I have taken my time and considered this email fully before sending, and the only reason this is sent is Revolut have left me no choice and in a situation that is completely out of control with no sense of empathy or reason for the situation you have placed me and my company in. Maybe somebody who I have addressed my email will see a level of sense in the situation that you have caused and provide resolution. The problem is I am not alone and while I do have any detailed understanding of other user’s individual cases these can be found openly on the various social media groups.
My email is sent without prejudice but also in desperation, due to the fact that I have been left no choice by the actions of your company.
All I am asking is for access to our business funds to be able to operate as a business especially with the current issues facing everybody. At this point, I don't care if you allow access to my account for a period of time or you close my account and return our funds to us. My expectation either is done within 24 hours of receiving this email. Further to this I will have no choice but to raise a complaint to which I expect there will be no resolution and then have to follow up with the Financial Ombudsman and then look for further recourse. By the time that has happened I will not have a company to operate. As you are holding all of our operational capital as we were using your services for our day to day bank account. This is why it has now become unreasonable.
This email is factual to my best ability as it has been a long stressful four days and is a serious complaint I have with Revolut finding ourselves as a company in a very precarious position after 4 days of attempting to gain access to my account.
BitBahn my company is a managed service provider and ISP providing fully managed infrastructure, delivery and connectivity to home workers in Bedfordshire on our broadband platforms through to delivery of key wireless infrastructure in healthcare facilities in the UK. Our website details more of what we do, you will probably have used our services in a certain high end department stores, hotels or pubs in the UK without your knowledge.
In Dec 2019 we took the decision to move our business banking to Revolute based on the reviews and the industry awards that have been provided currently I now believe this is the wrong decision to have been made. After moving 100% of our transactions to the platform Revolut both integrated and provided the platform that did free up our operation quite successfully especially with the open banking API.
We have used our Revolut Grow Business account since December quite happily transacting receiving payments from our customers and paying our suppliers and staff. I myself and our company are fully aware of the benefits of technology and what it can bring to an organization.
3 Months in I would never expect to find myself in a position where my bank is withholding all of our funds 67k as a small business we have been effectively shut down and at the mercy of Revolut without formal notice or a method to resolve the issue in what is a reasonable way. I determine reasonable in a way that has no detrimental outcome against our business.
At this time it further compels me to the add that the stress and anguish that Revolut is currently placing on me is extremely detrimental to my health especially in the current climate and with the global issues that are currently playing out this is not helping. Even with the guidance from the FCA https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/coronavirus-covid-19 on how financial institutions are meant to handle their customers and help them where possible in this due to covid-19, leaves me astounded in how I have been treated with the zero levels of empathy and stonewall approach when I am expecting nothing more than access to our funds and account.
My email is to appeal to you for a solution that is amicable before I raise this as a complaint as this could be resolved quickly without further problem and this I appeal to you for Empathy.
On the 11th of March at 5 am in the morning I was sent an email message, which I did not initially see until late on the 13th that our account had been restricted due to a document that had not been provided in relation to a transaction on our account and a compliance issue.
I assume we have met the fatal flaws of the over zelous Revolut AML platform.
Yes, we had been requested to provide this previously and yes I had quite incorrectly had forgotten to provide this again as requested, we are only human. One of the challenges with technology is how humans interact with it and operate on a day to day basis. Especially when dealing with a small business owner that is busy running his business and supplying his customers.
I will note that in the guidance Revolut is required to best endeavor that notifications are provided to their customer. Notifications against the account are presented either with the browser app or sent as an email, but from what I can tell messages are not sent to the app which is my usual method of access. They should be presented in a way that they are presented to the user clearly for receipt. This means messages should be presented clearly at the front of the application whether it is the browser or the mobile app at login. Such is the case with other online banking applications. If I had received or seen the message, I would have acted upon the request based on the renewed promptly. Hence I am now requesting help at the upper levels to resolve this.
On 13th in the morning our accounts person who deals with the day to day processes of payments and the banking notified me that she could not login to the bank account to process payments that needed to be made. Initially, this was thought to be a password issue as we were unaware of any other problems. This led me to attempt to login to be met with the same problem.
