Category: News

Customers save £85m with HSBC and First Direct overdraft alerts

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HSBC and First Direct have saved their customers a staggering £85m in charges since text alerts were introduced last year.

The text message warnings notify a customer when they are about to go into the minuses and allows them to avoid incurring expensive fees.

HSBC and First Direct introduced the scheme that removes the risk of incurring unauthorised overdraft charges a year ago and in its first month sent over 1.2m texts. By September 2015, the number had amounted to 1.5m.

Britain’s biggest bank, HSBC found that 72% of First Direct customers were sent the cautionary message were able to avoid the fees because of the text, as were 50% of HSBC customers. 

Previous to the scheme, the bank charged customers £25 every time they fell into the red, but the structure that has been in place for a year, alongside the SMS service, is £5 per day once entering an unauthorised overdraft; capped at a monthly fee of £80.

Since the bank’s revenue has fallen in the first nine months of 2015, one of the causes could be the reduction of income made from overdraft fees. Although some other banks also offer the text service, it’s unclear how it has affected revenues.

How to use Prove I Called when contacting HSBC or First Direct

If you need to get in touch with HSBC or First Direct, dial the HSBC contact number or the First Direct contact number today to be put through to a member of a customer service team. As one of the largest and most notable banking and financial services in the world, there are a wealth of reasons you could possibly want to use the HSBC contact number, and there a range of different numbers and departments in the organisation. First Direct is also a leading telephone and internet-based bank which serves 1.25 million customers throughout the UK. Understandably, many customers prefer to address personal details via phone. By calling through our Prove I Called number, you will be connected to the main switchboard but you will have the additional bonus of receiving proof that you made the call. This means that if you ever have to lodge a complaint with the bank, you can provide evidence of your call to back up your case. Call the HSBC contact number or the First Direct contact number today to have your issue resolved.

Facebook tests new in-app chat assistant

If you thought they couldn’t do much more you would  be wrong as social network giant Facebook are now testing a ‘digital assistant’ to run in-app with chat application Messenger.

If you’re thinking, “been done,” you would also be wrong as instead of helping you or telling you how to do things, ‘M’ does them for you. The single interface is currently in the beta phase and only available to around 10,000 users in San Francisco, but running almost like a concierge service, ‘M’ would, in theory, be able to replace all voice-recognition web searches and applications.

With the ability to ask a device to simply do something for us, the service is indicative of changes to come in terms of humans’ interaction with technology.

The software would lead the competition against contenders such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and the voice recognition systems Google integrates into apps. Facebook would gain the attention it’s been fighting to steal from Google and would have access to a mass of direct-response advertising which Google is currently leading in.

Direct-response advertisements are those that pop up when searching for things such as mobile phones, flight tickets and other purchases. A series of phone screenshots showing M—a digital assistant available through Facebook’s chat app, Facebook Messenger.

With Facebook being a familiar interface to 2.5 billion people, and Messenger to 700 million, the system would not already have an advantage over other voice-driven systems, but would have access to 700 million peoples’ conversations; accumulating the data required to make the chat-based assistant function.

However, as the system is being tested on a small scale the interactions are mostly powered by actual customer service agents hired to help ‘M’ handle the user requests, compared to the robotics of Google and Siri. This won’t work on the scale of 700 million users if the digital assistant is rolled out, but the plan is to use the interaction with users and input from the human service reps to eventually let it work autonomously.

Reporter, Alex Kantrowitz for Buzzfeed was among the testers in San Francisco. He outlines his first impressions here, showing the process of booking a flight with ‘M’ and asking for good local vegetarian restaurants. ‘M’ outlines cheapest flights, recommends changing the departure time to save additional money and shows Yelp reviews alongside restaurant recommendations. The flight is also payable in-app.

Using Prove I Called when contacting Facebook

As the biggest website in the world, the Facebook contact number is constantly being searched for by people for one reason or another. The majority of their customer service queries are dealt with through their web portal – but for advertising and marketing enquiries, they have a dedicated team to answer these problems. When you call through the Prove I Called line, you have the bonus of knowing that you can later ask for evidence of your call – something which could be ideal if you have a complaint with the company later on. Regardless of your problem, a call to the Facebook contact number should be able to help.

HMRC Tax office only answer 50% of customer service calls

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MPs have called on HMRC to vastly improve the customer service they provide after statistics show only half of the calls through to their helpline were answered in the first half of 2015.

A cross-party committee have produced a report asking Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to evaluate the impact of bad customer service on tax revenues and to “produce a detailed plan setting out how and when it will provide an acceptable standard of customer service.”

