Mum 'astounded' as teenager with cerebral palsy is denied bank account by Barclays in Fareham
A DISABLED teenager’s mum was left ‘astounded’ after Barclays staff refused to give him a bank account.
Mum-of-three Rachel Fogerty visited Barclays in Fareham on January 2 with her son Oliver Taplin, 13, to open a children’s account for him, which are available from age 11.
Oliver has cerebral palsy, which means he uses a wheelchair and cannot verbally communicate, and was accompanied by a carer when they enquired at the bank.
Rachel was shocked by the way the staff member spoke to them, pointing at Oliver and reportedly saying ‘I’m not being funny but has he got capacity?’ and refusing to give him an account ‘unless he can walk in here and tell us that he can take responsibility for a debit card’.
Warsash resident Rachel, who has been a Barclays customer her whole life, said: ‘I was completely astounded at what she was saying, I didn’t for one minute think I was going to be getting in a conversation about it not being allowed and it being because of his disability.’
The staff member was said to engage in a heated discussion, saying if fraud was to happen, for example a carer stealing money, they would not be able to claim it back as it was a ‘data protection’ issue.
Rachel, 37, said: ‘[They’re] preventing him from going out and getting things. Why should he be restricted in terms of living a normal day-to-day life?’
She was encouraged to contact Barclays’ head office to make a complaint and ask for a solution, significant form of apology and the person in question to have it addressed as a learning issue.
Rachel was told there would be a response within five working days, but no reply was forthcoming until over a month later.
‘I personally think there’s a long way to go with people’s attitudes towards people with disabilities,’ said Rachel.
‘I think it’s ignorance and unless people raise things like this then people will just continue.
‘I don’t think a lot of people go out intentionally in life to cause offence but I do think there should be consequences.’
Rachel said Oliver needs to be able to access money when he is out with carers, as he enjoys Nandos, the cinema and coffee shops.
She added: ‘Generally the response we get to Oliver is really good and people will come and talk to him because he’s very interested in people and very smiley. It makes things like this even worse.’
A Barclays spokeswoman said: ‘Barclays is committed to providing access to a wide-range of banking services for everyone. However, whilst we can open accounts for any minor under the age of 16, it is not legally possible for those seeking third party access to their account using a debit card.
‘This is because, due to their age, customers are not able put in place protection measures such as a power of attorney or third party authority. These measures are needed to protect our customers from fraud and ensure that any third parties act in our customer’s best interest.’