As regular readers know, in August 2012 I was declared bankrupt. No fun, but well, I’m not going to rehash old ground on that score.
In February 2013, I opened a basic current account with Barclays, having explained my ongoing bankruptcy and telling them that as time went on, I would want/hope/expect to be able to rebuild my credit score etc. with Barclays. I was told that was no problem, that once the bankruptcy was discharged (which happened in August 2013, fact fans) I could start to rebuild, and could regularly check whether my account was suitable for an upgrade to a ‘proper’ (my word, not theirs) current account, with overdraft facility etc., and continue to rebuild my fiscal profile.
I’ve done that, and always been declined. Frustrating, but I kind-of understand why, with it being on the record, and the changing risk-profiles etc.
Three weeks ago – after three and a half years with Barclays, still on the basic account – I tried again, and was automatically declined, the classic “computer says no”, but decided to take it further. Spoke to a ‘lending manager’, who went through an appeal process and promised I’d be called back in the next 48 hours. Nothing for two weeks.
So last week, I went in again, having made an appointment to see the manager. I ended up dealing with an assistant manager at the branch, and he let slip that Barclays have a “six years from discharge” rule, so that I have no chance of a ‘proper’ current account until 2019. I will automatically be declined until that time – something that no-one at Barclays has mentioned at any time until last week. Even that ‘lending manager’ didn’t mention it, let alone the people I’ve seen before each time I’ve done this process.
I think it’s pretty shocking (and pretty cuntish – so absolutely standard for Barclays) to have a policy in place that makes no recognition of a customer’s good standing, lack of debt etc. for seven years (one year of the bankruptcy, and six after discharge) before even being considered.
It’s worth noting that I’m not actually looking for any credit – I’d like to be *able* to have an overdraft, but I don’t actually want one (if that makes sense) I’ve offered several solutions, including monthly or quarterly account reviews where I go into branch, and would be happy to do this. But Barclays simply say “Nope. Not happening”
I wouldn’t mind as much if Barclays had been honest at any point, and said “You can have a basic account, but no chance of anything else“. I’d be OK with that. I wouldn’t necessarily have gone with them, but I’d have understood their process. Instead, it’s been three-and-a-half years of being lied to, of making pointless appointments to go in and see if the account is ready to be upgraded, and now feels more like they’re just doing it to take the piss and have a laugh at my expense.
I’ve complained formally to Barclays, which should be entertaining. (I was promised a callback for last Tuesday which still hasn’t happened, so I’m not holding out any expectations of professionalism or competence from them) I’m waiting to see what happens with that, but I expect there to be no resolution, at which point it’ll go further and end up with the Financial Ombudsman. Again, entertaining.
But I’m also taking it up with a few other places – including consumer-rights places, and Advertising Standards, as Barclays keep on bleating on about how they’re so great, so fair, so “future of banking”. When really, it turns out that (unsurprisingly) they’re just lying cunts who couldn’t give a rat’s fuck about people.