Our bank asked us to travel 1400 miles
By Alan O'Sullivan
When Karen and Derek Starkiss moved from Hampshire to Australia, they went to great lengths to ensure Lloyds TSB would put their new address on to its customer database.
Despite repeated assurances, the bank failed to make the necessary changes and then told the astonished couple they would have to go to even greater lengths - a flight of more than 1,400 miles - to sort out the problem themselves.
Karen,51, and Derek, 52, moved to Victoria, Australia, in June, after living in rented accommodation for a short time before their departure.
Following the move they were told on numerous occasions by Lloyds TSB's call centre and their former local branch in Aldershot that their address had been updated. But banking information that leaves them at risk of fraud was still being sent to their old, rented address until a few days ago.
After she called Lloyds from her new home, the bank sent Karen a change of address form but when she returned it, it said her signature did not match the one the bank had on file. She was then told she would have to go in person to her local branch to update her details.
Karen, a former teacher, told the bank's e-mail support service that her nearest branch was in New Zealand and was astonished to be told she should present herself there to get the issue sorted. New Zealand is 1,400 miles away from Karen's home.
'There was no mention of who was going to pay for the flights and accommodation - if I ever decided to go on such a ridiculous trip,' Karen told This is Money. 'This has cost us so much time and money in phone calls from Australia. Trying to convince the call centre to allow us to talk to our own branch was like facing an inquisition.
'I think they put us through after we were able to give the maiden name of my second aunt twice removed and name of the primary school of my dad's cousin.'
It was only after This is Money contacted Lloyds, that the problem was resolved. The bank promised to launch an investigation and has agreed to offer a 'gesture of goodwill' to Karen and Derek, a business manager, for the upset.
Their case is a stark example of how High Street banks are failing to protect their customers from identity fraud by posting out sensitive account information to the wrong address. The problem is partially due to the fact that banks do not have a set process for verifying a customer's identity.