sent me a document to fill in...


Is that the 'Official Body' to whom you refer?

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yes those are the people and it costs Abbey about £200 or perhaps even more for each complaint to be dealt with. So their screw ups eventually cost them money :-)



Lula v Abbey - Settled

Lula v Abbey (2) - Settled

Lula v Abbey (3) - Stayed


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yes those are the people and it costs Abbey about £200 or perhaps even more for each complaint to be dealt with. So their screw ups eventually cost them money :-)


Its certainly going to cost them money...


They are already aware that I plan to charge them for all MY time I;ve had to spend sorting it out with them...


Charge them for all default fee's I've incurred on cards that I'm unable to pay because of no chequebook...


The calls from the USA to the UK...


The probability that because they have compromised my account by sending my chequebook, with all my account and sortcode info, to god-knows-where, that I will have to change my account with them (or move somewhere else) and all the time and trouble this will cause me...


And for the stress and strain of it all...

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I'm amazed you've not changed banks!


Oh I certainly will be...


After its all sorted.


I'm a determined type of person and I WILL get a result in my favour...


I'm actually making progress though...

I've now got a woman in Milton Keynes who phones me twice a day to tell me that nothings happenned so far...


Well at least she's calling me!

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Todays email to The Abbey:



January 24th...

22 days after I first spoke to Milton Keynes... And counting.

And my address details and birthdate details are still wrong.


And I still have no chequebook.


But progress is being made... I have L** at Milton Keynes calling me twice a day

to update me on my situation...


Which means, basically, she calls me to tell me that nothings changed.




But at least she's calling me! Unlike any of the other people at Milton Keynes who

promised to call me back and didn't... Finally, a person at Milton Keynes who knows

the meaning of Customer Service.


In her first call to me at 0950 she told me about the various 'Portals' on their computer

system that store customer information.

From what I recall theres the 'Customer Portal' which seems to be their database for

notes about their customers. This HAS been updated with all my correct address and

birthdate details, and it is to this that they refer when you call in to complain, or speak

to customer services...


But there is also something called the 'Servicing Portal' and this is the area where The

Abbey keep customer address and birthdate and Data Protection type info and this is the

portal that they refer to when sending correspondence and/or chequebooks (or is it..?

read on!) - L** tells me that this portal is STILL wrong as far as my details are concerned.

The thing is... as I have been telling everyone until I'm blue in the face, the reason I didn't

think there was a problem with things until I noticed that I wasn't getting chequebooks was

that my statements WERE coming to my new address... So how can the database (or

Portal) which contains my old/wrong address be able to send statements to my new address

when it has my old address stored in it...


This is a question that L** can't answer... And seems to be as baffled as me.


Anyhoo... Apparently I'm not the only person who is being given the run around by The Abbey

and there is a HUGE meeting of Abbey glass-tower-dwellers who have spotted a slight problem

being reported about their system... The results of this meeting will, I hope, be imparted to me

(if I'm deemed worthy) tomorrow...


With no other news to give me L** tells me she will call me later.


She does indeed call me later, at 1630 to tell me...


No change.



So now, as I type this, I await my morning phone call from her to give me some news...

Presumably theres no change but I'm tingling with anticipation...


Actually... I'm tingling with anticipation at some news I have to tell her about...

The fact that I checked my mini-statement at an Abbey cashpoint this morning and the

£60 I was charged for having 6 counter cheques produced for me on Wednesday has

NOT been refunded to me... (The previous £10 I was charged by The Abbey for making

out 1 counter cheque on the Tuesday was refunded within 24 hours...)


What a surprise.


I hope L** is ready for me...

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Leicesterlad, he could do I am sure, but why should he have to, the bank should deem it of paramount importance to look after their customers and get the basics right at the first attempt, this is a complete comedy of errors.


Oh, by the way


Up the Foxes ;)



Lula v Abbey - Settled

Lula v Abbey (2) - Settled

Lula v Abbey (3) - Stayed


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understood but if i was in the same situation which by the way i am so glad that i am not and i do sympathise but if i was aware that i could not pay because a company did not accept debit cards i would make damn sure that i wouldnt get any default charges by arranging another form of payment ie DD

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understood but if i was in the same situation which by the way i am so glad that i am not and i do sympathise but if i was aware that i could not pay because a company did not accept debit cards i would make damn sure that i wouldnt get any default charges by arranging another form of payment ie DD


Thing is, you only find out that HFC don't accept debit card payments until your account is in arrears when you try to pay them to STOP going in arrears!


By that time its too late!


And the point is, why should I have to set up a DD?

I have been asked by Credit Cards in the past if I want to set up a DD and I've always said no. I prefer being in control of my money and sometimes want to pay more than the minimum payment, which is what the DD would be.



All charges are fully attributable to my lack of a cheqbook for 7 months so will be charged back to The Abbey.


Talking of which... progress is being made with The Abbey...


And The BBC has been in touch... :-)


More on Monday!

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What a farce ......... as lula said a comedy of errors I am looking forward to the next instalment :)



Any typos spelling mistakes are due to leprechauns in my keyboard they move the letters around sometimes (amended just for Bookie)


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Ariston... And on... and on...