The Public Accounts Committee believe the failure to answer public’s phone calls is unacceptably poor and will hamper tax collection. The MPs also stated how corporate tax evaders are let off too lightly by the revenue, with many corporations failing to pay their fair share of tax.

Meg Hillier, chair of the committee, and an MP for the Labour Party, said: “HMRC must rapidly improve its customer service, previously described by the PAC as abysmal and now even worse – to the extent it could be considered a genuine threat to tax collection.”

Lin Homer, chief executive of HMRC also gave evidence which revealed the customer call response rate to be “dipping down towards 50% of calls answered” for the first half of the year.

Hillier, determined to pressurise the HMRC to improve, said: “It beggars belief that, having made disappointing progress on tax evasion and avoidance, the taxman also seems incapable of running a satisfactory service for people trying to pay their fair share.

The report also shows a number of prosecutions for offshore tax evasion, a number they consider “woefully inadequate,” and believe there could be substantially more of. Despite HMRC officials stressing the high costs and complexities of court cases, Hillier argues that these high-profile prosecutions would act as considerable deterrents for corporations attempting to evade tax with offshore accounts. “A prosecution is public; it’s there for everyone to see,” she said.

HMRC spoke of their disappointment in the Public Accounts Committee for overlooking some good results, including the collection of a record £517bn in tax revenues and the further reduction of UK’s “tax gap,” remaining one of the world’s lowest. The committee did acknowledge, however, that HMRC has reduced costs by from £3.4bn to £3.1bn since 2010; a period when tax revenue has been on the rise.

A spokesperson told The Guardian: “We explained to the committee that we hadn’t provided a consistent level of customer service in the first half of the year and we had recruited around 3,000 new staff to improve service levels. But these customer service issues did not affect our ability to collect tax.

“Last year, we secured £26bn of additional yield across all our compliance work, ensuring everyone pays what they owe. Tackling tax evasion is a top priority for HMRC and last year alone we successfully prosecuted a record 1,200 cases, resulting in 407 years of custodial sentences. We also routinely publish the number of tax avoidance schemes, which show a steady decline as a result of tough government action. We brought in more than £1bn from the first year of applying accelerated payments to avoidance cases and have closed many loopholes and secured tough new enforcement powers.”

How to use the HMRC contact number with Prove I Called

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are the UK’s Tax and Custom’s Authority. The HMRC are responsible for deducting Income Tax and National Insurance from an individual’s salary and is home to other services such as PAYE for employers. The HMRC Tax call centre should be able to deal with any query you have about taxes as it’s one of the largest organisations in the UK. The HMRC contact number is an essential tool when you need information about any of these services. If you call HMRC using the Prove I Called number, it gives an additional bonus of offering you proof that you made the call. By pinpointing the date, time and duration of your call, and where it was made from, we can give you evidence that may prove useful in the future if you have any disputes or queries with HMRC. Call the HMRC contact number or the HMRC Tax contact number today.

Ingenie release some strange insurance claim stories

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Insurance firm Ingenie put together a variation of claims that have caused laughter or astonishment while hammering home the importance of their black box telematics data service.

The box tracks the driver’s location and exactly how they were driving in order for the client to receive cheaper insurance when they have proved their driving skills are worthy.  The box then has naturally proved and disproved some of the policy holder’s stories.

Ingenie said: “Insurers get a lot of weird claims – and I mean WEIRD. Embarrassing stories, scary stories, and a lot of downright hilarious stories. We’ve seen it all.”

For your entertainment, the insurance company for 17-25 year-olds has created a “real or fake” game on their website, designed to show everyone just how bizarre some insurance claims can be. (SPOILERS BELOW).

Some of the favourite and true accounts of incidents include (the names have been changed to protect the anonymity of the customers):

  • Dave – Accused of being in a crash when he was actually sat eating a McDonald’s burger. His innocence was proved with his black box data.
  • Michelle – Tried to claim car theft, when in actual fact it had rolled down a hill where she was parked and crashed into another car.
  • Jeff – accused of speeding around Manchester’s ring road – his data validated that he was actually driving along the M25 in London at the time.
  • Helen – woke up to find the neighbour’s roof had blown off overnight and flattened her car.
  • Matt – blocked by the view of large hedge in a country lane, edged his car out cautiously to be met by an oncoming tractor which completely flattened his bonnet.
  • Stephanie – had her car stolen in the space of time between her dad leaving her keys on the car seat and him going in the house to fetch some golf clubs to put in the boot. Stephanie’s black box quickly located the stolen car which was parked on the road next to the local police station.
  • Tony (our personal favourite) – got into a road-rage related argument with another motorist who then proceeded to smash up Tony’s car with five of his colleagues and their shovels.