Below is a chronicled timeline of what I have had to deal with over the last 4 days without any resolution.
On Friday at 11:30 am I spoke to the first agent on the support system, I do not remember the name and went through the process of explaining there was an issue accessing the account. One of the questions related to a question that I could only know if I had looked at the account recently, this is fine for security but a problem when you are restricted from the account. So I reset and started again.
I spoke to the second agent Melodie starting at 12:32 passed security and was then told that she needed to consult with another team as to the problem, at this stage I thought great we can get this resolved. I asked the question as to why I could not access my account and by 12:50 I was told that this could not be provided to me. I question this asking for a phone number to call so I could discuss it. I will not section 22 of the business terms and conditions do state that you can “please phone us on +44 (0)203 322 83 52” (this number does not work and cannot be called) I was told that when we have information to share it will be provided. Melodie finished the conversation leaving me with no idea when I would receive further communication or how.
At 12:57 I started the conversation yet again around why I could not access my account and ended up speaking to Olaf. Cleared security. And was told that access to my account had been temporarily limited due to a security review. This would be fixed as soon as possible. He offered to reach out to the team to speed this up a little. I asked why I had not been told or notified. I further asked how they would reach out to me as I don’t have access to the app. I was told that he understood my frustration and as the account was being reviewed, but could not provide a time frame, but that it would be done quickly. With me pushing he offered to escalate the chat to the relevant team that would help further. He explained there was a high demand that I should wait. I noticed the chat window changed to looking for Agent and then connected to the compliance team. I thought great we are getting somewhere. I left the chat widow receiving the automated response and was no further forward.
I connected with a few Revolut staff on linkedin looking for help, the only person to actually respond was a ex employee who told me the following.
"I advise you to complain to FCA, Revolut is shit at customer support, And they are dealing with people's real money! You are definitely not the only one"
At 14:26 I sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to help with my issue.
At 15:07 I started again and was connected to Marvin in the Business Team. I explained I had an urgent issue with our account based on a security review, but also explained that we had suppliers and staff to pay. He did say on the compliance team could help and could we go through security. He then explained I needed to supply some documentation around the compliance questions asked in Jan. I provided the answers and the documentation around the questions and a level of explanation. Two of the transactions relate to entities that are intra-company and the third around a payment that had the incorrect payee details. I understand that Revolut has to understand its customers, customers as part of their e-banking license. The information would be forwarded to the relevant team and Marvin would not be able to help me any further.
I had left open the compliance team chat window in the background.
At 17:19 I connected to support again as I had not received any update. I was connected to Ricky. I asked if he could help me get a response from the compliance team. I explained I had another chat windows open but it was nobody responding to me, I asked to talk to someone in compliance. We went through security and I was told that he had warned them about my case but due to the high volume of chats they were very busy. I explained I had been trying to resolve my problem since 11 am and I was getting nowhere. I was told they are doing their best to get back to me. I asked to have my expectation set as I needed to pay my staff, Ricky said he would pass this on to the team. I pushed for a manager and was told that my frustration was understood and that they would reach back to me as soon as possible. I pushed for a time frame again I was told there is not one. So I asked for a manager again and was told there are none available. I was transferred to the compliance bot again.
