Friday, 5 April 2013

Nationwide and DDs bouncing

So, anyone else with a Nationwide account had this.

You pay someone by DD, and some of the DD collections are bounced by the bank with "AMOUNT NOT DUE".

The DD rules are clear - that error is for when the collection is within 2 days of the DD being set up by AUDDIS (the paperless system for DD instructions) or because the payer (you) say you did not get the right notice (i.e. collected too soon).

As a DD collector we have had this a few times recently with customers with Nationwide accounts. We are trying to reverse engineer there rules. We tested with a member of staff after a couple of customers had issues.

It looks like they bounce any DD that is 2 or 3 working days after the first collection. Well, that is the guess so far. It could be some "rate limiting" thing, e.g. more than 3 DDs in 3 days or some such. We have more tests to do.

The problem is that we launched a new tariff with very strict credit control - bounce a DD and you are cut off until sorted. We have had to somewhat relax that logic as a customer with a Nationwide account apparently bounced a DD when in fact it was all done by their bank.

Having some sort of logic for rate limiting is not totally daft, although the DD guarantee makes it a tad redundant - but we have people who sign up, are invoiced a connection, and a few days later invoiced an ongoing bill, so two DDs close together. In some cases they buy another service like VoIP, and bingo - three DDs in a short space of time. All notified as per the DD rules.

The real problem we have is the bullshit from Nationwide. Sorry, but that is what it seems like to me. It is bullshit - and does not stand up to simplest of checks.

1. They tell customer that A&A did not send the collection, our fault. We have proof they rejected the DD, so that is a lie.
2. When confronted with the XML of the bounce from BACS they say we only "set up" the DD on the first payment, and not weeks before. That is also a lie.
3. When confronted with a screen shot of their own on-line banking showing that is a lie, and DD was set up before, they invent new problems. They invent the idea of a DD instruction having an "end date".

They are totally unable to explain their actions. The last straw was this imaginary final collection date ("end date"). We have worked it out, it is on their screen as "last collection", we suspect. We even asked for the date for a load of other DDs set up on the account, and all were in the past. Clearly "last" collection is not a "final" date but just the date the last collection was made. But it shows they will invent bullshit to excuse themselves. They also blamed "keying errors" by A&A or our sponsoring bank, but could not explain the two payments that did go through. They seem adamant that the sponsoring bank are involved in AUDDIS submissions even though we are "direct submitters" to BACS/VOCA.

So how to fix - we are working through channels, via BACS (who confirm that error is only valid where payer rejects or within 2 days of AUDDIS), and via sponsoring bank. No idea if it will work.

However, we think we may have a simpler approach. It is a bank error, so covered by DD guarantee for consequential losses. So I am tempted to say that the admin fee for a bounced DD with that error is £1000+VAT. That way, anyone suffering this gets to claim from their bank, involving the financial ombudsman if needed. If we get any that are actually paid, we'll split it with you as a £500 credit off future service bills. Anyone wanting to try this is welcome to talk to me on irc - we'll formally agree the charge and then submit the fully notified DD collections.

Wunch of....

P.S. it is probably not valid to make up an admin fee to share with our customer, sadly, but I think we should at least charge our standard admin fee if they don't sort it.


  1. Nationwide seem to have some of the tightest "anti-fraud" rules around. I only ever seem to get online payments rejected from my nationwide credit card and not from any others.

  2. Nationwide have also migrated all their banking systems to SAP to allegedly provide a real-time service. It's a miracle it works at all. Their new web banking interface has all kinds of odd behaviours on non-IE browsers.

    Just waiting for a DD collection from you for my Nationwide account in the next few days. I wonder if it will bounce? There will be another one shortly after for VoIP too, so quite likely :)

  3. My wife is having problems with the issuing of a credit card by the Nationwide. The person delegated by the Chief Executive to answer my wife's letter replied that there was a "System anomaly".

  4. Second recent Nationwide problem:

    A few days ago, my payment with a Nationwide credit card to renew, to an Italian ISP, via an Italian bank it seems, was rejected. I ignored it - these systems fail for all sorts of reasons - and paid with another credit card.
    A message was later left on my answer phone supposedly from the Nationwide saying I should ring them. The number was not on the list of contact numbers on the Nationwide website. There was no indication in the message that it was a credit card problem. Twenty minutes after I rang the number on the back of my debit card, I was put through to the credit card people who told me my account had been suspended and they would now reinstate it

  5. I'm afraid I refuse to bank with Nationwide these days after repeated incidents of "no you can't withdraw your money sir" (due to them cocking up) and a complete lack of customer service - one of which was where they failed to execute a CHAPS transfer and I found out a week later on the day I was exchanging contracts on a house (which the CHAPS transfer was supposed to be paying for!) - the callcentre said that the branch needed to sort it out, the branch refused to talk to me on the phone because "there are customers in the branch so we don't have time to talk to you at the moment"; so it ended up with me taking an afternoon off work and actually driving to the branch in question. Some time later after they had investigated and declared that they didn't know what had gone wrong, the only kind of compensation they were interested in offering was not to charge me for the CHAPS transaction that they hadn't carried out in the first place. So I closed all my accounts with them and went elsewhere.

  6. Ah, yes, Nationwide. Who I'd had an account with since my teenage years but some 40 years later when locked out of their online banking - which they'd quite happily let me set up - wouldn't reinstate it because they didn't have proof of my date of birth so I'd have to take some ID into a branch, only they don't have a branch in Gozo which is where I was staying for several months. I'm only hanging on with them for the inevitable demutualisation.

  7. Talk to the guys at GoCardless ( They've had a lot of experience with DD funsies, and might be able to offer some insight...

  8. I once had a letter claiming to be from Barclaycard wanting me to call some phone number about a questionable transaction - printed on bogroll with a bad copy of their logo, JPEG artefacts and all. "Hey, phishing's gone snail-mail ... just as well they did such a bad job, or people might fall for it!" I thought. Needless to say, my faith in large companies' ability to print their own logos properly was misplaced: it was genuine.

    In this particular case, batching up the charges seems to make sense, particularly for initial connection and the first month's rental (and perhaps explains why I've seen places using credit cards for the initial payment, rather than direct debit: faster processing, without all this hassle, then use DD for the recurring charges.)