Posts Tagged ‘letters’

Why won’t HSBC fix their website?

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 | Tech

HSBC have had a number of what I would consider problems with their websites for the many years that I have banked with them. A few years ago I submitted an online feedback form, but nothing changed, so last month I wrote them a letter (as you do when you get to my age).

It would be nice if they could find the time to fix these issues. They recently had time to issue me a new, more complicated, security device and add an annoying pop-up trying to get me to install their Rapport malware for example. However, they have not had time to make their passwords case sensitive.

I really don’t know how these issues arise in the first place though. As I told them in my letter.

4 June 2014


To Whom It May Concern:

I have been unable to locate a postal or email address for your internet banking service, so I have resorted to writing to the branch and hope that you will be able to pass it on to the relevant parties.

Over the past few years I have consistently run into a problem with your internet banking for my personal account.

When I go to “make a payment” I have the option of selecting “pay a bill or organisation” or “pay family, friends or other”.

I need to make a payment to HMRC, to which I am given the account number and sort code. But when I go to “family, friends or other” and try and enter the account details it says the payee already exists and that I must use “pay a bill or organisation”.

When I go to “pay a bill or organisation” I then have to select HMRC and then select one of their tax offices. But I have no idea which office I am supposed to pay. All I have is that the account name is HMRC and then I have the sort code and account number.

I do not for the life of me understand why you will not let me make a payment in the usual way using the sort code and account number.

However, even if we overlook that, how you expect anyone else to translate nonsense phrases likes “HMRC NIC DEF PYT”. I don’t know what that is! How is anybody supposed to know?

I have included a printed-out screenshot of the bewildering screen.

I think at very least you should list the sort code and account number next to each entry, and use descriptive names for them, so that we can check we are paying the right account. Better still, just allow people to make payments using the sort code and account number like you would reasonably expect to be able to do at any bank.


Another piece of feedback I think is important is regarding your business internet banking. When you go to make a payment on there, you are able to go to “new payee” and enter the account details.

However the sort code is only 4 characters wide and the account number box is only 6 characters wide.

As you know, sort codes are 6 characters long and account numbers are 8 characters long.

This means that it is very difficult to check you have entered the correct account number and sort code because they do not fit in the box at the same time. I have enclosed a printed-out screenshot with this letter to demonstrate the problem.

As a software consultant, I have literally no idea how this situation could arise. Surely, if even the most basic testing can been carried out on your website, someone would have spotted that this was a significant design defect.

I would suggest that the boxes are extended so that you are actually able to see both the sort code and account number.

Yours faithfully,
Chris Worfolk

I received a letter back from them saying they had passed my feedback on. The issues still seem to be on their website though, as shown by this screenshot:


Clearly there is not enough space in those boxes to enter the account number and sort-code and be able to see the full number to check you have entered in correctly. I would not even dare pass that code to a tester; Chris K would be appalled.

If I ever get the time I am going to write a browser plugin to fix these issues myself.

Letters you do not expect to have to write

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 | Life

Last month I received a set of bank statements for a bank I have never been a customer of.

9 June 2014

Dear Lloyds Bank:

Please find enclosed some documents that you recently sent me out of the blue. I am not sure why these documents were sent to be as I am not, nor have I ever been, a Lloyds Bank customer. I used to have a Lloyds TSB account, but I closed that down several years ago.

Yours faithfully,
Chris Worfolk

A month later and I have heard nothing back. So I sent them another letter.

14 July 2014


To Whom It May Concern:

Following on from my letter sent to you on 9 June 2014, I enclose further documents you have sent to me. I once again remind you that I am not a customer of Lloyds Bank. If you continue to hold my personal details without my consent, or continue to send me unsolicited mail, I will file a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Yours faithfully,
Chris Worfolk

After they they called me and said they were sorting out and would be sending me £30 compensation.

Switch Media Ltd

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013 | Thoughts

Having recently established my publishing company, a letter arrived from a company called Switch Media. I assume they monitor all company registrations and send letters out based on that, because I haven’t had any dealings with them before.

To my mind, it’s tone is rather fraudulent though. It begins…

Dear Chris Worfolk – Welcome to Switch and Congratulations!

Welcome to Switch? I haven’t joined Switch. I don’t even know who they are. But it goes on…

We are pleased to inform you that your Company registration number as issued by the Registrar of Companies is:

I think this reads like they’re trying to fraudulently pass themselves off as an official body that you have registered your company with. In reality, they’re a web hosting company trying to flog you some website package.

Complaint to

Thursday, September 30th, 2010 | Life

I’ve turned into some kind of angry letter-obsessed old man! But to be fair I write these up pretty quickly and don’t bother checking them (there are several purposeful spelling and grammar errors in this – see if you can spot them).

But anyway, there was an advert on ITV1 tonight for which claimed the internet was the most important invention of the 21st century. I know, I know, it hurts on the inside. So I wrote to them about it.

To Whom It May Concern:

I have just been watching ITV1 (it is currently just before 8PM on Thursday 30 September) when I saw an advert for your website.

On the advert, the voice over woman described the internet as “the most important invention of the 21st century.”

As I am sure you will be aware, the internet was in fact not invented in the 21st century. Indeed, it was invented well before the 21st century with its foundations lying as long ago as the 1960’s.

Indeed not only does the internet date back this far but it’s wide spread adoption really occurred in the 1990’s and by the time we reached the end of 2000 the Dot-com bubble had already come and gone.

I therefore believe the claim made on the advert was erroneous.

While you could make the claim that although the internet was invented before the 21st century it is still the most important invention of the 21st century, I do not believe this makes any more sense because if you are opening it up to any invention ever then surely there are more important inventions that proceed the internet – for example the invention of computers to run the internet on, electricity to run the computers on or even the agricultural revolution which first gave us a surplus of time to expand beyond mere hunter gathers. Or going the other way, why not the world wide web which is arguably the real revolution that the internet has enabled?

I believe this kind of erroneous information is a problem for two reasons.
Firstly, it does not fill me with confidence in as I believe it looks unprofessional. Particularly a site yours, which holds large amounts of my personal data.

Secondly, I believe it could lead to a wide spead misunderstanding of history by the general population on a topic which, as your advert points out, is incredibly important.

Thank you for your time.

Best wishes,

I decided against making a pun on the idea that they may have been confused. Oh well.