Terrible Starling customer service: direct debit indemnity


Having dealt with Starling customer services regarding app bugs and minor issues, today is the first time I’ve dealt with Starling concerning a real banking issue in the form of a direct debit indemnity.

I have spoken to Starling four times in the space of five hours today and it’s been a total nightmare:

08:30 phone call: Started a direct debit indemnity claim via phone call. I assumed the funds would be back within the hour according to the direct debit guarantee. In fact, an hour was being generous, since the refund was expected immediately.
09:37 in-app message: After no refund, the advisor wasn’t any help and couldn’t even give me a refund timeframe!
10:49 in-app message: Requested a ballpark timeframe again, which again, could not be provided!
15:24 phone call: Chased it up via phone call, and again, no help and no refund!

What is going on? I’m £100 down and my opinion of Starling has plummeted! @StarlingSupport, this is so disappointing.


Hi @LauraJ!

I am sorry for the experience you’ve had today , we are working on improving the Direct Debit Indemnity process as we speak.

Under the Direct Debit guarantee you are entitled to a full and immediate refund.

According to the Direct Debit scheme rules, “immediate” is defined as, on the day of request (or next working day if outside a normal bank working day).

This will be done shortly and you will receive an update in the app today

If you need anything, just give us a shout :grinning:


Hi Logan,

Whilst I appreciate your response, five Starling customer service advisors provided me with the same information today: there is no ETA for the refund.

‘You will receive your refund today’ would have been sufficient and reassuring; it would have removed the need for all of the messages and phone calls I’ve had to make.

The experience has been tedious, yet you come along and provide everything that I wanted at 8:30 this morning. How does that work? If anything, it highlights a need for CS training.

No one ever wants to be out of pocket due to banking/creditor error but when/if the situation does arise, they want to feel that their bank is working with them, rather than against them. And it definitely did not feel like I was supported today!


Once again, we’re sorry for the experience you had today.

We will review the conversations you had via chat and call and will act accordingly.

We thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience with us which we consider as learning for the future.

Give us a shout if you need anything!


did you receive the refund?


Yes, as a result of this post. :slightly_smiling_face:


I’ve not known any bank not give an immediate refund under the direct debit guarantee apart from Starling. That’s actually an important point, why would people set up direct debits and despite a guarantee don’t get an immediate refund just because mastercard and starling class immediate as something different to the rest of humanity.

With Barclays I cancelled a direct debit and despite that it was still paid, a 2 minute phone call to barclays and the money was in my account, no questions, no hassle just good and simple processes.


I had HSBC stall for over a week on returning a direct debit. I ended up leaving the bank because of their attitude and being passed from pillar to post. It does happen I’m afraid :frowning:


@itfcdeano doesn’t surprise me as had a direct debit with then had to change by paper and they cocked up and took payment twice in a month.


I left HSBC years ago because of the terrible customer service, so that really doesn’t surprise me


I’ve experienced the implementation of the Direct Debit guarantee… the guarantee simply isn’t worth anything!

Despite telling you that you are entitled to an immediate refund, none of the banks I’ve ever dealt with ever adhere to the supposed ‘Guarantee’ they used to get you to agree to direct debit.

Do make a formal complaint to the organisation involved, then escalate to the ombudsman (who, as they are paid for by the banks, generally side with them on any issue). But after that you can go to the small claims court, I’ve won every time in court, despite the bank and ombudsman ruling that they have done nothing wrong.


Best experience I had was with Nationwide. They refunded Direct Debit by 5pm next day


I have to agree, I find that the customer Service I have received recently is poor compared to my first experience.