Over the last few months I have experienced some truly unacceptable behaviour from Dankse Bank, which up until this year I had been entirely happy with. Some of which would have probably been illegal back in my home country of Britain. After many attempts to pro-actively solve the issues I mention below I was left with the only recourse of writing about it in the hope of drumming up some bad publicity for them. It seems because they are the largest bank in Denmark that they can afford to ignore anything that is inconvenient to them. What follows has occurred in the period between May and December of 2012:
It all started back in May when without warning they changed the overdraft agreement on my Basis+ checking account. As described on their website one of the features for this account is:
“An overdraft facility of DKK 10,000 with no set-up costs – may be raised subject to agreement with us”
I had never breached this amount, I believe the most I had ever used was around 6000 kr. Then when I tried to pay my bills in May I kept getting an error saying there was insufficient funds available. When I phoned up I was told (without any written warning on their part) that the overdraft had been removed because “we had used it too much”, with an implication we were abusing it. After arguing down the phone at a few people, including a manager, we finally got a new agreement upgrading the Basis+ account to a Danske 24/7 account with a 20,000 kr overdraft limit, as well as a new MasterCard credit card with a 10,000 kr limit. As stated in section 16 of their terms and conditions stopping my overdraft even breaks their own policy:
“We may change the card conditions without giving notice if the change is to your advantage. Otherwise, changes are subject to three months’ notice. We will inform you of changes electronically or by letter.”
Sometime passed until we hit the next snag. On the 22nd of September we had the funds to pay off our MasterCard balance in full. However after doing this we found that Dankse Bank had set up a transfer for the full amount to go out on the 1st of October. We called, explained the situation and tried to get this duplicate transfer removed. We were called back and told it would not go through. A few days later we saw the duplicate transfer was still showing on the eBanking website and went through the same process again, where we were assured over the phone it would not go through. 1st of October hits and the duplicate transfer goes through, removing money in error that was needed to pay my direct debits (PBS in Denmark). This caused one of them to fail as it took me over my overdraft limit and I was charged 150kr. I called Dankse Bank again and finally got through to a woman who actually could do something and put the money back into the Danske 24/7 account so we could use it, as it is not possible to transfer or pay bills via the MasterCard online.
When I emailed Dankse Bank to get the fee refunded via their secure mail system online I asked them why this duplicate transfer had been set up. Their reply was there was 100% automatic repayment that is calculated on the 20th of each month. Since we had paid the balance via bank transfer after the 20th the duplicate was already in place. Now I don’t know about you but I have NEVER heard of a credit card with automatic 100% repayment. The whole point of a credit card it that it can be paid in instalments with a minimum amount required each month. 100% is NOT a credit card! Their argument in the end was that was just the way things were done in Denmark. This again was an arbitrary change in our agreement without notice as we had not encountered this issue between May and September 2012. The 100% repayment was still out of odds with what their website says about the monthly repayment amount required:
“10 or 15 per cent of the invoiced amount – but always at least DKK 250. [OR] a fixed amount – but always at least 5 per cent of the credit limit.”
In their email when they explained the automatic repayment they said the following:
“The MasterCard is a Creditcard, with automatic repayment. You can choose to pay 10% every month, but if you do so, the credit won’t be without interests (sic), as it is now.
So I will recommend you to keep your card, as it is now – that is the cheapest solution for you.”
After reading this on the 14th of October (10 days after I emailed them) we knew that this would cause us a problem for December as we had to charge a large amount to the Master Card again (we waited until after the 20th of October to give us another month). We tried for 7 weeks to get this resolved in good time. This is where Danske Bank royally screwed up. First of all they just flat out ignored our emails requesting the automatic repayment be changed to 10% as requested via our emails. After this had gone on long enough that we were within a couple weeks of approaching deadline of the 20th again we started calling them.