At 18:40 I connected to support again as I had not received any update. I was connected with Timmy from the business team. I explained there was an issue with the account and it had been escalated to the compliance team and that I was waiting to at least pay my staff. He said he understood and explained that as it had already been escalated to the team that they would contact me when they had feedback. I asked when this might be, I was told that there is no specific time frame. I pushed for an answer and was told there is not one. This I do not find reasonable. I requested to be put through to a manager and was told there is not one. I was told there is no one available and he was too busy helping somebody else to deal with me further. I suggested that he found one I could talk to. At this point, I have transferred to Tom a manager. Finally, maybe I can get this resolved. He explained there were updates on the account and that I needed to login to review the questions. I explained that I had no access and the account was locked. We went through security. He explained that Revolut had requested an invoice or contract for between the companies relating to a transaction. I explained they had already been sent in Jan to another agent. He asked if I could supply them again as they don’t have them. I supplied all the documents requested and a screenshot against the incorrect payment going out and returning 2 days later. He thanked me for the documents and assured me they would be passed on to the relevant team and would be resolved as soon as possible. At this point, I am thinking great this is moving forwards. I asked when is soon as possible. Explained that I had staff to pay. To which I was told it takes more time, great please can you set my expectation on this as I cannot keep telling my staff they will be paid soon? I was told to check the status of the application by Monday. My response to this was that Revolut was refusing me access to my funds without reason or notice. I pushed that we had our staff to pay. Tom then explained that on the 11th my access had been restricted. I asked where that notification was as I did not recall seeing anything on the 11th. I checked my email to find the email stating I had a new message and to login to view, which I cannot do as I don’t have access. Tom provided me with the message log from my account. I responded with
“Ok yes I can see that but why are you asking for the information again that was supplied already. The invoice was supplied for both companies on the 17-01-2020 and the discussion about an unknown sender is there. All information had been previously supplied.”
Tom apologized that it had not been available for me to see, however now that it had been passed to the right team he had asked them to prioritize this. I then pushed that in the log you could see the documents had already been provided and I wanted a time frame due to needing to pay staff. The response came back as this is a time-consuming process, that he understood our situation, but would have to wait for the final review. I asked when this would happen. He was unable to tell me which I find unacceptable. I asked if funds could be transferred out of my account to pay staff, but this was not possible during the review process. So I reverted back to my question of when the review would happen. I expressed my frustration on other FCA regulated banks and how this would not happen. I explained that as a company we are legally required to pay our staff on time and on a date that we agree. He explained that he would escalate but due to the weekend, it would take longer. He explained the relevant team worked on a Monday – Fridays so I asked what time. The response was from 10 am on Monday. I made a statement that if there was an AML flag on my account that there is a genuine mistake here which is having a massive issue on us as a business, that is neither justified or fair. Tom came back with “Lee, our main priority is to resolve our customers’ issues as soon as possible in accordance with the regulations that we have to apply. I ultimately see the importance of the case for you and however, from my side, I would not be able to assist further as it is entirely the other team's scope. I can assure you that I have made the request to prioritize the case.” I then stated this was fair and asked how I should get an update as I could not login to the account. He explained that I should do it through the app.
Friday the 13th left me both mentally and emotionally exhausted so left if for the night as I thought I had some level of resolution.
Saturday morning brings me further stress by seeing the number of people with the same issue as me. Money locked in their account for no real valid reason. I even starting to see the problem further with users never able to recover their money, blocked from social media and blocked from contact.
09:15 I was dropped the details and mobile number for one of your staff so I called him, I was suprised I got a answer, i explained my issues and he promised to esculate see what he could if I text him the details.
14:00 I decided to check up on my case, maybe more info is required, or there is some light. Jonnie connects with me from the business team. I ask could he help with a major problem that is effecting my business. I explain my account is locked since Friday, and that I cannot login to see my messages and I would like to see if there is an update and could he check as I’m waiting to pay staff. They are calling me hourly for an update and I cannot provide. We go through security. So he states there are messages that I don’t have access and will forward them over so I can answer as there are some documents they require. Great does that mean there is an update. He takes about 10 mins and comes back. The same questions as yesterday. I explain I was talking to Tom a manager yesterday and went through all this. Explain that I had provided again as the same as in Jan. He then states I’ve checked the log and there is nothing from yesterday. Ok great so my time spent was a waste. I send him over a log from Friday of my conversation with Tom. I wait for 25mins and “?” the chat to get an update. The response I get is just downright problematic.
“We're still connected Lee. My apologies for taking quite some time but I didn't find any records of previous conversation to be honest with you which I truly apologise. I can personally hand your answer to the team in charge in order to speed this up for you if you care to answer these questions one last time as well as providing me with supporting documentation.
Would that be okay with you?”
My response is yes I’ll send it all over again. He thanks me and I set out explaining the answers.
- The first company I also own and this is a intra company payment and provide the evidence from company’s house.