Ingenie’s CEO, Chris McKee, said: “We’ve put together some of the claims that have made us laugh or gasp in disbelief over the years, but there is a serious message here.

“Young drivers are particularly vulnerable to accepting responsibility for incidents that weren’t their fault – earlier this year we found that over 20% of young drivers have done so.

“Having black box data that proves exactly where they were and how they were driving at the time is incredibly valuable.”

Using Prove I Called’s Ingenie contact number

There a variety of different reasons you may need to use the Ingenie contact number. Though we hope you’ve not been subjected to a freak incident like one above, you may need to make a claim, cancel your policy or require quotes and renewals. The company specialises in insurance for young people so therefore covers a huge demographic – it’s highly likely they will receive a high volume of calls from people in the age bracket, and thankfully they are able to deal with it. What’s more though, is that if you call them via Prove I Called it means that you have proof of your call, which can be invaluable if you ever need to raise a dispute with the company. Call the Ingenie contact number to have your issue resolved quickly.

Metro Bank open drive-thru bank

Metro Bank opened an American drive-thru style branch in London last month.

The branch has two cashiers to allow clients to access services from their car, such as paying in cash and cheques and withdrawing funds, and is open every day – until 8pm during the week.

This will be the high street bank’s second drive-thru branch after the original convenience cash outlet opened in Slough in 2013 and has since proved a success.

Members of the bank, launched in 2010 by American businessman, Vernon Hill, can access their accounts (provided they have a car) in the retail park in Southall, West London.

There are now 37 stores based in London and South East UK with over 540,000 accounts. The firm had a record quarterly increase of 10 percent this year according to the bank’s second quarter figures.

James Baughan, the regional director at Metro Bank said: “Metro Bank’s model is simple – we want to give customers unparalleled levels of service and convenience whether that’s in-store, online by telephone or even from the seat of their car. We’re thrilled to bring a true banking alternative to the Southall community and look forward to welcoming both personal and business customers on our journey as we revolutionise UK banking.”

Phoning the Metro Bank contact number through Prove I Called

If you can’t receive the customer service you require in-branch or via one of their drive-throughs, phoning the Metro Bank contact number through our dedicated Prove I Called number may help you further down the line if you need to escalate a complaint. Metro Bank is Britain’s first new high street bank in over 100 years with the main focus of providing first class customer service to their clients in all banking needs. Metro bank differs from others as they concentrate on creating a very easy, user-friendly banking experience. Our Prove I Called service allows you to request your call details, allowing you to give evidence when and how you made the call, in the case of any future disputes. Make a call to the Metro Bank contact number today to resolve your issue.

Nationwide now offer cancer victims help with finances

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Nationwide now offer help with your finances when you are diagnosed with cancer.

Finances can quite quickly deteriorate when you fall ill and more often than not there is very little help out there in financial services sector. Alongside the stress of an illness, the worry of money should not have to be a problem, but additional costs or loss of earnings can make the ordeal an expensive experience.

Nationwide Building Society has teamed up with their long-term charity partner Macmillan to lessen the financial impact of cancer for those affected with their Specialist Support Service. The service offers Nationwide members free, tailored and confidential support and is a first for the industry.

Besides coping with cancer, victims face challenges with money because of changes in diet, clothing requirements, travel costs, increased energy bills to keep warm and a general lack of income. These additional costs can exceed around £550 a month, so Nationwide aim to help with the management of current accounts, mortgage payments and a range of financial aids.

Mandy Connor, a Nationwide member who was diagnosed with breast cancer this year, told The Independent:My diagnosis meant taking time off work for treatment and recovery, and that brought with it changes to my income I wasn’t prepared for. As a result, I was spending as much time worrying about my financial situation as my health.

“I was put in contact with the new Specialist Support Service who were friendly and fully understood my situation, offering to monitor my current account income and outgoings to ensure I didn’t fall behind on bills and payments. They cancelled overdraft fees and would keep an eye on payments so I didn’t need to.

“We now speak regularly to check how things are going and it’s a huge help at a difficult time. Rather than worrying about my money, I can focus on getting better and getting back to work.”

Nationwide and Macmillan have worked in partnership for over 20 years, and between employees and members they have raised £7.1 million for the cancer-care charity. Each member of every branch team has received training with Macmillan about how to communicate with people affected by cancer, covering the circumstances they may face as a way of ensuring that their “members don’t have to face cancer or its financial consequences on their own.”

