MOBILE and online banking services are down for hundreds of First Direct customers.
Outages were reported on the bank's website and app on August 20. Here's what to do if you can't access your account.
How can I check if First Direct is down?
First Direct has a dedicated page on its website where customers can check for any service issues.
The company says the page is updated regularly and it is "the best way to find out when things are back to normal".
It provides information on phone, mobile and online banking, card transactions and the HSBC ATM network.
First Direct also has social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter so it is worth checking these out too.
And the website Downdetector can also help identify whether there are other people experiencing similar issues.
The site relies of customers reporting problems directly to it, so it is not always accurate.
But one great thing it does tell you is how widespread a problem is and where in the country people are having the most trouble.
On August 20, Downdectector showed 314 First Direct customers had complained about service outages.
Many Sky customers were unable to access their accounts due to an internet tech issue.
Can I claim compensation for an outage?
Unfortunately bank customers are not entitled to compensation in the same way telecoms customers are if there has been an outage.
But, it is worth doing some digging if the disruption has had a significant impact on you.
You will need to make as many notes as possible about when you were unable to access the services, the names of any staff members you spoke to.
Importantly though, you will some evidence about how the outage negatively affected you – for example, any additional costs it forced on you.
There is a simple complaints form on the First Direct website which explains what else you might need to submit.
What to do if you can’t access your money
If you can’t access your money and you need to urgently, here’s what to do:
- Visit your local branch as soon as you can.
- If you can't get there, or it is closed, call your bank and ask for its guidance on what to do.
- If the bank’s phone services are also down or busy, try contacting your bank on social media to ask what to do. But remember: don’t ever share your account details over social media.
- Try to do this on the day the problem arises so you can show you made every attempt to solve the issue.
- If you still can't access your money, begin gathering evidence for a complaint.
What happens if First Direct refuses to help?
If you have submitted all your evidence and you are dissatisfied with how your complaint has been handled, the next step is to report the case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
You can do this 15 days after you first raised concerns with First Direct.
The FOS is an independent body which looks at the evidence before deciding whether action is fair – and it is free to escalate your complaint.
Any complaints regarding IT system outages at a bank will be considered.
However, the FOS advises that a decision on whether you are entitled to compensation will depend on how much you lost out as a result.
If it decides that the bank is at fault, it can order it to reimburse any fees, charges or fines you suffered.
Another outcome could be that the FOS orders First Direct to pay you any money you did not receive, such as interest.
It could also tell the bank to transfer any extra costs you incurred to get the issue sorted, like the cost to visit your local branch.
If your credit score was affected, it may tell the bank to correct your credit file.
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