In July I paid an American cheque for $24,000 into my Barclays current account, and four months on it has not cleared. I have repeatedly asked Barclays what is going on – at around £19,300 this is a huge amount of money – and have been getting endless excuses and conflicting information.
After refusing to leave the branch one day I was taken into the bank manager’s office and told by a manager that Barclays had “fallen out” with a holding bank and there was a delay on the cashing of US cheques dating back to March.
The latest information I have is that this holding bank has severed all communication with Barclays and there is a chance “I will never get this money”, as one Barclays representative told me. Barclays International team has been trying to contact the holding bank for three months, I am told.
I don’t understand how this can happen. I believe Barclays has a duty of care to be honest and transparent, and also to be able to cover funds if there is an internal problem. I am having to use my savings to keep my business afloat. How many other people are in this position?
Most readers would be similarly incredulous to be told by a branch manager that there was no immediate prospect of getting such a large sum credited to their account. Barclays HQ told us that what you had been told (more than once by bank staff) was not correct and that it has not experienced issues with US banks, or the supplier “holding” bank. It says that this was an isolated case that has only affected you.
Crucially, it has acted quickly to pay the lost money into your account. It has also offered an extra £517 to say sorry and to cover lost interest. It adds: “This was a genuine error where there was a delay in releasing funds, and falls short of the brilliant experience we want all our customers to have. We have apologised… and transferred the full amount to the customer and offered a gesture of goodwill to cover any inconvenience and confusion caused.”
The only question that remains is what caused the problem? We wonder whether money-laundering rules may have something to do with it. The bank can’t tell customers when they are investigating possible laundering as it is deemed to be tipping off.
Meanwhile, you might want to ask clients to pay you by bank transfer. It’s incredibly risky sending cheques for such large sums in the post. Much better to get the money sent electronically – with a small test payment at the start.
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