In 2014, Nationwide won the Corporate National Partnership of the Year at the Financial Institution at the Charity Times Awards due to the funding they provided for Macmillan financial grants which aim to support people experiencing problems with mortgages or rental arrears. In the last year alone they delivered advice to over 4,500 people affected by cancer through over 15,000 interventions, identifying almost £3 million in financial gains.

Chief executive at Macmillan, Lynda Thomas, urges other banks to follow suit. She told The Independent: “The banking industry has a vital role to play in helping to minimise the financial impact of cancer yet the majority of people with cancer report they are not receiving the help and support they need. The whole industry must come together and adopt these solutions so that no one living with cancer faces financial worries alone.”

How to use Prove I Called when calling the Nationwide contact number

Hopefully, you won’t need to use the Nationwide contact number regarding an illness, but there a variety of different reasons you might need to. As the world’s largest building society, Nationwide’s number is the best way to contact them with any issue you might have. When you call using our Prove I Called number, you will also receive proof that you made the call, which can be highly useful if you ever need to raise a dispute with the company.
By providing you with the precise date, time, duration and number details of your call, our service will back you up if you need to give evidence of your call. Whatever your query today, call the Nationwide contact number to speak to a member of their team.

 

Man billed £17,500 by Northumbrian Water ‘in error’

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A man in Northumbria was shocked to find a huge sum of £17,500 had been taken from his bank account by Northumbrian Water.

Mark Searcey, from South Shields was startled to see the utilities firm had withdrew the large amount last month without prior warning when checking his finances online.

The 30-year-old who suffers from learning difficulties and a has a condition called Moyamoya which effects the flow of blood to the brain initially thought the letter was an administration error.

He immediately contacted his bank who cancelled his direct debit payments with the water firm and the amount was refunded.

However, he received a letter four days later from the utility company who were demanding the bill be paid. On top of the £17,500 they added £4.80 to the bill for cancelling the direct debit.

A spokesperson from the water company blamed the issue on a “leak at the property, estimated meter readings and difficulty in contacting the customer.”

They said the unusually high bill was flagged up though the bills asking for payment were sent out ‘in error.’

The spokesperson also told the Sheilds Gazette that a bill was sent out before the money was taken from the account despite Mr Searcey insisting he didn’t receive it.

Mr Searcey said: “It just gave me a shock. I was checking my bank account when I noticed £17,500 had been withdrawn.

“I had to look at it again as I couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t afford to pay that amount. There was no letter warning me about it. The money was just taken out in one go.”

Mr Searcey believes the large figure was a miscalculation due to a faulty water meter and a leak. Though a Northumbrian Water worker had confirmed before the bill incident that his water meter was running even when water facilities were not being used in the flat, Mr Searcey was seemingly still charged.

He added: “At first I thought it was a laugh, but after I contacted my bank to get the money refunded into my account I got a letter from Northumbrian Water still demanding the money be paid.

“I have a range of disabilities and health issues. This is the kind of stress I don’t need. I just want it to get sorted out.

A Northumbrian Water spokesperson added: “We will be visiting him to fully check his supply for leaks and his bill will be recalculated based on his average usage.

“We have agreed a payment plan with the customer for future bills and are sorry for any inconvenience.”

Use the Northumbrian Water contact number on Prove I Called

Use the Northumbrian Water Contact number to call the company responsible for 2.7 million people’s water and sewerage services. As the utility provider covers Northumberland, Durham, Tyne and Wear, and parts of North Yorkshire, there is a high number of people contacting them for a range of different reasons. Whether you have an issue with your bill or have a problem related to water mains or sewerage, a member of their customer service team should be able to help. When you call the Northumbrian Water contact number using one of our special Prove I Called numbers, you get a range of added benefits.
The site allows customers a chance to get proof that they did indeed dial a company if any issues crop up further down the line. This could be ideal if you need to raise a complaint or escalate an issue – as it will certainly mean that you have an extra piece of information in your arsenal. Call the Northumbrian Water contact number today.

Land Registry announce the average London house price

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According to the latest figures released by the Land Registry, the average price of a home in London sits at £499,997 and will continue to rise.

House prices in the North East fall on the opposite end of the scale, falling 0.3% from the previous year, meaning the average price in the region stands at a comparatively small £99,559.

The average price of property across England and Wales rose by 5.3%, the data discloses – the average price of a property valued at £186,553.

