Santander 'loses' £5,700 during pensioner's bank transfer to America

A furious Marilyn Riches can finally breathe a deep sigh of relief after Streetwise helped her retrieve £5,722 from Santander bank which mysteriously went missing in transit to her brother in America.
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The 76-year-old Portsmouth widowed pensioner was mortified when the large sum vanished en route and no-one at the bank would respond to repeated requests to trace where it had gone.

A loyal Santander customer of eight years, Marilyn’s tale of frustration and battling with the bank started in early May when she went to her branch in Portsmouth’s Commercial Road to arrange an international transfer to her brother Robert in Virginia.

A furious Marilyn Riches (76) from Old Portsmouth, can finally breathe a deep sigh of relief after Streetwise helped her retrieve £5,722 from Santander bank which mysteriously went missing in transit to her brother in America.
Picture: Sarah Standing (110723-6219)A furious Marilyn Riches (76) from Old Portsmouth, can finally breathe a deep sigh of relief after Streetwise helped her retrieve £5,722 from Santander bank which mysteriously went missing in transit to her brother in America.
Picture: Sarah Standing (110723-6219)
A furious Marilyn Riches (76) from Old Portsmouth, can finally breathe a deep sigh of relief after Streetwise helped her retrieve £5,722 from Santander bank which mysteriously went missing in transit to her brother in America. Picture: Sarah Standing (110723-6219)
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She said: ‘An assistant completed the transfer for me after all the usual security checks and gave me a receipt and confirmation letter.

‘I was told it would take two to five days, but after a week when it hadn’t arrived in his account, I rang the bank.

‘After hanging on for ages and being put through to three different people, I finally got someone on international who said if it still hadn’t arrived within a couple of days they’d call it a no-show.

‘A few days later I had a message on my phone saying Santander were trying to contact me, I rang the number but the person I spoke to didn’t seem to know anything about it, so I asked to be put through to international to speak to someone, but my request was dismissed and told they’d be in touch.

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‘After a fortnight I rang them again and spoke to my brother but still absolutely nothing happened. After a month had slipped by, I went to the bank to speak to the manager but after explaining to him what had happened he just said he was sorry but there was nothing he could do about it.

‘I sat there dumbfounded with my mouth hanging open and asked him what he was doing about it. He fiddled around a bit on his computer and said it was under investigation. I wouldn’t hear anything, and the bank wouldn’t be in touch.

‘I ended up completely gobsmacked and insisted I just wanted to know what had happened to my money.’

On learning that Marilyn’s money had disappeared somewhere down the line, and she’d been blanked by Santander, her brother Robert wrote to the bank’s chief executive Michael Reginer pleading for help.

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He explained they were baffled, and their worry had turned to desperation. There was no one to contact, no one to complain to, and no communication or explanation.

They were sick with worry when they received no reply from Santander’s top executive. They believed the bank had lost their money and they might not get it back.

At the end of their tether Marilyn was advised by a friend to contact Streetwise for help.

We contacted Santander’s top public relations team and asked them to investigate. We pointed out they were in breach of her statutory rights which required a service to be carried out with reasonable care and skill, and within a reasonable time.

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In a matter of days, the equivalent of US$7,000 finally turned up in brother Robert’s account.

A spokesperson explained that when making international payments where Santander doesn’t have an account with a recipient bank, sometimes the funds are required to be transferred to an intermediary bank before onward transmission.

In Marilyn’s case her money was initially transferred to Deutsche Bank who queried a statement in her payment reference and referred it back to Santander’s financial crime team for clarification.

Following receipt of the necessary information the payment was finally cleared to the recipient account.

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The spokesperson said: ‘We are sorry for the delay in requesting the additional information from Mrs Riches and ensuring that the intermediary bank had released the funds to her brother’s bank.

‘The payment has now been completed, and we have paid Mrs Riches £150 in compensation along with the £25 transaction fee, for the inconvenience.’

Marilyn said: ‘It was extremely good news. I just thank God I got in touch with Streetwise. We both felt very bad and guilty about the terrible stress, and I felt furious that I’d been kept waiting for so long until your intervention.

‘It’s a wonderful service you provide. I just can’t thank you enough for getting in touch so promptly. I’m so relieved that it’s finally taken a huge weight off my mind.

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