Carer is repaid after battle over lost cheques – The Crusader

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Unable to make headway and the sensitivities surrounding her work making any action more difficult, Crusader absolutely understood when Janette Brown said: “I’m between a rock and a hard place, I can’t fight this alone.”

++ If you’ve been affected by this issue or feel you’ve been a victim of injustice, please contact consumer champion Maisha Frost on [email protected] ++

Three months ago she took the payments she received from two elderly clients to a sub-post office near her home in Surrey. The cheques were for her Post Office Instant Saver Account, operated by partner the Bank of Ireland. 

“My account is new, so I hadn’t done the procedure before,” says Janette. “I filled in the paying slip and gave all three items to the cashier.

“She passed me an envelope for me to put them into, I saw it was marked Royal Bank of Scotland and mentioned this. Then I got a Lloyds Bank one and finally what looked to be a Post Office envelope to use. It was old and needed sticky tape to seal it.”

Janette claims she was not asked to put in her ATM card, issued by the bank enabling her to make financial transactions. When she deposited more cheques a couple of weeks later, this time via her card, she checked and saw the first two weren’t showing on her balance. The others have however cleared.

“When I asked what had happened I was told it was not the branch’s problem,” she says. “After many calls I was asked to send in proof of payment, which I did by recorded delivery. Only when I made an online complaint did things move.”

Eventually she learned the tracking team could do no more as the correct procedure for paying in cheques had not been followed so they were untraceable. No reimbursement was possible and Janette was advised to contact her clients and get the cheques stopped.

“But this is impossible,” she explained to Crusader. “They are confined to bed and one has slight dementia, many of their affairs are dealt with by family far away. Knowing their cheques were lost would really bewilder and worry them and I don’t want to be associated with any whiff of misconduct. My reputation as a carer is at stake.”

Post offices have always been at the heart of community life but their role as a key financial services provider enabling access to cash is set to grow as never before as they help plug the gap left by the closure of bank branches.

And the Post Office immediately understood and then acted after we raised the problem of Janette’s lost money and the service she had received.

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The money had been put in the wrong envelope and a spokesperson said: “We acknowledge that the time taken to resolve the matter was unduly lengthy for the customer in question, and are pleased to report that we have now resolved [the] complaint by subsequently honouring her two cheque payments.”

Janette also received a £50 goodwill gesture and declared: “I’m so relieved I’ve been understood at last, Crusader’s support made it happen.”

  • Janette’s name has been changed

Help yourself by wising up on the right steps yourself 

Most transactions go smoothly, but knowing the procedures too can also help stop slips and a lot of hassle. So when paying in at a Post Office branch: Use your ATM card if you are an PO account holder, bring a pre-printed paying in slip to pay in cheques, bring a branded envelope for your cheque deposit, if you’re visiting your bank a handful of paying in slips and branded envelopes for when you want to deposit cheques at your Post Office in future, whatever the transaction get a receipt and check it lists the key details.

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