‘I only had £13 to survive after Nationwide blocked my account’


Sally says:

On my request, you arranged for your grandson to email me directly – though this contact was delayed for some hours because he had spent the day climbing Mount Kenya. I was impressed. However, it would seem that this exploit required somewhat less effort than getting his complaint sorted out with Nationwide back home.

He told me that when his payments were declined, he followed the instructions on the Nationwide app that suggested customers call or tweet with their issues. At £3.13 per minute on his mobile network to phone a UK number he decided that tweeting was more economical. But Nationwide’s reply was that nothing could be done over Twitter and that he must call instead. He tried but it kept cutting out. After a few minutes (and at a cost he has yet to find out) he eventually gave up. He tried his Kenyan sim card but it failed to connect.

I stepped in and asked Nationwide to urgently move things along for him. When the company investigated, it found that access to your grandson’s account had been restricted due to a red flag raised with its financial crime team. This was triggered by a cash withdrawal of £268 – larger than your grandson’s usual transactions.

The normal method of confirming whether such a transaction is genuine (by phone call or text) was harder to carry out, given his location. But once the team reviewed his case following my request, the block was lifted.

A Nationwide spokesman said: “Protecting our members from fraud is very important to us, so if we spot what might be a suspicious transaction, we will take the necessary steps to protect the account and make sure payments are genuine. Verifying the transaction took slightly longer than normal, given the member’s current location, but it has now been resolved.”


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