Santander won't pay me my interest

admin
7 June 2012

Q

For the past 10 years I've had a cash ISA with Alliance & Leicester, contributing around £2,000 to this each tax year. As the interest rate is set at 3.7% I am usually paid around £800 interest and the balance is now £23,000.I chose this account as I wanted one I could operate by post so I wouldn't have to waste time going into the branch. Therefore my only contact with the provider, now Santander, is through the letter I get once a year telling me how much interest has been paid.Last summer, I realised I hadn't received anything for a while, so I went into a branch to query this. To my horror, I was told the account had been made dormant and no interest had been paid for two years. This was because the bank had tried to contact me the previous year and failed. Apparently, it sent a letter to my house but as there was no record of me receiving this the account was blocked.I was really shocked by this as it's quite a lot of money to lose and when I asked why someone hadn't called me I was told it was my fault for not going into the bank sooner. To top it off, the staff in my branch were very unhelpful and wouldn't arrange a meeting for me with the bank manager.Now I'm stuck as I've missed out on interest for two years on the account, which should be around £2,000. This is a lot of money to me and I'm at a loss as to how I'll be able to get it back.
From
Ann Clarke, Benfleet

A

Losing any amount of money is annoying and a sum of £2,000 is cause for concern so we got in touch with Santander to find out where it was. It said the reason interest wasn't paid during 2009 and 2010 was because the account "went into dormancy as it appeared not to have been transacted on between March 2009 and June 2011".

Because of this a block was placed on the account and no interest was paid, which it says is outlined in the terms and conditions.

However, this doesn't explain why Ann wasn't told sooner, or why the staff were so unhelpful. Santander admits communication was the problem.

Someone should have called Ann, or sent through another letter, and the account shouldn't have been changed without confirmation from her first. Santander has now apologised to her and returned the lost interest. "We have since changed our processes so we do write to customers to inform them if a block is placed on their account," Jonathan Akerman, spokesperson for Santander, confirmed.