Centre for Economics and Business Research blamed the consistent rise in prices on the lack of properties actually for sale.

This year saw the fastest annual rise recorded in London at 9.6%, with prices between just August and September rising by 1.8%.

With a gap of £400,438 between London and the cheapest region, director of Property Partner, Rob Weaver, talks of the difficulties for people wishing to buy in London. He said: “That average prices in the capital are just a whisker off half a million pounds reinforces how buying in the capital has become a pipe dream for most first-time buyers.”

How to use Prove I Called when contacting the Land Registry

If you need to dial the Land Registry contact number, you can do so now. Their call centre is responsible for dealing with pretty much everything to do with land, and by calling you can have everything from applications through to existing claims and appeals resolved quickly. The advantage of doing this through the Prove I Called line is that your call will be logged (well, all the details such as time of call and duration will be), meaning that it can be sent back to you as proof that you called – something which may prove crucial if the matter rises to a level of complaint. Call the Land Registry contact number now.

Flybe increase flexibility for travellers with new fare

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The new Flybe initiative ‘Get More’ means customers are able to change flights on the day of travel with no additional charge.

The flight switch initiative will be particularly attractive for business travellers who will be able to book onto alternative flights on the day of travel, subject to availability. Business passengers count for 40% of the airline’s customers, and the new offer could see that figure increase.

If you wish to catch a later flight you must contact the Flybe contact centre at least one hour before the departure of your original flight in order for you to rebook onto a later one.

The ‘Get More’ tickets also include: SMS booking confirmation, advance standard seat selection, loyalty reward points and 20kg of hold luggage.


Using Prove I Called when calling the Flybe contact number

Need to use the Flybe contact number? There are a variety of reasons you would need to call an airline number, whether it’s a query about bookings, amendments to an existing flight or to raise an issue about the support you have had from the company. We have a range of contact numbers for airlines, including: Thomas Cook, American Airlines, British Airways, Jet2, KLM, Lufthansa and Monarch. Dial through Prove I Called and you will be put through to their customer service teams via our dedicated line, and they should be able to assist you quickly. What’s more, when you call through the dedicated Prove I Called line, you will have the security of knowing that your call can later be tracked for evidence – perfect for times when a company’s phone number team claim you didn’t call. Dial now and get the help you need from the Flybe contact number.

Ocado email scam robbed family of £14,000

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A fraudulent email was sent to thousands of people in October, impersonating online food retailer Ocado.

The scammers sent the convincing email to both customers and non-customers of the site, which left the call centre swamped with calls by confused people targeted.

It is believed that the emails related customer orders with malicious software, attaching a fake receipt to the body which downloaded malware onto the computer if clicked.

One family from Harrow saw £14,000 cleared from their family business account after falling victim to the con.

Jackie Farmer called Ocado and was told there were 40 people ahead of her in the telephone queue. Once she got through to the customer service team the agent told her not to open the attachment. On telling them she already had the team member said there was nothing to worry about.

The 52-year-old said her husband had forwarded her the email believing it to be a genuine order on the site. Later in the day she noticed the cash had been taken from the account and only when a computer engineer identified the Ocado email was it that she realised.

Mrs Farmer was angry at Ocado for not notifying people of the problem on its site as soon as they realised what the scammers were doing, as well as the badly-trained customer service agent’s advice.

The theft could have been avoided if the agent had told her the computer was likely to have a virus, which would have ensured Mrs Farmer did not use her online banking.

Ocado offered an apology with £50 as a goodwill gesture, but Mrs Farmer’s costs were estimated at £2000 including the cost of phone calls and computer engineers.

Computer security expert Graham Cluley said: “Normally the malware will lurk on the victim’s computer, waiting for them to log into their online bank account and grab the details at that point.”

A spokesperson for Ocado said: “We advise customers to be on guard for scams of this kind and be careful about opening attachments.

“We also issued a warning on our website once the incident was made known to us.

“We have offered Ms Farmer a goodwill gesture as we regret that in this instance, the explanation of the fraudulent email given by our call centre did not live up to the high standards we set ourselves.

Why phone the Ocado contact number through Prove I Called?

Need to call the Ocado contact number? As one of the largest supermarket delivery services on the web, the company have to deal with hundreds of thousands of customer service enquiries from their users each day. By using this number, our unique platform will mean that you have access to proof that you called the number and spoke to a member of their team, theoretically. This information can prove to be useful in any future conflicts you may have with the company, especially related to complaints or queries, though hopefully you will not fall victim to any fraudulent emails soon. Whatever your issue, call the Ocado contact number today.