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21st June 2012

Ulster Bank must ensure customers are not out of pocket due to the delay in processing payments

The Consumer Council has sought reassurance today that Ulster Bank customers will not incur any additional charges as a result of the bank’s technical issue preventing salary and welfare payments being made to customers. The bank estimates it could be tomorrow (22 June) before the issue is rectified.

Antoinette McKeown, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council said:  “The Consumer Council has raised concerns with Ulster Bank about consumers who are relying on benefits and salary payments reaching their account today and who could be severely inconvenienced due to the processing error which is delaying some payments.  People may be relying on this money to pay for vital items such as transport and food.  The Consumer Council strongly recommends that anyone who needs to either access cash today, is worried about going overdrawn, or meeting agreed payments, visit or telephone their nearest Ulster Bank branch to put special arrangements in place until the error is resolved.  The Consumer Council acknowledges the commitment given by Ulster Bank but intends to monitor this situation so that the bank ensures no customer loses out as a result of this error.”

If you are unhappy with service from your bank, you should complain directly to them in the first instance.  If you are not satisfied with their response you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).  The FOS helps settle individual disputes between banks and their customers and it is completely impartial and free.  Call 0800 0 234 567 or go to www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

ENDS

1.   Consumer Council media contact: Irene Overend, telephone, 028 9067 4816 or e-mail ioverend@consumercouncil.org.uk

2.   The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about buses, trains, planes, ferries, natural gas, electricity, coal and water.

3.   For more information, visit our website at www.consumercouncil.org.uk