Barclays customer who tried to transfer foreign currency left waiting for weeks

Why wouldn’t Barclays let me close my account and move £38,000? Customer left waiting EIGHT weeks to transfer foreign currency

  • Robert Cooper closed his main Barclays current account in 2017
  • Last December, he tried to close three foreign currency accounts and move cash
  • For eight weeks a string of bank employees told him he was unable to
  • He finally received cheques for the more than £38,000 after This is Money stepped in 

A Barclays customer who tried to transfer more than £38,000 held in foreign currency accounts and close them down was left waiting two months after a string of staff said he couldn’t move his money.

Robert Cooper – not his real name – from London, had held three foreign currency accounts with Barclays for several years but wanted to transfer the money to NatWest in December after his local branch closed. 

He had already moved his main current account to NatWest.

Frustration: Robert Cooper (not his real name) contacted This is Money after he was unable to withdraw money from Barclays foreign currency accounts for 8 weeks despite his best efforts

But despite his best efforts, for eight weeks Barclays were seemingly unable to transfer the £38,296 he held in the dollar, euro and Swiss franc accounts to NatWest, until This is Money raised his case with the bank at the start of February.

He finally received three banker’s draft cheques last Tuesday.

Mr Cooper, who earned the money from consultancy fees, had initially called Barclays on 16 December asking them to close the accounts and move money into euro, dollar and Swiss franc accounts he held with NatWest. 

Barclays told him they couldn’t do that over the phone, and he needed to visit a branch with proof of identity.

He visited his closest branch, in Knightsbridge, West London, but was told because the accounts were linked to the bank account he had closed in 2017 they were unable to close the accounts and move the money.

Mr Cooper sent a letter to Barclays’ servicing centre in Leicester on 19 December, which he was asked to do, which included the details of all the accounts he wanted to move money to and from, and asked Barclays to complete the transactions by New Year’s Eve.

However, he said his transfer request was ignored.

Over the course of January, Mr Cooper made 10 calls or emails to Barclays in an attempt to move the money, but none of these resulted in any progress in his case. 

In one phone call with a Barclays employee on 21 January, the bank said it would send three banker’s drafts cheques which would aim to arrive on 27 January.

However, he received nothing, and he was told on the day they were due to arrive that nothing was being done to help him move his money from the accounts.

When he contacted This is Money on 30 January, he said: ‘How long will it take for me to get access to the funds in my Barclays current accounts? 

‘This is the sort of treatment I would expect if I had fallen for a boiler room scam, surely not from Barclays.’

This is Money raised Mr Cooper’s case with Barclays on 3 February, and he told us eight days later three banker’s draft cheques had arrived for him to pay the money into his NatWest foreign currency accounts.

Barclays said it apologised for what had happened and would be offering Mr Cooper a payment for the inconvenience which also included interest.

The bank said in a statement: ‘We value customer loyalty and it is disappointing to hear that on this occasion we have failed to meet the high standards that our customers expect from us, and for this we are truly sorry. 

‘We have now completed this request and offered Mr Cooper our apologies and a gesture of goodwill to recognise the inconvenience this has caused.’

He told This is Money: ‘I hope all my loose ends with Barclays are now tidied up. 

‘I am very grateful to you for giving Barclays a kick up the backside, I suspect that without your intervention I would have been tilting at windmills for a long time.’

He told us he had yet to see whether his cheques had cleared, and so did not know whether he would be stung by Barclays turning the money from foreign currency back into sterling and then back into dollars, euros or Swiss francs and charge him extra commission.

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