Friday 25th January...


I receive a call from L** in Milton Keynes, who, good to her word, has called me twice a day every day to keep me up to date with news...


And, finally, she has something to report to me...


The new address details I first let them know about in November 2006 are

finally correct on all their systems... Or portals, depending on how you wish to refer to them...


So it only took 15 months to get it right!


Apparently, my complaint will now escalate to the hands of 'C******', L**'s boss who will refer the case to a Complaints Handler to deal with compensation...


(Perhaps if my case had been referred to a single Complaints Handler in the first place so I had a single point of reference to refer to in Milton Keynes then things might have been sorted sooner...)


But, hey ho... who am I to advise The Abbey how to do their job properly?!!


L** now tells me she will order a normal AND an emergency chequebook for me. I said again that I would believe the whole thing was sorted (as far as getting a chequebook was concerned) when I had one sitting on my doormat on arrival home from work...


I also mentioned to her that I had yet to receive a £60 refund for the 6 counter cheques I had done for me by the Leather Lane branch on the Wednesday...

She said she'd investigate and get back to me in her afternoon call...


I had cause to visit the Leather Lane branch of The Abbey that lunchtime to pay in a cheque, and, as I was doing so, I caught hold of the Manager S**. He was aware of my shameful situation and promised to refund the £60 by the end of the day. He said he'd been speaking to L** in Milton Keynes and knew my case and he also said he'd investigate the whereabouts of my chequebooks and call me on my mobile.


'Don't waste any more of your time on this'... he said.


(Bearing in mind the amount of time The Abbey have wasted on my behalf over the past 7 months I couldn't help but laugh to myself at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation.)


S** duly called me at 1330 to say he'd actioned the refund and it would be in my account by the end of the day... He also said that he'd heard that the chequebooks had been ordered and would I like to collect them from his branch, or would I like him to forward them to my home address...


''Nooooooooo... Please don't send them to my house... I'll collect them from the branch...''


He said he'd let me know when they arrived.


I said to him that it surprised me that they were sending them to the branch as I had recalled being told in the past that The Abbey DON'T send chequebooks to branches... (This also goes against news I'd had from Milton Keynes, from a couple of the thousands of people I have spoken to there that they have record that at least two chequebooks had been sent there for me...).

S** said that he hadn't worked that long for The Abbey, but he'd been in banking for years and that sending chequebooks to a branch was not a problem he'd encountered previously.


He hasn't worked for The Abbey for long enough to get to know them then, as, when L** called me at 1630 I mentioned his assertion that chequebooks were being sent to the branch and she said NO, they don't send them to branches...


She said she had been trying to get hold of S** at the branch but he'd been busy with customers... To add to the complete madness of The Abbey, the staff at Milton Keynes cannot email their colleagues in The Abbey branches because they aren't allowed their email addresses!! They have to contact staff members by going through the Area Manager

and not directly. Have you ever heard of anything more inefficient?


Anyway... L** tells me that The Abbey 'Banking Centre' have told her that they are not sending a chequebook to the branch, BUT, the branch could supply ME with an emergency chequebook!!??




Is it any wonder that this whole sorry affair has carried on for so long when the right hand of The Abbey plainly doesn't even know it has a left hand, let alone what this left hand is doing?


L** told me she would investigate and also advised me that now my complaint was nearing completion (but not until I get a chequebook...) that a 'Customer Resolution Manager' would be assigned to my case...

(What ever happenned to the 'Complaints Handler' I was supposed to have assigned?!)


It this point my head was spinning, and, having spent another 30 or so minutes on the phone wasting my time I asked L** to find out what she could and get back to me on Monday...


Its now 1640 on Monday and I've had NO calls from L** today...


Oh dear.

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Maybe she cant ring you now because you are now in the care of said 'Customer Resolution Manager' who is proberbly sat 2 desks away from them but ar not allowed to communicate about anything relevant :rolleyes:

Any typos spelling mistakes are due to leprechauns in my keyboard they move the letters around sometimes (amended just for Bookie)


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I offer help and advice in good faith, based on my knowledge and experience. I am NOT a legal or financial expert. There are many CAG members and site team who are better qualified. Please do not make major decisions based on my advice alone.I do not give advice via P.M's. If anyone can correct my mistakes or improve on my advice, please do.

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No call from L** yesterday...


But today I get a call from a 'V****' who, apparently, wears three hats at The Abbey...


Shes part of the: 'Executive Media Complaints Team'

She's also a part of: 'Senior Customer Resolution'

But she prefers to be titled: 'Complaints Manager'


I firstly questioned the 'Media' part of her title and she said that she was responding to the fact that The Daily Mail had been in touch with them about my case...




Then we had a long phone call about the joke of my situation to which she responded that The Abbey had a lot of teething problems with their new system and, whilst they were currently ironing things out, situations like mine were not acceptable...


No poo sherlock!


She then confirmed again that a chequebook had been ordered (not that I've got it yet) and that she would phone me next Monday to take the next step as far as compensation is concerned... This phone call on Monday, she said, would also allow time for a chequebook to arrive with me!!


(I'm not holding my breath...)


More news as and when!

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