Small business complains about customer service received from bank

Banking SME Distress and inconvenience Up to £100

A company's director got in touch after they experienced bad customer service from their bank, which caused some inconvenience to their operations. 

What happened

The director of M Limited made an appointment with its bank to discuss getting additional finance for the company.

The director waited in the branch for two hours, but the relationship manager didn’t turn up. The relationship manager called the director later that day and rescheduled the appointment for the next day. This meant that the director had to move a meeting with one of the company’s suppliers.  

The bank accepted that its service was below expectation and acknowledged the inconvenience this matter caused to the company. The bank offered compensation of £75. M Limited wanted a much higher amount, saying that the matter caused considerable distress and inconvenience to its director. It was claiming for a loss based on its director’s hourly wages.

What we said 

The relationship manager apologised for missing the appointment, which he said was due to some personal circumstances. The bank acknowledged it ought to have cancelled the meeting in advance.

In this instance, we concluded there was no direct financial or consequential loss, but we did think the bank’s actions had impacted M Limited. As the complaint was brought by a limited company, we looked at the impact to that entity (as opposed to the impact to the individuals working for it).

We acknowledged that this matter caused some frustration for the director – but we couldn’t award to her personally. Looking at the impact the bank’s action had on M Limited, we thought that while it hadn’t been ‘distressed’, it had been inconvenienced. Some time that could have been spent on the company’s operations had been wasted, and it took further time to rearrange the appointment with the supplier.

We also acknowledged that occasionally things do go wrong, and companies would expect to deal with some inconvenience as part of their day to day operations. So we didn’t think it was fair for the bank to cover the director’s wages.

We concluded that the impact to the company in this instance was only minor as the appointment went ahead the next day so there was only a short delay caused. There was no suggestion that there was any knock-on effect with the supplier so the inconvenience to the company was really just the time wasted and then spent on reorganising things. We thought the level of impact would largely have been put right by the apology – as such the bank’s offer to pay £75 was fair.