Virgin Money made my £399k savings transfer vanish


On September 9, I transferred £399,000 from my Santander savings account to open a one-year bond with Virgin Money. But the funds have not arrived.

Santander keeps saying it’s waiting for Virgin to get back to it after making a payment recall request, and Virgin says it doesn’t have the funds.

It is every penny my elderly father and I have. It was meant to give me and my three children a cushion and help with a house purchase.

I am a single parent and utterly appalled at the way I have been treated.

R. B., Glasgow.

Life savings: A reader was left terrified after horrified after Virgin Money managed to lose their entire £399,000 savings

Sally Hamilton replies: I can only imagine the ghastly sinking feeling you must have felt when your £399,000 savings pot vanished.

The situation was made worse because you did not receive proper reassurance regarding its whereabouts. 

With banking scams rife, you couldn’t be sure that your money hadn’t been intercepted by thieves. Sleepless nights weren’t the half of it.

The game of ping-pong that ensued between Santander and Virgin Money about the location of your missing cash pushed you into the depths of despair.

You even sought the advice of a solicitor.

When you contacted me for help, you explained how you suffer from depression and that the worry over the incident had affected your mental wellbeing as each day passed without any resolution.

I decided to try to seek the reassurance you needed by first contacting Santander, since it was the sender of the funds.

The bank was adamant it was Virgin I needed to chase for an answer.

This I did and, lo and behold, the very next day, Virgin confirmed that it had now located your missing money.

It quickly credited it to your savings bond account and finally put you out of your misery.

Santander told me it had made the transaction correctly on the day that you had requested it.

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When you reported that it had not arrived at its destination, Santander asked Virgin to investigate its whereabouts on four occasions.

Following my involvement, and nine days after you first chased the missing money, Virgin finally said it had discovered the funds and confirmed the startling fact that the money had been received on the same day that you had transferred it.

A Virgin Money spokesman says: ‘We’re very sorry for the worry caused. The payment received from Santander was not initially recognised by our payment systems as a savings deposit and, as a result, it took longer than usual to process.

‘We are working closely with Santander to determine why this was and to ensure it does not happen again.’

I felt this apology was not enough, considering the distress and worry you went through.

I hate to think what might have happened if you had been transferring that money for something more urgent than a best-buy savings bond — a deposit on a house, for instance.

Such a transaction could have easily fallen through if not made in good time.

Virgin said it would consider compensation but added that this process could take up to eight weeks. I was flabbergasted.

In the end it came back in about half that time — with an offer of a measly £250.

In my experience, a minor inconvenience would result in that level of recompense, whereas you feared you’d lost your life savings, which is hardly a trivial matter.

Sometimes the only way to encourage providers to improve their systems and customer services when something has gone wrong is if they feel it in their own pockets.

I asked Virgin to reconsider.

It ruminated for a couple more days and then agreed to also reimburse your £390 legal costs since you had recruited the help of a solicitor.

I hope Virgin has learnt a lesson that communication is key to keeping a customer happy.

As for customers in a similar situation, when making a large transfer I would suggest taking a belt-and-braces approach, such as taking screenshots or photos of each stage of the transfer process which can be presented to the bank should something go wrong.

As an aside for all savers, it can be risky keeping large sums with a single banking organisation.

If a bank gets into trouble, balances are protected only up to £85,000 per institution, so spreading your money around different providers can be a more sensible step.

Currys team DIDN’T ‘knowhow’ – now I want refund 

In July 2019, I took my HP laptop to be repaired at a Leicester branch of Currys. I paid £60 for the repair service by its ‘Team Knowhow’, which promises to refund you if a problem cannot be fixed.

The technicians could not fix the laptop as they could not obtain the replacement parts, so I requested my money back.

I understood the pandemic made life difficult for companies and I took that into account.

After phoning and sending numerous letters and emails, I still did not get my refund. It is now more than three years since I made the payment.

I suspect my time, paper, ink and stamps have overtaken the value of the £60 refund, but I need to make a stand.

M. W., Lutterworth, Leics.

Sally Hamilton replies: I contacted Currys on your behalf and it told me that the only route you hadn’t used to get your money back — visiting the store where the repair was attempted — was also the only way to obtain your refund.

While this was mentioned in a letter you received explaining why the repair could not be completed, you believed your £60 would be credited automatically once you’d picked up your device.

I’m not clear why this could not have been explained to you during the numerous subsequent occasions you contacted the company, not least when you collected the laptop from the store in person.

How easy it would have been to sort out the refund there and then.

A Currys spokesman says: ‘We are very sorry for the length of time it took to issue M. W.’s refund. We have apologised to her for the inconvenience.’

It has paid you the £60 refund and given you an extra £60 as a goodwill gesture, too.

Straight to the point 

I received a letter from the DWP in August saying they owed my late wife, who died in February, £172.65. I have completed all of the paperwork but I have not heard anything back.

D. C., via email.

The DWP has apologised for the delay and has since paid the outstanding amount. It has called you to apologise personally.

*** 

My BT broadband in my home office suddenly crashed to between 1 and 3 Mbps and my landline cut off. 

BT originally said it is an external fault and would be fixed within 48 hours, but it has since pushed this back by five days. I am struggling to work and cannot be disconnected for that long.

R. L., Barnet, London.

BT arranged for an engineer to come within the original 48-hour timeframe in order to fix the external fault. Your broadband and landline are now back up and running.

*** 

I had an order for a pair of trainers that got delayed with delivery firm Evri and never turned up.

Customer services for the retailer, Sports Direct, offered me a refund or a replacement, so I took a replacement. But the order never showed up.

K. K, London.

A spokesman for Evri says that the company has reached out to you and is investigating the issue.

  • Write to Sally Hamilton at Sally Sorts It, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email sally@dailymail.co.uk — include phone number, address and a note addressed to the offending organisation giving them permission to talk to Sally Hamilton. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for answers given. 

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