One in five bank complaints not handled satisfactorily

ONE in five complaints about current accounts are not dealt with satisfactorily by banks, say consumers.

Around a quarter of UK banking customers – some two million people – have had problems with their bank, with almost a third having to make a complaint more than once before it was resolved, according to a Which? report.

Royal Bank of Scotland customers were the most likely to experience bad customer service, the Which? survey found, while 28 per cent of RBS and 29 per cent of Bank of Scotland customers had suffered a problem with their accounts.

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Internet bank First Direct performed best, Which? said, with fewer than one in ten customers saying they had experienced an issue relating to its current accounts.

“There’s been a lot to complain about in banking over the past few years and to win back our trust they must sort out their complaints handling,” said Which? executive director Richard Lloyd. “When things go wrong it is critical that banks act swiftly and fairly to deal with the problem, identify what caused it and make sure it’s not ­repeated.

“The way a bank deals with complaints says a lot about the culture of the organisation. Some banks are getting this right but they all need to do more to put their customers first.”

Ten per cent of Bank of Scotland’s complaints related to attempts to sell inappropriate products.

“No-one took ownership of my problem,” one Bank of Scotland customer told Which?. “If it was a sale, they would be scrambling over each other to take care of that stuff.”

But just over a third of people who had a problem with their bank failed to make a formal complaint.