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NatWest Customer Charter ad banned by ASA

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

I’ve written about NatWest’s awful customer charter before (here and here).

Those with an exceptional memory might remember Pledge 9, often repeated in their ads:

We pledge to stay open for business if we are the last bank in town and will consider a range of options to ensure a local banking service is available.

You might have interpreted this to mean that they’d keep a branch open if it was the only bank in town. That would clearly have been foolish, as NatWest have now clarified, in response to a complaint about the closure of the Farley branch:

The commitment was to continue providing “banking services” wherever they were the last bank in town … Customers in Farley could still receive a full banking service from the Pudsey branch, just over a mile and a half away.

Yep, hosting a branch in a different town (Pudsey) is considered by NatWest to be providing a “full banking service” in Farley.

The ASA wasn’t impressed by this wriggling, and has promptly banned the ad for being misleading and lacking substantiation.

NatWest’s charter is awful, unstretching claptrap, and yet they can’t even keep to that. I wonder if this debacle will make it into the next “independent review”? Given that the complaint was about an ad based on the charter, rather than the charter itself, I’m confident it will be ignored.

As I always say in these posts: Swtich to Smile. Switch to First Direct. Switch to The Co-op.

Switch to anyone who actually gives a damn about customer service, instead of waiting for change for a bank which clearly doesn’t know how to prioritise customer service, and whose solution to poor customer service appears to commit to more poor customer service.

The more you put up with it, the more these corporate idiots think its acceptable, and the more poor service propagates.

Swtich, switch, switch!

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