First Direct top customer service - not always jd87

#1
Not looking for advice here, just want to tell my story. When a company like First Direct are so often lauded for their good customer service, I think it's important to point out when they make mistakes. I'm sure lots of people here have had good experiences with them and I'm happy for you. I'm posting this on behalf a friend who I helped to apply for a First Direct current account.



After making the account application online, nothing was heard from First Direct for two weeks. Not even an automated email to confirm the application was received. We called them to check if everything was ok and they said it was being processed. When we asked what the hold up was and why we'd not even had an acknowledgement they refused to give any further details.



Eventually about another week later my friend received a letter saying they needed proof of ID and address. That's fair enough, he only recently registered on the electoral roll and his details don't show on it yet, so we expected extra checks. However reading the letter we found their security process to be outdated, arbitrary and onerous. Two recent, original documents are needed (eg. a passport and a bank statement), that's fine, fairly standard, but the documents must show full name. Many companies only print an initial (eg Mr J Bloggs) - this is not acceptable. Furthermore the documents must be certified by someone from a totally arbitrary list of occupations. A GP is acceptable, but any other medical doctor is not; an optician is ok, but not a veterinary surgeon.



We called First Direct to explain it would be difficult to meet the requirements and they said we only had a week to send the evidence back or the application would be cancelled as it is only valid for 30 days..! We explained we'd only just received the letter and they generously extended the deadline by a week.



My friend finally got documents certified and validated but they still weren't good enough. They refused to believe the bank statement sent wasn't an online print out (it was a copy sent by post by NatWest), and they wanted an official stamp by the certifier (their instructions had been followed exactly and there was no mention of stamps).



My friend has now cancelled the application and will be going elsewhere.

#2
I would suggest you lodge a complaint - due to their lack of contact and limited timescales on offer ask for the credit searches removed as you've had to look elsewhere.

#4
I think First Direct win their awards solely based on their telephone service. It's easy to get through to them, you don't have to press any buttons to choose the right option, or enter your account details, and they usually answer very quickly. If you only need straightforward banking and you're happy to ring them, you will probably think they're the bees' knees.



Away from the telephone service they are no better than any other bank, and positively antiquated in some respects.

#5



Not looking for advice here, just want to tell my story. When a company like First Direct are so often lauded for their good customer service, I think it's important to point out when they make mistakes. I'm sure lots of people here have had good experiences with them and I'm happy for you. I'm posting this on behalf a friend who I helped to apply for a First Direct current account.



After making the account application online, nothing was heard from First Direct for two weeks. Not even an automated email to confirm the application was received. We called them to check if everything was ok and they said it was being processed. When we asked what the hold up was and why we'd not even had an acknowledgement they refused to give any further details.



Eventually about another week later my friend received a letter saying they needed proof of ID and address. That's fair enough, he only recently registered on the electoral roll and his details don't show on it yet, so we expected extra checks. However reading the letter we found their security process to be outdated, arbitrary and onerous. Two recent, original documents are needed (eg. a passport and a bank statement), that's fine, fairly standard, but the documents must show full name. Many companies only print an initial (eg Mr J Bloggs) - this is not acceptable. Furthermore the documents must be certified by someone from a totally arbitrary list of occupations. A GP is acceptable, but any other medical doctor is not; an optician is ok, but not a veterinary surgeon.



We called First Direct to explain it would be difficult to meet the requirements and they said we only had a week to send the evidence back or the application would be cancelled as it is only valid for 30 days..! We explained we'd only just received the letter and they generously extended the deadline by a week.



My friend finally got documents certified and validated but they still weren't good enough. They refused to believe the bank statement sent wasn't an online print out (it was a copy sent by post by NatWest), and they wanted an official stamp by the certifier (their instructions had been followed exactly and there was no mention of stamps).



My friend has now cancelled the application and will be going elsewhere.
Originally posted by jd87


First Direct have a system for accepting documents which can be uploaded online without being certified, has your friend asked about this ?

#6



I think First Direct win their awards solely based on their telephone service. It's easy to get through to them, you don't have to press any buttons to choose the right option, or enter your account details, and they usually answer very quickly. If you only need straightforward banking and you're happy to ring them, you will probably think they're the bees' knees.



Away from the telephone service they are no better than any other bank, and positively antiquated in some respects.
Originally posted by EarthBoy


Yeah agreed. Can't believe how dated their online banking is.

#7
Not sure why anyone contemplating FD as a long term bank account wouldn't just go with HSBC Advance instead. The only different seems to be a few extra 'Press 1 for this, press 2 for this' when calling.



Other than that, HSBC Advance offers the same regular saver, UK call centre, similar banking app, better internet banking, branches etc.

#8



First Direct have a system for accepting documents which can be uploaded online without being certified, has your friend asked about this ?
Originally posted by meer53


Why would any customer, especially a new one, ask for this? If FD are as wonderful as so many of those so-called surveys claim, surely they would tell their customers and prospects of such a service?



Are you actually certain that this system exists? It sounds rather bizarre that stringent certification requirements apply normally, yet are not required it you upload documents?

#9



Other than that, HSBC Advance offers the same regular saver, UK call centre, similar banking app, better internet banking, branches etc.
Originally posted by TheEffect


HSBC RS is max £250 a month. Advance customers are required to deposit at least £1,750 a month. My branch in town has just been closed - doesn't matter to me as I rarely ever need a Branch. HSBC have only recently started offering switching incentives, FD had it for years. Just a few reasons why some people would prefer FD over HSBC Advance. Neither accounts would be my first choice.

#10



Furthermore the documents must be certified by someone from a totally arbitrary list of occupations. A GP is acceptable, but any other medical doctor is not; an optician is ok, but not a veterinary surgeon.
Originally posted by jd87


I would love to see their justification of what is an acceptable occupation. Here a fairly arbitrary list, and it's the government list of who is able to countersign your passport photo.

accountant
airline pilot
articled clerk of a limited company
assurance agent of recognised company
bank/building society official
barrister
chairman/director of limited company
chiropodist
commissioner for oaths
councillor, eg local or county
civil servant (permanent)
dentist
director/manager/personnel officer of a VAT-registered company
engineer - with professional qualifications
financial services intermediary, eg a stockbroker or insurance broker
fire service official
funeral director
insurance agent (full time) of a recognised company
journalist
Justice of the Peace
legal secretary - fellow or associate member of the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs
licensee of public house
local government officer
manager/personnel officer of a limited company
member, associate or fellow of a professional body
Member of Parliament
Merchant Navy officer
minister of a recognised religion - including Christian Science
nurse - RGN or RMN
officer of the armed services
optician
paralegal - certified paralegal, qualified paralegal or associate member of the Institute of Paralegals
person with honours, eg an OBE or MBE
pharmacist
photographer - professional
police officer
Post Office official
president/secretary of a recognised organisation
Salvation Army officer
social worker
solicitor
surveyor
teacher, lecturer
trade union officer
travel agent - qualified
valuer or auctioneer - fellows and associate members of the incorporated society
Warrant Officers and Chief Petty Officers
It specifically says it CANNOT be a doctor who doesn't know you personally, but as you can see (ho ho) optician is OK. So this is the exact opposite of first direct's position on what constitutes a "reliable" occupation.





Of course, it's all total bollocks. I especially enjoyed the Person with OBE. Because so many of them are of SUCH high standing in society.

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