You have to wonder why anyone bothers with Barclays Bank. Years ago they were a sign of safety and a business you can trust. Now they treat personal customers with undisguised contempt, closing branches, levying charges almost at their whim, and leaving people to deal with underpaid and undertrained junior staff in the few offices that remain or being routed to an offshore call centre.
The latest wheeze – and this was seriously sold to me as being done to “enhance customer service” – is that you can no longer call your branch. At all. All calls are re-routed to an Indian call centre where, even just to get put through to a branch, you are led through a maze of security and other often irrelevant questions. Last Thursday it took me eight calls to get through to my branch …not that it was worth it. When I was connected I was greeted with a surly individual who was more interested in telling me that staffing levels are such that there is no point in coming in “between 11.30 and 2.30 because that’s our lunch time and we are short staffed then”. Not that anyone else has lunch then.
Coupled with the many Private Eye articles about how skilled Barclays is at diddling the UK taxation systems, the best we can all do is close accounts if you have them, and stay clear of Barclays if you haven’t. After three decades, I have closed mine. I should have done it years ago.