Barclays Bank — Staff
I used to work for Barclays, at 18 i was offered a high paying seemingly stable job where i could help people and have a chance to advance through the company. I found a home of my own, was able to pay for it and have money for a comfortable lifestyle, for my age anyway. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the fact you got paid for the months training, which was easy really, know your products be friendly and helpful. O.K so it starts well then i realise you work a month in hand which is pretty standard i guess. So all my travel and lunches and living costs needed to be covered, here comes the barclays HR department who offered an overdraft to me to help through the first month, great! or not. After a week or so 'live' on the phones dealing with real customers the odd balance query sometimes a home insurance quote no problems, you guessed it . . until I was told i now had a sales target. So i was accredited to sell insurance on loans etc. and shown the loan application process, then things start to get tough. I am being told by my new team leader and my trainer to hammer through as many sales as possible to win this weeks prize! a bottle of wine occasionally an entry into a draw for an i-pod between 1500 people. Hmm! It was not long before i was being monitored and had team leaders over my shoulder pointing out that this customer could get a loan, this customer didnt have an overdraft, this person had a basic account get them to upgrade. Let me say that that sounds like good advice but when none of these customers ask for any of these products and some are totally unsuitable for them like a loan for an 80-year old with £25000 savings just because a loan is available to them that was when i started to feel a little uneasy. Or an overdraft for someone barely managing to stay afloat anyway. Even when someone rang asking to apply for a loan then i had to push payment protection insurance because it made the bank a lot of money many people want the loan enough they will agree to anything even when they dont need it. (this is really serious as these things are governed by the law and i honestly felt very pressured into selling this product by my team and management).
I started to get heartly sick of customers ringing their bank for help and i was being told just to fob them off to get another call going that could offer a sales opportunity. I understand that sales environments are high pressured but they should also be of benefit to the customer. Eventually i started taking days off sick as i could not face telling someone that their cheque would clear in time to cover their bills when in reality it would not and they would be getting a charge for this. There were always simple solutions to these problems but my hands were tied that was not how the bank really operated. The amount of times i heard staff discussing customers balances, problems, accents or direct debits such as porn subscriptions was unreal. It was an awful place to work and eventually because i had so much time off i was sacked which is fair enough. I could have sucked it up and gone after the job with a cold heart done my job and been happy with the paycheck, but at the same time i know i would want to ring my bank and be told the truth. In fact while i was working there if i rang the call centre with a query or request and i was fobbed off until i explained i was staff.
When i was sacked i received a letter and was told that the overdraft that had seen me through my month in hand had to be repaid immediately and as i had not been at the company long enough i would not be receiving any holiday pay or the rest of my wages to cover it.
As i still had a home to pay for and had just fallen pregnant i continued to up my overdraft limit and used it as a way of getting by. Despite knowing my financial situation they continued to increase this overdraft. I am a little to blame there.
Now i have been a stay at home mum for 2 years and my husband works a low paid menial job, we struggle to make ends meet at the best of times they are still trying to recover the overdraft amount which with charges and interest now amounts to over £2500. I get another threatening letter or phone call every week. I honestly wish i had never been so naive and thought a job that looked that good really would be. I am not the only person in this boat and know of at least one other ex-staff member on my team who felt the same way and left who would be willing to bring their story forward. I am sure i have some of the training leaflets still and they are eye-openers too. I would advise anyone never to use Barclays bank or any of their products or affiliated groups they do not have customer service at heart if they have a heart at all. It makes me sick to hear in the press that even through an economic crises that the public fund bailed them out of they still post huge profits and all the bonuses come at the expense of their ripped off customers and any staff who stand in their way. I wish i was the kind of person who could quieten my conscience and live a lucrative lifestyle being part of a multimillion dollar corporate rip-off.
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