A WOMAN has been living in a nightmare after claiming she lost her life savings when the bank deleted her account.
Kirsty Hamlett claims NatWest shut down her bank account which contained more than £30,000 without warning – meaning she's been unable to access the money for the last six months.
The 30-year-old from Reddish, Stockport, claims the nightmare has led to her losing a sale on her first house, missing important payments and suffering sleepless nights and anxiety.
Kirsty says the first time she found out her account was closing was when she contacted NatWest to inform them she had been locked out of her internet banking in June this year.
NatWest allege that they sent her a letter in April informing her that she had 60 days to move her funds as they would be shutting the account – something she claims she never received.
Kirsty says she's spent countless hours on the phone to the bank, but still hasn't been able to recuperate the money – apart from £300 compensation she claims to have received from NatWest.
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She also claims to have been sent letters by mistake by the bank which include another customer's personal details, including their account number.
In a letter seen by the Manchester Evening News addressed to Ms Hamlett, NatWest admitted she had been sent a letter relating to an investment account in 'someone else's name' and asked her to destroy it.
Kirsty said: "My life has been put on hold for the last six months. I've had to take sick leave from work and I have lost the sale on my first property.
"I couldn't have my wages from work, I missed direct debits so I've been charged extra and my credit rating has been affected. I've also lost money from having to take days off work over it.
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"It's disgusting. The whole thing has made me ill. I have been given a heart monitor by my doctor and I have had so many sleepless nights due to the anxiety of it all."
Kirsty, who has held a bank account with NatWest for 15 years, was in the process of buying her first home this summer when she received a text message saying her personal details had been changed.
"I didn't do this so I contacted them and tried to log onto my online banking but couldn't get in," she said. "On the 5th day of trying I still couldn't get in and they said 'are you aware your account has been closed down?'
"They are saying they sent me a letter on April 6 with a 60 day window saying my bank account was being closed down but I never received this letter. I asked what I was expected to do, I still had a large amount of money in the account and I was in the process of buying a property. I have been going back and forwards with the bank but still haven't got my money back.
"When I have spoken to them they have just said that they don't have to tell me why they closed my bank account down. I'm honestly lost for words over it."
Kirsty says she's now been forced to instruct a solicitor to investigate the matter after spending countless hours on the phone to the bank.
"I have lost £36,000 and the whole thing has just been a catalogue of failures," she said. "I have spent around four hours on the phone to NatWest every night. I've had enough.
"They sent me a cheque for £300 as compensation but they have still not given me my money back. I had a 60 day window to withdraw my funds which obviously if I'd known about I would have done.
"Now they've told my solicitor they're sending forms for me to fill out to get my money back but I was at this point six months ago. I want proper compensation for what I've been through."
A NatWest spokesperson said: "Like all UK regulated banking institutions, NatWest is subject to legal and regulatory requirements, and we treat compliance with them as a matter of priority.
"This may mean NatWest is required to delay or refuse to act on a customer’s instructions, and/or suspend or restrict a customer’s accounts and/or services. The bank does not make any comments on the specifics of this case."
Anyone who has a complaint against a bank should initially complain to the company themselves to give them a chance to sort the issue out.
However, if you are unhappy with their response you can take the issue up with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
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You must contact the FOS within six months of receiving a response from the bank.
A complaint can be lodged via the FOS website.
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