- The incorrect payment how it went out with the wrong bank details and was returned and provide a screenshot from QuickBooks pull-down of the statement.
- The second company I provide the invoice in relation to the payment, explain why the amounts don’t match as it was a late payment and that they have been a customer of ours from a long term relationship. And explain how the payment was made.
I ask for a time frame again as this is a reasonable request as I have wages to pay. He explains that he cannot provide a time frame as he is not the right team. He recommends I reach out on Monday and he will make sure the team has all the information. He then states he will forward a detailed note so that the inconvenience never happens again. He asks if there is anything else he could do. I just ask if there is a reference I can quote. No, I just have to go through the security process again. He tried to ease my mind saying “I personally handed your answers plus the supporting documentation to the right team and they will continue from where you first left off. Let me thank you for your time and patience with me this far as you were an absolute gentleman! I really appreciated it. Have a great weekend from my side Lee.” Finally, somebody in Revolut that was trying to help.
I check my email and there is a response from somebody called Tom.
Thank you very much for reaching us. There is an ongoing review on your account as for now. I totally understand the importance of the case for you and please be assured that we are doing our best to sort it out as soon as possible. Moreover, the relevant team was informed to prioritize the case.
Please accept my apologies for the unpleasant situation.
Business Customer Support”
So I send a reply..
I have also spoken with a William (Should be Jonnie) on support who asked me to provide documentation again for transactions on the account. This was done and provided. Can you confirm these have been received and submitted to the correct team? Is there any further information required?
Please also understand I have provided the information previously but it was never passed to the correct team.
My biggest issue currently is I have staff wages to pay. So I need an idea of a time to resolve this if possible, please.?
Are we looking on Monday or longer?
20:12 - I received a txt response from the employee who I spoke to earlier to say my case had been escalated.
Sunday 15th I do nothing as it’s the weekend and as I understand it the compliance teams work weekdays only. I do a bit of online research into Revolut and find a bit more around the AML process in Revolut and what happens to people. I find some comments that the compliance team also works 24x7 not sure what to believe.
Sunday 15th 20:20 I check my email, nothing no response, so ping a reply back chasing.
Monday 16th 10:30 I check my email, nothing no response, so ping a reply back chasing again.
Monday 16th 10:35 Connect to support again get connected to Simons in the Business Support Team. The process has changed slightly the first thing I am asked for is to pass security. I ask for an update on my account being locked out and explain that it has been escalated. Get asked for a different answer on one of the questions, strange take a guess and get through. Get the statement that the other team has not come back yet. I explain again the urgency on the case and explain this has been ongoing since Friday. I am told nothing more can be done. I ask to be transferred to a manager. I get transferred to someone to an agent called Can. He asks for 20mins to go through the case. He explains that they are still reviewing my case and are fully aware. This is a little more positive but not there yet. I am told they will contact me as soon as the reviews are complete. I make the following statement
“Can, this is all well and good but under your FCA guidance, you are required not to discriminate and treat customers fairly by providing both timely response and updates to their case none of this is happening. One thing that is prudent is when restricting access to an account you are required by the FCA to provide notice to the account holder. This was not done, your app does not notify you of messages and when you have other team members who administrate the account on a daily basis they are not notified either. The information that you have requested relating to transactions on my account was previously provided twice with an explanation. This was even provided to me as evidence via a link to a document within the chat app showing that I had submitted this in January of this year by another manager that also then took the relevant documentation on Friday to pass on. When I then chased on Sat that information had not been sent forwards to the team so I yet again provided the information.
It is not fair that you are treating a business in this way, you have the right to hold funds that maybe suspect to fraud, but in this case, nothing that I am aware of has been questioned that I have not provided documentation for.
There is also further guidance that has been applied since 11 of march in relation to the current situation with Covid-19. You are failing to see the urgency of the issue and the problem we are faced as a business by your actions. We moved our primary account to Revolut based on review and merit. What this had caused is for you to effectively halt my business on a day to day basis. We have staff to pay, suppliers to pay and contractual payment obligations including one with HMRC to meet. All of which I cannot update or provide any level of response to my staff, or suppliers due to your actions. Due to my primary operational funds sitting within revolut that we have no access to.
