'Furious' TSB customers left unable to pay rent after standing orders default

Poppy McCrae said she was 'furious' that she had not been unable to pay her rent. Credit: ITV News

In the latest stage of the TSB banking crisis, some customers have had their standing orders returned, leaving them unable to pay their rent and bills.

One woman told ITV News she was "furious" after being left unable to pay her rent, something which she said gave her landlord potential grounds to have her evicted.

Poppy McCrae explained that when she checked that her rent had been paid on Tuesday morning, she found that it had defaulted and the money had returned to her account for no apparent reason.

The 22-year-old explained that she went to a branch of TSB to try and rectify the issue, but staff at the bank were unsure of why the money had not been paid, and were unable to help.

The student continued that for each day that she is unable to pay her rent, she is fined £50, but not only this, she also believes the whole incident has impacted badly on her relationship with her landlord.

Ms McCrae continued that TSB had told her she would be compensated for the issues, but she continued: "But I don't know how long that will take and there's no doubt there are a lot of people who are going to want the same, so how long is it going to take before I get my money back, for issues that are no fault of my own?"

Being unable to pay things such as her mobile phone bill was one thing, Ms McCrae said, but continued that rent was a different matter entirely.

"This is the place that I live.

"It gives the landlord and the letting agency standing to have me evicted, should they choose, as I've not successfully paid rent, not of my own fault either...

"It's unfathomable. How can I put this into words? It's my rent, it's my living, it's where I stay, it's my whole livelihood."

She continued that she was left with no choice but to keep checking at ATMs whether the payment had been successful or not, since she was unable to log into her online banking, or use the TSB app.

Another TSB customer, Pamela Little, also told ITV News that the latest banking issue had left her unable to pay her rent or her council tax.

Luckily for Ms Little, she said her council was very understanding and patient and told her to "try not to worry about it", but despite their assurances she said she had been left in a "very stressful situation" not knowing when she would be able to pay her bills, or find out "what the heck is going on" with her account.

However, she continued that contrary to her council's wishes, TSB had instructed her not to pay bills which had defaulted over the phone.

Shortly after 5pm on Tuesday, TSB announced that the issue with standing orders had been resolved and that scheduled payments had been processed.

Last week, TSB announced that online banking issues had been resolved, only for customers to find out that they were still unable to log into their accounts.

TSB Chief Executive Paul Pester will appear before MPs on Wednesday. Credit: PA

As well as issues with standing orders, TSB also reported that mortgage customers were unable to view their accounts online or via the app, some credit card holders had problems viewing information, while some online business account customers suffered payment difficulties.

The latest issue came on the same day it was announced that TSB bosses are set to be grilled by an influential parliamentary committee on Wednesday as the lender’s internet banking meltdown enters a second week.

Chief Executive Paul Pester, chairman Richard Meddings and a yet to-be-confirmed representative from TSB’s Spanish owner Sabadell will appear in front of the Treasury Select Committee on Wednesday, May 2, as customers continue to report difficulty accessing their accounts.

A major IT upgrade earlier this month left some customers locked out of their bank accounts, meaning they have been unable to manage their day-to-day finances or pay bills in some cases – while others reported being able to see other people’s accounts.

In a letter to Treasury Select Committee Chair Nicky Morgan dated April 27 but publicly released on Monday, Mr Pester said he was “deeply sorry” for the problems but that a number of fixes had been implemented and a “proactive customer redress programme” had since been launched that included the waiving of all overdraft charges for the month of April.

Mr Pester said around 700 customers had been declined when using an ATM abroad on Sunday, April 22 – the weekend the IT migration took place – and that around 402 customers were able to see data normally not available to them, though all had received an apology.

He went on to say that while only 72% of customers were able to access the app on Monday, April 23, that number had risen to 93% by Friday.

“This is typical of the proportion we would have been pre-migration,” Mr Pester explained.

However, the “combination of lower than expected internet and app availability” as well as the “high levels of publicity surrounding TSB” led to a higher than normal volume of calls which meant average wait times for its call centres were one hour last Monday and 30 minutes by Thursday.

Nicky Morgan said the Treasury Select Committee was 'extremely concerned by the problems at TSB'. Credit: PA

Up to 1.9 million people using TSB’s digital and mobile banking found themselves locked out of their bank accounts last week, though it was unclear how many customers were still affected as of Monday.

Commenting on the correspondence with TSB, Mrs Morgan said: “The Treasury Committee is extremely concerned by the problems at TSB, and by the apparent miscommunication to customers about the extent and nature of these problems.

“It’s been reported that services such as online banking have been down for some TSB customers for over a week. Many individuals and businesses will have made arrangements for the planned outage, but not for the additional time that the systems have been unavailable.

“We will take evidence from TSB and Sabadell representatives to find out how they got into this mess, who is responsible, and how they are putting it right.”

Mr Pester refused to say last week whether he would give up his bonus in light of the IT disruption.

TSB said on Sunday that it was “working hard to address these issues.”

The problems were sparked by a major IT migration as the challenger bank worked to separate itself from Lloyds Banking Group’s own IT system, despite having been spun off from the group in 2013.

The new platform was provided by TSB’s Spanish owner Banco de Sabadell in hopes of avoiding further outsourcing fees to Lloyds, which increased by £122 million in 2017.