I’m locked out of my account, but Co-op Bank doesn’t answer

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In August you published a letter from a reader who found it almost impossible to contact the Co-operative Bank by phone. Nothing has changed. Both business and personal account lines are basically uncontactable, unless you have a few hours to spare.

I was locked out of my business account for three weeks because I could not get hold of anyone. I now have a new key but can’t get through to activate it.

There is no other means of contact – it does not accept emails or online messaging.

Last night at 5pm, I tried again, and a message said it was unlikely to be able to answer before it closed. Closing time is 8pm.

I have made several complaints and always hear the same story: the bank has employed more people and it will get better. I have been a happy customer for more than 30 years but this is becoming untenable.

SW, by email

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If things don’t improve rapidly, I would be looking for a new bank. It simply isn’t acceptable to take three hours to answer the phone.

Last year, the company blamed the delays on the pandemic and staff shortages, and said it was recruiting more people, but these excuses are wearing thin. Its Trustpilot page suggests that other customers are similarly frustrated.

After I got in touch, a staff member contacted you directly, and your service was restored. It has also apologised.

“While we’ve made some significant changes to improve our service levels, there is still more that we aim to do,” it says. “We continue to look for ways to increase the options for customers to carry out their banking needs through online banking and our mobile app. This includes investing in our systems and processes to reduce the need for customers who would rather self-serve.”

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It is worth noting that the bank is no longer part of the Co-operative Group. It was rescued by international hedge funds after its much-publicised problems. It continues to proclaim its ethical investment stance but, unless it sorts out its service soon, it could be facing an exodus of customers.

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