x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Keren Bobker helps StanChart client to resolve an odd case

A Standard Chartered client gets help from Keren Bobker resolve the odd case of account being abruptly closed.

I opened an account with Standard Chartered at the beginning of June, albeit with a great deal of difficulty. I never used this account but I came back from the UK to a letter dated August 28 stating, “Dear valued customer”, which proceeded to tell me that they had closed my account. Not that valued then! I was told that any outstanding balance would be paid to me by a cashier’s order to reach me shortly. As I heard or received nothing further I went into the bank on September 5. I saw the customer services guy who had opened the account but he could not tell me why it had been closed. He said I would have to wait for the cheque to arrive and that they would ring me when it did. I received a phone call on September 8 and went to the bank the following day. The cashier gave me the account-payee cheque, which was made out to my first name only! When I asked why, she stated that was the name of the account I had opened, which was not the case. When I told her I could not cash it as I now had no bank account and would like cash, she told me that was not possible. When I got to see a supervisor she was very abrupt, distinctly unhelpful and said she had to get permission from their head office to give me cash and this could take a few days. I will now have to make another trip to the bank to get my money, the money they obviously do not want. I find the lack of service and explanation quite appalling from what claims to be an international bank. J K A, Dubai

I contacted Standard Chartered and they stirred into action and J K A was able to collect the monies owed to her. Despite that, the bank telephoned her the same day, after she had collected the money, to ask how she wanted the cheque written out. I have asked for an explanation regarding both the closure of the bank account and a cheque being wrongly written out to someone’s first name only, but Standard Chartered has not issued a statement and when I spoke to them did not appear to think this a major issue. While banks will routinely close account that are inactive for six months or more, this account had been open for only three months before it was abruptly closed.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com