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Santander dragging its heels over fraud stopped me getting a mortgage

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In December last year I noticed on my credit file that a Santander account had apparently been opened in my name by someone else.

I contacted Santander to alert it and it said it would investigate. Then in February of this year I saw a £15,000 loan had also been taken out in my name. Again I alerted Santander and, again, it said it would investigate.

When I went to get an offer in principle for a mortgage in March of this year I was told the loan was in arrears so I would not be able to get one.

I contacted Santander again and was told it was still investigating. I made a complaint about the length of time this process was taking and received a letter which apologised for the poor service I had received and offered £100 compensation which I did not accept. It also promised that my case would be reviewed urgently.

As of today, I have received no further update from Santander and the arrears continue to ruin my credit file. Now the original bank account is also in arrears.

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In April, I raised a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service. It is incredible that Santander can take this long to investigate, uphold a complaint and then still take no action.
AH
, London

This is a nightmarish tale. A fraudster made multiple attempts to open accounts in your name at different high street banks. You alerted Santander to this fraud only for the bank to fail to prevent a substantial loan being taken out in your name.

After dragging its heels for months, Santander was quick to take action when we made contact on your behalf.

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It says it has a great deal of sympathy for everyone who falls victim to fraud. “We have reviewed this case and believe the customer was unfortunately the victim of application fraud so we have written off the debt, closed the current account, and are in the process of amending his credit file so there are no ongoing impacts from this unfortunate situation.”

It is “very sorry for the delay” in responding to you and is giving you £500 as a gesture of goodwill. It comes with no strings so you can still pursue your complaint through the ombudsman, a course you are undecided upon. You hope now to be able to secure a mortgage and get on the property ladder with your partner.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions

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