domenica 18 agosto 2013

How Barclays cheats customers on foreign currency payments.

First of all, I want to share that I am writing just because Barclays rubbed me almost 300 £ in only one transaction. Not so bad for a bank. So, probably you can believe me. I take all the responsibilities for what I am going to say. We are talking about one of the most influential and powerful British banks.  So I have decided to write a formal complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service and to share everything in this blog. Banks are ruining our lives and we need a revolution. If not, who protects vulnerable people?

1) I transferred an amount of money in Euro currency from an Italian bank account (Euro) to a Barclays' one in UK (Sterling) using Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA);

2) In order to know the exchange rate before doing the bank transfer,  I checked the Barclays's Terms and Conditions. At point 6.11 they stated that Barclays reference exchange rates are available on their website (source "Exchange rates and charges on foreign currency payments. 6.11 If you ask us to make a payment in a foreign currency, and the payment is in euro or another EEA currency, or we receive a payment into your account in euro or another EEA currency, we will use our reference exchange rate for that currency. Our reference exchange rates are available on our website, in our branches and through telephone and/or online banking. If there are any additional charges, we will set them out in our charges lealets or tell you what they are when you ask us to make the payment.");

3) Following that, I visited Barclays' website at the page about Exchange rates (  ) where they advertised that Exchange rate between Sterling and Euro was 1.1623 at 09/08/13. As they had stated in their Terms and Conditions that Barclays reference exchange rates were available on their website I thought that figures were my real exchange rate!;

4) Only after I received the bank transfer on the Barclays' bank account, I realized that they had advertised the mid-market rates and not the Barclays reference exchange rates. So they applied an exchange rate of 1.1962 and not 1.1623;

5) I wrote immediately a formal complaint. Ian Tottey, Customer Relations Manager, replied in a final letter that "Also, we do not publish our personal transaction exchange rates and only show indicative rates for corporate customer’s this may have been the web site you were looking at. This clearly states the rates are indicative and should not be used for trading purposes. I have provided the web link below. ";

7) I claim a violation of the actual law because Barclays states at 6.11 Terms and Condition that their reference exchange rates are available on their website but this is not true as they advertise the mid-market rates. I believe that from the point of view of any customer it is not clear that the exchange rates advertised are only indicative as they state that the exchange rates are available on their website. This is also in breach of my contract as laid down by the law. In my opinion point 6.11 of their Terms and Condition is a case of deceptive advertising (where they state that "reference exchange  rates are available on their website") with  the potential to persuade people into commercial transactions that they might otherwise avoid. 

8) Following recent news, Barclays is in trouble as revealed plans to plug up a £12.8bn shortfall identified by the City watchdog through an issue of £5.8bn-worth of new shares. Could it be the reason why Barclays rubbed me almost 300 £ in only one transaction? Think about how many emigrants working in UK do foreign currency many transactions.. 


Exchange rates are based on a published spot rate, which acts as a guide for Banks and Bureaux to set their own exchange rates with a margin either side. The size of this margin varies from one institution to another and depends upon individual policy. If you requested the funds to be sent in Euros then you would have to check what exchange rate is being offered by the party who will be carrying out the exchange to establish whether it is favourable for you. You can request that the funds be exchanged into Pounds Sterling before they are sent. This way you are guaranteed to obtain the exchange rate you are quoted by the sending bank at that time.

Mr. Alberto Sciretti,
Cambridge, 18/08/2013

Nessun commento: