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Shoppers charged twice after Bank of Scotland glitch

29 July 2009  |  6889 views  |  1
A technical problem at Bank of Scotland has led to some customers being charged twice for in-store purchases made with chip and PIN cards.

It's not the Mistake, it's the Response that Counts

29 July 2009  |  4203 views  |  0

Everyone makes mistakes; individuals, small businesses, large corporations and even government agencies.  ( I made a mistake while drafting this blog and hit publish before finishing it--so if you're reading it and there are only 3 paragraphs--that's why).  It's a fact of life and most of us handle it well.  We call hoping for a human voice, write letters to the "Contact Us" address and send emails to the blind mailbox.  For the most part, we stay patient and wait for the company or store to clear up the dispute and reverse the charge.  When a company acts quickly to help, we applaud them quietly because truthfully it's what we expect them to do. 

Do a quick search on banking errors and you'll find countless stories about banking errors--some kind of funny and some not.  In most cases, the bank or financial institution handled the issue quickly and efficiently.  In some other instances...not so much.  So for those banks that have forgotten the wisdom of the ages--or at least the wisdom of our parents when dealing with common and not so common banking errors.--5 little rules to a great response.   

The 5 Rules for a Great Response

1.  Admit you made a mistake--be quick and efficient in acknowledging the problem--the clock starts ticking as soon as the story is public. 

2.   Don't try to shift blame--Take a look at the financial meltdown and you'll see a lot of fingerpointing but at the end of the day people just wanted the leadership to do something.

3.  Correct the problem--See number 2 and be quick about it.  If the problem is your technology--fix it.  If the problem is your people--change them.

4.  Apologize--Get it right the first time and Be sincere

5.  Learn from your mistake so it doesn't happen again--See first line of the blog--we know everyone makes mistakes.  But it's only a mistake the first time it happens, after that it's a pattern.

In this instance, the Bank of Scotland handled things great.  They caught the mistake, notified customers and worked to prevent another glitch. Hopefully they'll also have learned a few things in the process. I know I have. 

TagsPaymentsPost-trade & ops

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 30 July, 2009, 15:47

The advice is good but I wonder why it concludes that the bank "handled things great". As one of those debited twice, it is a shame that Bank of Scotland did not advise:

- the hotel and I presume the other merchants whose charges were duplicated, for numerous customers,

- other banks who were left to field claims from their customers

- the account holders that suffered duplicate debits

Refunds reached the accounts of myself and mywife and a friend, this morning and we are advised to claim for overdraft interest and charges individually -  Each of us lost several hours explaining to respective bankers that the merchant said they had not claimed twice.

And there has been consequential losses as the duplicate debit resulted in other debits being returned unpaid with consequent damage to credit reputation, etc. Bank of Scotland has still to do a lot to repair its brand image.    

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