Barclays refuses to hand over £4,000 after Brexit account closure

My mother in Italy was told her account was to be closed after 40 years. Now she can’t retrieve the balance

Can you ask Barclays why it refuses to hand over the balance of my mother’s bank account which it insisted she close after 40 years? She is 83 and lives in Italy. She was told last September that the bank was closing her account on 28 December because of Brexit. I understand she is one of a number of people who live in Europe and have had their UK accounts similarly closed.

All of her attempts to get her £4,000 balance back have so far failed. Barclays sent her an online registration last autumn, but failed to send her a password to allow her to access the account before it was closed. She has since asked for the money to be paid into her Italian account, but it never seems to happen.

We have called so many times trying to resolve this, and complied with all requests. I even sent the required documentation to the UK via DHL and asked a friend to deliver them by hand to Barclays, but it had no effect.

My mother cannot travel to the UK to retrieve the money, and we despair of ever seeing it again.

PL, Italy

UK banks shutting accounts for customers who live in Europe has been one of the unforeseen outcomes of Brexit, and a major headache for all of those affected.

To give your mother, who did not bank online, such a short period to close the account was hardly helpful, and Barclays has most definitely not covered itself in glory in your subsequent dealings with it.

I suspect her documents were stuck in a backlog of post at the bank, built up as staff worked from home. This is a problem that has affected many firms over the past 18 months.

After I raised the case, Barclays did, at least, move quickly to resolve the problem, and your mother’s money was paid into her Italian bank account a few days later.

Barclays has since apologised sincerely for the delays. It says it needed the documents to establish her identity, as “the protection of our customers’ funds and data is one of our highest priorities”.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions

Contributor

Miles Brignall

The GuardianTramp

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