Santander, the Spanish banking giant, has admitted that up to 35,000 UK customers may have been sent bank statements featuring other people’s personal details and transactions.
The bank, which has now taken over Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley’s savings business, says that thousands of people could have been hit by the mistake, which occurred during the statement printing process.
Current account statements dated 18 December are said to have been affected by the error, with pages two and three showing account information and transactions that do not match the rest of the document, and in fact belong to another customer entirely.
‘An atrocious year for Santander’
When it heard of the problem, Santander informed the Financial Services Authority and apologised to its customers. The bank has stressed that individuals affected by the statement mistake are not at an increased risk of fraud.
However, Which? Money editor James Daley says: ‘This has been an atrocious year for Santander. The integration of Alliance & Leicester has resulted in a catalogue of serious errors – of which this is just the latest. On this occasion, it is guilty of sending peoples’ account details and personal spending habits to complete strangers, information many marketing firms would pay big money for.
‘We’ve had a continuous stream of complaints about Santander to our Money Helpline, and it continues to rank amongst the worst companies in the country in Which? customer satisfaction surveys.
‘For anyone that’s been a victim of this mistake – or others – our advice is to vote with your feet and take your business elsewhere. There are a small number of banks that offer good service, and the only way Santander will get the message is if it’s customers switch when they’re treated badly.’
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