The banking system in Denmark is very “Branch Orientated” and decisions like these to flip a switch in a database from 100% to 10% require that only a person in your branch specifically assigned to this kind of enquiry handle the case – causing a huge unnecessary bottle neck in the decision chain. This turned out to be the person who had been ignoring my emails. Whenever I called I was told no-one was available and that someone will call me back. When this happened 4 or 5 times we demanded to stay on the line until we could speak to a manager. When we finally got through after much raised voices and frustration the manager finally forced the guy who should have done this a month ago to change the automatic repayment. Unfortunately it was a day too late (maybe even by a few hours!) and he said that it wouldn’t take effect until January, meaning the full balance was due on December 1st which completely defeated the point. We had to get him to cancel all my direct debits/PBS transfers so we didn’t get charged again. Here was his solution to the transfer problem that was created entirely by his inaction:
“I’ve now changed your MasterCard to the 10% option instead of 100%. But, unfortunatly I can’t do it so it works from the 1st of december, which means that there will be a transfer between your 24/7 account and the MasterCard of XXXX,XX kr.Therefore I have to ask you to go to an ATM on the first of december and withdraw the money from the MasterCard and put it back in to you (sic) 24/7 account.After that it will work with 10% payment (from the 1st of january) The withdrawal causes a fee – a fee I’ll make sure to refund december 2nd!”
This was entirely unacceptable: First the 1st of December was a Saturday when the banks weren’t open (he couldn’t even check the calendar to get the first working day of the month right!). Second there is a cash limit withdrawal meaning I would actually have to go out 4-5 days in a row to get enough cash out to deposit it. Third we had little confidence he would actually refund any of the fees considering his past behaviour. Fourth the bank in my local town has closed down so for me to get to the nearest branch to pay the money back into my account I have to go to a town I never have reason to go to, which is a 25 min bus ride, plus a train and a walk half way down the high street. I am disabled so doing this in the cold weather can cause me a fair amount of pain, besides which I can’t afford to lose half my day, everyday for a week when I’m supposed be spending my time finding a new job just because he was incompetent to begin with. I replied:
“Can you explain why you want to us to go find 4-5 ATMs to get the full amount of money we need out to put in my 24/7 account (which by the way is a real pain for many reasons) when last month (when the credit card was paid twice by mistake) they just set up a transfer from the mastercard back to my 24/7 account? Why was that possible last month but not now? Please can you just set up a transfer from mastercard to 24/7 account (like we did last month) for 90% of the balance paid, as we said before ATM solution is unacceptable.”
We got nothing back from him. We tried calling again and got promises of call backs that never came, as well as promises of call backs after hearing we had promises before that never came – that also never came. In the end we think we made 15-20 calls wasting much of our time and energy for the days in question trying to get this resolved. At no point was it possible in all these times we called to get through to a person with the authority to do this. It was a complete stonewall. Of course the full balance came out on the 1st of December leaving us way over my overdraft limit. I decided to see if this would grant us an audience with someone who could handle it. It did not. The closest we came was the standard “you are overdrawn letter” on the 15th of December that the computer sends out.
We tried sending a fresh mail in the hope someone else would get it and handle it better. In the end the only response we got was:
“It is not possible to make a transfer from your MasterCard account [back to your 24/7 account]”
We have of course complained to Dankse Bank in writing but since they are investigating themselves we doubt anything will come of it. They haven’t acknowledged the complaint and we have heard nothing to suggest it is being looked at. So we decided not to waste any more of our time or energy on it. I’ve decided to change branch whenever I have a chance to get to the one nearest me to see if it was just that my branch in Store Kongensgade was a bad egg. Until then I’ve opened an account with another bank entirely called Nordea as they have a large office in my local town so the trip is nowhere near as bad. As soon as I can pay off my debts at Danske Bank I will transfer my custom to Nordea entirely.
I would really appreciate it if you would spread this post around and drum up as much bad press as we can. I doubt it will make a dent in their profits but it would be interesting to see if it finally get a human response out of them.