Better the devil you know: Where’s my switching bonus, Halifax?

Better the devil you  know: Where's my switching bonus, Halifax?

Better the devil you know: Where's my switching bonus, Halifax?

Update: 28 November 2013: I finally received my £100 from Halifax today. I had to call again last week to chase it as nothing had been done about it. Halifax has also given me £42 in compensation. So in total it’s taken two months from opening the account to getting the cash!

Five weeks ago, I ended the longest relationship I’ve had. With a company, that is. After 17 so–so years with Barclays I switched current account to the promise of great things with Halifax.

And by great things, I mean a £100 bonus for switching, plus £5/month each month I deposit £750, remain in credit and pay out at least two direct debits.

The switch itself went well. It was very quick, simple and happened within the promised seven working days. All my direct debits out and payments in have been smooth and painless. Apart from a lack of communication from Halifax to let me know when balances between the two accounts would transfer, it’s been difficult to fault the process (see our Seven-day switching: We put it to the test MSE News story and our Best Bank Accounts guide if you’re thinking of switching).

But – and this is a big but – I didn’t get my £100.

It was supposed to be credited straight away when I switched. Without internet banking or a cash card, it took me a week to be able to check my balance, only to find I hadn’t got it.

I called Halifax straight away to be greeted with apologies and assurances the cash would be there by the end of the week. But when I checked my balance five days later, once again, I was disappointed to find the £100 was still missing.

Again, I called Halifax, and again I was met with more promises that the £100 would be with me by the end of the week, along with an additional payment for the inconvenience, which I was impressed by as I haven’t had that elsewhere.

But after another week, there was still no £100, and no ex-gratia payment.

I called again. As with the previous calls, I’ve never spoken to nicer call centre staff. I was told I shouldn’t have had to call so many times, how sorry Halifax was, and that it was going to escalate this to a formal complaint, even though I’d not asked for this to happen. I was told I was going to be called by someone from the complaints team within two days.

You can guess where this is going, can’t you? Today, one week later, and five weeks since I switched, I’ve received neither a call, nor the money.

I phoned again. Apparently Halifax is waiting for the complaints team to accept my case, so it’s out of the customer services team’s hands. I should hear something about the complaint, though not necessarily get my money, by 4 November.

Another minor gripe about this fiasco is how long I’ve been placed on hold – around 15 minutes for each of the four calls I’ve made. And there’s a ridiculously annoying "please tell us now what you’d like to talk to us about" voice recognition section, which is as frustrating as when you used to phone the cinema to book Kill Bill at 7pm, only to have "you have chosen Cheaper By The Dozen at 4pm" spoken back at you.

The whole process hasn’t instilled any confidence in me about my new bank. As nice as its team is on the phone, it’s meaningless if it doesn’t deliver on its promises. It makes me think that maybe I should have stayed with Barclays.

If this is a freak one-off error (we’ve not heard of anything similar happening), maybe that’s why it’s taking longer to solve? I hope so. I hope I get the £100, the £5 per month (which must be due soon), and my compensation, otherwise I’ll seriously think about switching elsewhere. Santander anyone?

Have you tried switching bank account? Please share your thoughts in the discussion below, or in the forum.