First Direct... more like, something.
January 4, 2007 10:08 AM   Subscribe

I need some serious assistance in dealing with the british bank, First Direct. There's

I signed up for an account with them in September '06. I only received one 500 pound payment into the bank then I stopped getting paid. Over the course of my travels I only took 20 pounds out of the bank leaving a total of 480 pounds.

Then! I moved back to America in December and I decided it would be best for that money to come back with me. So, I called from my residence in Virginia and attempted to transfer the money. All was going well [my intentions were expressed and they seemed all right with it] until I could not remember my phone password with them [which I now remember]. After a few incorrect tries they decided to lock me out from my account until I mailed them a letter from my current residence which told of my change of address and most importantly included my signature to certify that it was truly me on the phone.

So, I mailed a cordial letter to Leeds around the 15th of December. Fast forward to today I decided to check up on the progress of the situation. BUT! Now when I call First Direct I get a "Your call cannot be completed as dialed" message [in an American accent].

Additionally, I tried to log-in to online banking [which I could do even after they locked me out phonewise] and it now claims "You no longer have access to the service. For more information please call first direct on 08 456 100 234."

Que el fucko! I think the bank has just stolen 480 pounds of my money. I've been robbed by fat cats. Anyway, I can't seem to contact them from America anymore except by letter.

Is there any course of action which anyone can recommend to me. It is pretty essential that I get that money because I'm not that wealthy, plus I don't feel like funding HSBC [of which First Direct is a subsidiary] and their shenanigans.
posted by cloeburner to Work & Money (11 answers total)
Write them and ask them to send you a cheque or wire the money (choose one so they don't get confused).
posted by grouse at 10:14 AM on January 4, 2007

This may be obvious, but you should try their international phone number

+44 113 2345678

rather than the UK-only local rate number beginning with 0845.
posted by chrismear at 10:16 AM on January 4, 2007

If it does turn into a major dispute you can complain to the banking ombudsman on 011 44 20 7964 1000. But judging from your post, chrismear has provided the answer.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 10:19 AM on January 4, 2007

You don't say what number you were dialling, but their website has the contact number for international callers as +44 113 2345678. Have you tried that one?
posted by patricio at 10:19 AM on January 4, 2007

Yeah, that's the number I called initially but now it doesn't work. I know the 0845 number doesn't work in America.
posted by cloeburner at 10:19 AM on January 4, 2007

I just called 011 44 113 2345678 and it works just fine.
posted by zeoslap at 10:29 AM on January 4, 2007

I'd just like this post to exist to show the world that I'm a complete idiot. [I kept dialing 00441132345678]. I should be kept at a safe distance from phones.

Thanks zeoslap.
posted by cloeburner at 10:38 AM on January 4, 2007

Ha. I went through this calling another UK bank from VA less than an hour ago!
posted by crabintheocean at 10:53 AM on January 4, 2007

Alternatively, most cellphones (and Skype) will support dialing "+44 113 2345678", it works for me when I'm calling the UK.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:36 AM on January 4, 2007

I'm a little surprised to hear that calling an 0845 number from outside the UK doesn't work. Perhaps it's the incorrect international dialling code at fault; certainly I can call 0845 numbers from Ireland without any hitches.
posted by genghis at 9:50 AM on January 5, 2007

Even if calling an 0845 number is possible from overseas, there may be extra charges. I would want to avoid it from outside the UK just as I do from within the UK.
posted by grouse at 9:59 AM on January 5, 2007

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