At this time, I have no other option but to raise and formal complaint on how we are being treated to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Unless this can be resolved. I am open to options. All funds within my account have fully traceable sources and are from business customers that we provide services or hold contracts with.”
I think I am fair in my statement. And get the response
“We are fully aware of the urgency Lee, as much as this cannot be really explained in words, we truly are aware and being in a position where our hands are tied while having these conversations is not the most pleasant moment as you could imagine - still not even close to matching your situation, to be honest. Our team has left their the message of account lockdown, though you were unable to see due to log-in issues. I can confirm that they *always* provide the relevant notice to users' account inboxes.
As the next point you have made, the explanation of data and timeframe of reviews, the internal procedures are not disclosed even to us, therefore this is not a matter I can personally discuss with anyone without being misleading. When you provide documents and data to our teams, they are required to fully cover them and process all the data according to the procedures they have. This inevitably takes time, and we have to kindly allow them to do their work. As much as we also prefer these processes to be easy and short, the reality is unfortunately far from it.
And the last point you have mentioned, the complaints process. If you would like to make a formal complaint, we are responsible for providing you the initial point of our process. You can file your complaint by completing this form if you have not done so already: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/9599PS9 We will always attempt to resolve the dispute without recourse to proceedings and hopefully, this will enable us to come to an amicable conclusion. Please note that if you wish to escalate your complaint further, it won't be considered until a final response letter has been issued by us. Any other application to legal units, including Financial Ombudsman Service, is definitely among your rights. While this is not the point we would like to end up in, I totally understand the reasons and support your rights for such proceedings.
Still, due to the regulations we have to comply with, our teams are continuing their work and they will inform you without delay once they come to a conclusion Lee. I truly hope to see it as soon as possible, as the current situations are indeed not easy to deal with especially due to COVID-19 precautions. If you have further questions regarding other matters, I am here to provide all possible help. Regarding the reviews though, this is honestly all I could inform you at this point.”
Ok so it seems like I am being advised to raise this. But I’m still not sure you are understanding that I have staff to pay and in light of the current COVID-19 issues you are causing further stress as you are holding all our funds.
I ask for the actual complaint address. And state that I don’t think the FCA guidelines have been applied correctly applied in regards to timeframes around asking for information about payments. I explain that due to submitting my information in Jan that this is the case.
I am then told the issue is my fault as I had not responded to messages sent in Feb regarding additional documents requested hence the lockdown on the 11th of March. Ok yes, I agree I have missed these, but I also have not seen them either, at no time have these popped up in the app on my phone with the only way to see them is in the web app or my email. As a busy small business, the amount of emails I get a day is pretty high, this is easy to miss. The message is not sent to the day to day user and as a business with more than 1 staff member, I personally do not access the account very often.
I am then advised that the primary route should be the link sent for the complaint.
I make some explanations around the responses that I had provided to Tina in the first case.
Can's confirm that the Revolut only advises the account owner of the issue? And provides a link to the chat conversation I had in the past.
At the same time, I was on the phone with the financial ombudsman service helpdesk and they advised me to ask for the process of releasing funds to cover staff wages and contractual payments that are required from funds that you are withholding. As part of the guidelines you are required to have these and we are required to be provided with them on request.
Can’s also replied with “As for the request, Support teams are not authorized to intervene with a locked account cases but our teams surely have their own procedures to proceed with such requests from official institutions. Once they receive the request from formal channels, they will assess the situation on their own terms and do what is required of them.”
I explain I have been told I can request this process as the account is locked on review.
I ask a question about if Can’s could request if there are any other documents the review team require in case they are needed.
I am then advised that in any case when a request is made until all documents are received nothing is passed from customer service to compliance until they are all gathered. So this explains why none of the documents were passed forwards.
I then make the statement “One single message 2 mins before you lock out the account is not fair and really not really just practice. We are busy trying to run our company and what you have done is effectively bring it to its knees.”
It does seem that Revolut is playing on some basic get-out clauses to be overly strict on its AML process without having Empathy for the customer.
