Financial Ombudsman Experience?


#1

Does anyone know if Starling is covered by the Financial Ombudsman?

I have had a complaint open since September (over a failed switch, where I’ve had to run two bank accounts for 6 months+) and a friend said I could escalate to the ombudsman after 8 weeks. However, the Ombudsman’s website says that providers covered by this service have to provide you with a leaflet about the service after 8 weeks (if they can’t fix the issue by then) so I don’t know if they’re in scope or not.


#2

Hi @Nicholas,

Sorry you haven’t had the smoothest experience with your manual switch.

We’re going to be sending you a final response soon to allow you to escalate the matter appropriately, though I will not be discussing anything further related to this matter via a public forum such as this.

We are regulated by the FCA and PRA, and once we give you a final response you will be able to escalate this to the Financial Ombudsman.


#3

Thanks, it’s good to know I’m covered but - for the benefit of other readers - having read through the FOS website it looks like customers don’t need a final response if the complaint has been dragging on for more than a couple of months. I am hoping to get it sorted without this escalation to an external body though!

I thought it was interesting that my query about this was a great example of the typical problems with Starling.

  1. The query was caused initially by Starling not following the industry norms so causing a customer pain point (in this case not following regulations by not telling me about the Ombudsman service when I complained)
  2. The query was answered really quickly (<30 mins) by someone who was helpful, friendly and clear - and was able to tell me the basics (yes, we are covered and we will write up a summary of the situation)
  3. The query didn’t actually cover off my query. I’d only asked if Starling were covered by the FOS (yes!), but said I was prepared to continue using Starling as my main account if we could get this switch resolved and my inconvenience compensated. Starling inferred that I was escalating the issue next week regardless and said they would no longer work to fix the outstanding problems. :disappointed_relieved:

I think we all understand that things go wrong from time to time, but communication is key - especially as Starling customers are early adopters who are presumably people who are prepared to switch bank accounts for good service. My case is not the simplest (Starling have been let down by BACS and CASS) but Starling also made a mistake when they passed the wrong details to my suppliers and sneakily wouldn’t share the information with me for a long time.

My last financial problem was with Transferwise 5 years ago when they lost everyone’s transfers made on a particular day. They responded with a lot of updates and proactively offered free transfers for life as compensation. I was much more impressed with this than if they’d just bunged me £300 - and indeed I continue to recommend them to friends.

Starling should consider some other form of compensation rather than a lump sum of cash in cases where they’ve inconvenienced customers. I don’t know what this could be though - something that’s more than just a nominal token, maybe an HSBC Premier-style account with faster service / named agents always dealing with you, or a metallic bank card, or future fee waiving if cashpoint or FX fees are introduced or… any other ideas? Or does everyone else just prefer hard cash :smile:


#4

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience.

This has been complicated. As you know, your old bank was not part of the Current Account Switch Service, and we had never done a manual switch before.

This is why we recommended speaking to the Direct Debit (DD) originators to move these DDs to Starling.

We really wanted to help, which is why we supported your request for a manual switch in to Starling.

As mentioned earlier, we will provide you with a final response to your complaint.

Sorry this experience has not lived up to your expectations.


#5

I don’t feel comfortable with expecting compensation - in whatever form - when something goes wrong. Things can go wrong for all manner of reasons and I am quite sure when they do it’s not because anybody had intentionally gone out of their way to make things difficult. @Robin has indicated some of the issues that were experienced here, and so as long as Starling chalks these things up to experience and learn from them, realistically that’s all we can expect. Freeloading after some financial remedy is not good form.


#6

If you was the first customer they have done a manual switch with, you could perhaps help them improve this process and continue to be part of the Starling journey. That’s what the community is all about. I’m sure this can be resolved without the need of the FOS.


#7

Most definitely, and to be clear my email today asked if they were covered by the FOS as well as saying that I would be prepared to carry on using Starling as my current account if Starling could get the switch sorted. Sadly it was Starling who said they wouldn’t do any more - and indeed, I hadn’t heard anything back from them in the last 2.5 months before I messaged them today.

I’ve passed on lots of information from my old bank about the manual switching process to educate the Starling team as to what can be done (yes, balance transfers and account closures are part of the switch features!) and had Starling extract the data from BACS, CASS and Vocalink so I could help identify where Starling had made a mistake so hopefully others who follow in my steps will have a much easier time (and also help them identify a regulatory breach today).

I’ve had to run two accounts since July and my old bank calls me several times a week for an update so it would be good to get this resolved - I travel a lot and I’m worried that I’m going to make a mistake with my balances. Saying that, the in-app messaging to Starling is a fantastic feature, and the fast responses when you do chase them makes things much easier than it could be. :+1:t5:


#8

I meant what I said in the nicest way possible - hope it’s resolved soon.