Debit card delivery problems

A few weeks before leaving the country for a three month holiday I got a letter telling me I’d get a new debit card soon. Obviously I didn’t want it to be delivered in my absence so I went to the branch and told them that I didn’t want a new card to be sent out, and that I would re-order a card when I was back. The staff member did some typing away on the computer. I was assured by the staff member that no card would be delivered whilst I was away.

visa debit card fail

On returning from holiday I found that a new debit card had been delivered. I tried it and found that the card didn’t work. They had posted me the card and it was cancelled by the time I got home.

I went to the branch and waited patiently in branch for 20 minutes without being acknowledged or being told there would be a wait, whilst the customer service guy dealt with another customer.

When he finally served me he said that the card could not be re-activated. He said a replacement card would be ordered the next day and delivered to branch as I’d asked. I’ve had cards delivered to this branch many times before so I didn’t expect any problems.

A few days later a delivery man called at my flat, and gave me a letter. Inside was a NatWest debit card. I’d asked for it to be delivered to the branch, but here was a debit card arriving at my door.

I phoned the card activation line and they activated my card.

I went to the cash machine, put my card in, and typed in the PIN number. I got a message saying the card had not been activated and was now cancelled.

How can this be – I just activated it!

I phoned their customer care line and told them what had happened. The lady was very polite but seemed a little confused as the number of the card in my hand did not match the number on her computer. I asked her if she could see my card on the system. She could, but it was not the latest card!

After a bit of talking we figured out what had happened. The guy in my local branch had in fact ordered two cards for me at the same time. The first had gone to my home address, and the second was going to be sent to the branch.

When I called up the card activation line the lady activated the latest card (the one going to the branch, which I had not yet received). This was a reasonable thing for her to do as she wouldn’t expect there to have been two cards ordered for me. So the card which arrived at my home had not been activated which is why it got cancelled when I put it in the machine.

I said I was worried as their security system of activating the card when it arrives in the customers hand had not worked. Because of the mistake made by the bank employee my card was now active, but still in the post.

She said she would investigate and someone would call me back in the week. I gave her my mobile number as I was going to be out at work all week.

A few days later when I got home I saw a message on my home answering machine. It was someone from NatWest. Despite me telling her to phone me on my mobile she had called me back on my home phone. The message from the lady said that she would call me back tomorrow and she left a reference number.

I called the number and had to wait about 10 minutes to get through. I gave my reference number. The man who answered it gave me what information he could. He said he would add a note to the file telling the lady to call me back on my mobile.

The next day I arrived home and found another message on my answering machine. The lady had called me back on my home phone. It seems that telling them to call you back on your mobile is of no use!

I didn’t bother calling back this time. I decided I’d just wait until the weekend and see if my card turned up in the branch. During the week I got another message on my home phone telling me the card was on its way to the branch.

At the weekend I went to the branch, and finally was presented with a working debit card :)

Here’s a summary of what went wrong.

  • They sent me a card whilst I was out of the country despite them assuring me that they wouldn’t send one.
  • On returning from holiday I asked for a replacement card to be ordered and sent to the branch. They ordered two cards for me. One sent to my home and one to the branch.
  • They activated the wrong card when I called their card activation line.
  • I was called back on my home phone when I’d asked to be called on my mobile.
  • When I called them back and told them again to call me on my mobile, they again called me on my home phone.

NatWest got there in the end (the staff were always polite and helpful with when ever I dealt with them), but there were far too many little human, and procedural errors along the way. I’m still a customer though!

One Comment on “Debit card delivery problems”

  1. [ed: I don’t usually edit comments (I generally approve as-is). But in this case I’ve had to edit the comment substantially to tone it down, and to make it a bit clearer. I wanted to include the good points made, but couldn’t publish it in the form submitted. I have also made some minor edits to the post as a result of this comment. Apologies Charlotte – hope this still reflects what you were saying.]

    Problems like this often occur at companies with long human chains (which automatically lead to inefficiency, as you seem to have been experiencing a lot of here!).

    On the first ‘summary point’:
    If your card had already been ‘sent’ out on an automatic system, then there is nothing that an employee of the bank can do to stop that automated system. The best they can do is cancel your card, so you receive it but you just chuck it away, essentially leaving you in the same situation as if they’d not sent you one in the first place. Personally, I don’t see how this is an issue for you. Just snap it a few times and chuck it away.

    Secondly, I have never, ever known any one to want a card sent to their local branch, this is not normal practice and can see why someone made a simple mistake whilst in the process. When calling any sort of ‘card activation line’ (purely because big companies often make mistakes) you should always make sure that you are talking about the same card (whether you know about another one or not) by stating the number on the front of the card. However, this is mainly the bank’s responsibility.

    If I were you, after this whole fiasco, I would’ve asked for compensation. I had a similar thing happen to me years back and got a tenner put in my account because I told them I wanted compensating for my stress and loss of time.

    On being called on your home phone when you asked to be called on your mobile:
    These big companies have, like I said, endless human chains to the point where communication is like Chinese whispers. This is why WE the people need to take back the banks and make them work for us again. Sorry to hear that you have had as many problems with this bank as I have dude.

    If I were you, forget banks altogether. :)

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