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    Service meltdown at NS&I costs £1m in compensation

    NS&I forced to pay out almost £1m in compensation as result of customer service meltdown

    National Savings & Investments was forced to pay out almost £1million in compensation as a result of last year’s customer service meltdown. 

    Treasury-backed NS&I paid £920,550 to frustrated customers in ‘goodwill gestures’ to compensate them for poor service. 

    Complaints in the year to April 2021 more than doubled to 43,525, with customers waiting up to 40 minutes to get through on the phone, days to withdraw their money, and weeks for complaints to be answered. 

    Meltdown: Treasury-backed NS&I paid £920,550 to frustrated customers in ‘goodwill gestures’ to compensate them for poor service

    Goodwill payments started at £25, but were higher for some. The most common reasons for compensation were due to issues with payment of funds, sales and general customer service. 

    NS&I’s customer service department came under intense pressure as is it offered market-beating rates at the start of the pandemic before slashing them in November last year, leading to a surge of deposits followed by a mass exodus. 

    It saw a net increase in deposits of £38.3billion between April and September 2020 from income-starved savers, followed by a £9.5 billion net decrease in the following three months. 

    The Mail on Sunday was deluged with emails and letters from customers who were at their wits’ end after torturous dealings with NS&I call centres – when they were able to get through. 

    NS&I says call waiting times are now normal and complaints have been dealt with. It has failed to raise rates since they were cut in November, leaving savers continuing to search for more generous alternatives. 

    Savers looking for easy access to their money can currently get 0.5 per cent interest from providers including Atom Bank and Charter Savings Bank. 

    But there is not a single savings account available that currently beats inflation. 

    On Friday, NS&I said: ‘In the year to April 2021, NS&I experienced exceptional demand and our customer service fell below our usual high standards. 

    ‘However, NS&I has currently restored call waiting times to normal levels and cleared the backlog of complaints. 

    ‘We are very sorry that some customers have had difficulty contacting us or managing their savings with NS&I in the last year.’

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