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Barclays Blocked ‘Fraudulent’ Cheques, but Where’s the Money Gone?

January 29, 2015

The Guardian – A customer of Barclays is stunned to find out her deposited cheques were not appearing in her Barclays account. The report continues as this customer is stunned to find out Barclays has blocked her cheques as a result of fraud. But that doesn’t stop the woman and her sister-in-law from getting back what is rightfully hers.

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My sister-in-law recently returned to live in the UK after 33 years in the US, and is living with me and my wife until her property sale is completed.

She arrived with three cheques – two of which were paid into a long-standing Barclays joint savings account she holds with my wife, for $10,000 (£6,617 and $387 (£256). The other for $6,700 (£4,433) was paid into a newly-opened current account. After chasing as to why the cheques had not appeared in the accounts, we were told by a very abrupt lady that it was because the cheques were “fraudulent”. She could offer no other information or details. Two hours at the Nuneaton branch was no more help, either. The fraud department has been equally useless.

Our most recent contact has been with the complaints department, which now says it cannot find any proof of the cheques being paid in at all. We have spent hours trying to find out what has happened to her money, but to no avail. Can you help? PS, Nuneaton

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Barclays seems to be having a few problems in this area – Money ran a similar story just before Christmas – and after investigating, it has held up its hands and revealed that one account was closed “in error”. The banks all live in fear of contravening the onerous money laundering rules, and this may have led to the problems you experienced.

The silence you encountered on the subject suggests this is probably the case. Staff are not allowed to explain what is happening in case they “tip-off” potential money launderers.

Why they picked on you, given the relatively small sums involved, remains unclear.

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“It is evident that on this occasion we have failed to meet the expectations our customer should expect to receive from Barclays. We have offered our sincere apologies for the inconvenience and frustration this matter has caused, and for the time taken to resolve it. Therefore, we have offered £500 as a gesture of goodwill,” says a spokesman.

The bank has reopened the account and the balances are now paid in. It has paid them at the best possible exchange rate plus 8% interest to cover the time that you were without the funds.

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