I follow with “Yes you do have to be fair, but you are dealing with people's lives here. People (my staff) have bills to pay and food to buy, we also have contractual obligations to make payments on time with our suppliers. I have asked you to provide the process that I can request these payments to be made from the account and your answer was neither a full response or provided an indication of the timeframe involved.”
I get the response again the timeframes are not possible to be provided, but the team. I am informed that due to my account being in the review they could not be impossible to transfer any funds but are aware of the urgency on the account, but unable to comply with my request.
I then ask banks are required to provide a service legally determined as a reasonable time. Can you provide me Revolut's determination of reasonable, please?
The question is dodged with a response of “I have to kindly repeat my previous answer, in this case, Lee, our reviews do not have any specified timeframe as the teams do not share any details with us. The reason being all the reviews are highly individual with vastly varying factors contributing, making it impossible to allocate a certain timeframe. This does not mean that we have the luxury to extend it, as we are fully aware that even the necessary time we take is long enough to have an impact on our users' businesses. Our team is constantly working on the reviews to keep them as short as possible.”
I then state “The problem is in our case you are having a serious impact on our business. I'm not sure that would be classed as fair or reasonable.” Which is the case of us as a small business it is not reasonable that we are refused the ability to pay our staff.
I then explore if the compliance team would be willing to reverse any payments to the account. With comes with the response of “During the reviews, accounts are totally frozen and not available for any intervention, unfortunately. This was also my reason for contact with our team, and they made it clear to me that it was not possible. I wish I had any further influence on the progress indeed, but my hands are tied with the strict internal policies of Revolut.”
At this stage, the app starts having problems. With messages taking a while to deliver.
While waiting for the messages I call the FCA helpdesk and get the following.
Revolut should do what is reasonable and what would be determined in a court of law in the UK as reasonable to a Micro-Enterprise which we are. Now that being said the following applies.
- It is reasonable to expect a timely reply to all questions.
- It is reasonable to provide a response to as questioned when will I receive a response, i.e. what is the time frame.
- It is reasonable to not place a business that is using your services as advertised into a position that would negatively impact them in such a way that would impede them to carry out their contractual and day to day financial requirements.
I do feel at this stage Revolut is failing in all of these. Which brings the response.
“Being a member of the Support team, I am understandably not authorized to make any comments on legal matters as this is entirely beyond my scope. It would be very misleading, to say the least. As you are already in contact with Financial Ombudsman Service and FCA, this is very much certain that our relevant teams who are responsible for various aspects of your case will proceed with your progress according to the consensus reached that consists of all departments, regulations, and laws involved. I am afraid I cannot inform you beyond this point, as I do not have further information myself.”
I then explain that I am yet to raise my formal complaint with Revolut and I am looking to get to an amicable resolution first and make the request that this is resolved in a swift and amicable term. And explain that reason is to not impact our operation any further.
But I’m met with a brick wall of “Personally I also prefer the very same way Lee, this is definitely appreciated. Under current circumstances though, I have made all contacts possible for your requests and all were unfortunately denied by our team. While your requests are logically reasonable and I also agree with them very much, our team has very strict regulations that also obstruct them and this is not subject to change. I am sure you are also aware that the content of my recent messages is more or less the same, I wish they were not, but this is the situation we have. As much as it pains me to say it, we are unable to make any change in the current situation until our team completes their work. This is their final decision, and not subject to change.”
Can does explain that he wishes he could help further and doe offer the comment he hopes that this can be resolved quickly as the situation is not nice.
I explain I will leave it there as my only next option is to raise this as a formal complaint, due to what I and my company deems as unreasonable to place our business in this position. Especially
We finish on pleasantries’. And the conversation finishes at 17:32.
So far this issue has taken 3 days of my time on this one issue alone, completely detracting me from my work and the current other issues that are in the public domain, my business is crippled and I will not be able to make any payments that I am required to make or provide with what seems like zero routes to correct with any level of certainty. My complaint is around the fact of what is a reasonable treatment for my business. The process and practices that Revolut is currently following is just terrible, with zero levels of empathy for us as a business.
For my hope, there is a way to resolve the problems in a swift and amicable way.
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