Tag Archives: santander

We never manufacture things any more…

A common refrain about the state of the world today is the economic emphasis on services rather than manufactured products – the cry that we don’t make ‘stuff’ anymore, we just import it all from low-cost countries and the only jobs are in shops or giving acupuncture to dogs with wealthy owners.

But take a look at the news about British car manufacturing in the Financial Times today. Production of cars and commerical vehicles has jumped to over 1.4m vehicles in 2010 – that’s up 28% on the year before.

But it’s still not like the good old days is it? The Rovers and British Leyland marques that dominated the world?

Well, the absolute peak of vehicle production in the UK was in 1970 when just over 2m units were produced. That’s right, just 2m. Not much more than today is it? And by 1980, car and commercial vehicle production in the UK had slumped to 1.3m units – less than today’s figures.

But they are all foreign brands, none of them are British anymore might seem the next response…

But those companies – like Nissan, Toyota, Honda, VW, GM, and Ford – are all employing local British workers to build their vehicles in Britain, so those companies are creating British jobs and investing in the industrial manufacturing heritage of the nation.

Who complains about Santander being one of the dominant high street banks today (and not British)? Or Green & Blacks chocolate being the dominant brand of organic confectionary (and not British)? Or that cup of (Indian) Tetley tea?

The world has certainly changed since the automotive industry was all about local design, local production, and local sales, but it can’t be said that Britain doesn’t build anything these days. Britain is still building and exporting, it’s just not always British brands that are exported from Britain.
Morris Oxford

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Santander please sort out your customer service

Santander, what’s going on? I have a poor experience every time I interact with you to discuss my business bank account.

This weekend I have a number of expenses where I need to pay cash. It comes to more than the £250 limit on ATM withdrawals. I have never needed to get more than that as cash before so a week ago I called the bank and asked how I can withdraw a larger amount.

They told me it’s no problem. Call us again one day before you need the money and we will authorise the local branch to give you the money. Great.

I called the call centre today. First they transferred me to the local branch, who did not have a clue what I was talking about. Then the local branch just cut me off the line – clearly not sure what to do so they just ditched me.

I called back. Then the call centre told me that business customers cannot get money from a branch – branches are for personal customers only.

Next, the branch asked me to detail what is the money for…? Since when did I need to get permission to spend my own money?

Eventually Santander refused to let me access my funds. I’ve had to setup a CHAPS transfer to another bank account. The only saving grace is that they did not charge a fee for the transfer.

Santander – what is the story? Can’t you have a consistent line? If you had given me the correct information in the first place I could have just transferred some money to my personal current account… but now you made me wait until a day before I need it.

Abbey HQ

So who offers the worst business banking in the UK?

The Co-operative bank business banking service has been under fire from the Radio 4 Money Box programme, with bank customers complaining that the system is difficult to login to, data is often lost, and sometimes information is just not available.

It sounds familiar to me, though my business banking service is with Abbey – which is now Santander and is about to be rebranded entirely so the old Abbey brand will vanish.

I’ve used Abbey for business banking for six years. One of the things anyone running any kind of business will know is that you need to be able to go back and check on transactions from some time ago. Accounts are often filed a year or more after transactions take place.

The old system Abbey offered was very good. I could enter a date range and export all my banking activity to a spreadsheet, then format it for my accountant.

When Santander took over, they implemented a new business banking system. Suddenly it was not possible to enter date ranges for statements. I could no longer export easily to Excel. In fact, I could not look back at transactions beyond the last 70 on my statement. So, it was not possible to look back more than a couple of months at most.

When I needed to start getting my accounts in order for annual filing with Companies House, I asked Abbey how I could get the information for the previous year. They told me they could send me the paper statements in the post and it would take at least six weeks to get them because they need to go to a microfiche archive.

PAPER STATEMENTS?

SIX WEEKS TO GET A STATEMENT?

MICROFICHE?

How do I get that on a spreadsheet? They told me I would need to retype everything myself. Why can’t I get it immediately? Because all the data has been archived. Why on earth are you using microfiche rather than a datacentre? We use it for all our archives…

What on earth is going on with Santander? I called several times about this issue and I was told that a lot of businesses are complaining about the same thing. Of course they are. Companies need to be able to go back and look at historic transactions. Don’t deliver a personal banking solution to businesses and expect us to be happy – you idiots.

I’m in the process of sorting out my company accounts for last year right now. As soon as I’m all set, I’m in the market for a new business bank account, but it won’t be with the Co-op or Santander.