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'Barclays' currency blunder cost me £1,700'

Jessica Gorst-Williams
The reader was told that they should open a euro bank account following the sale of their French property  - Getty Images Europe

I went to a Barclays branch to ask about a euro account. 

The junior cashier explained it was important to open the euro account otherwise the money from the sale of our property in France would be changed into sterling at the rate on the day.

A week later, I went back to the branch with my wife and saw the senior cashier, who asked for ID for my wife. She said that it would take just one week for the euro account to be opened and we would get details in the post.

Our bank in France sent the money to the UK. We assumed that Barclays would put it in our euro account. Instead, it turned out that the local Barclays bank had never acted on our instruction. This meant the money was put into our sterling account.

The cashier says she vaguely remembers opening the euro account and sent the application to the euro department.  The euro department apparently never received the request, so we were never contacted.

It is clearly Barclays’ fault. However it thinks it can get away with £200 compensation when we have lost a significant sum. 

The money was changed at well below the exchange rate that I would have got from other companies.

VD, Warwickshire

Because of the mix-up, the money went into your Barclays account and was converted into sterling at the day’s buying rate.

Barclays said that its buying rate is calculated by applying a percentage charge to the day’s mid-market rate (or reference rate) corresponding to the value of the currency conversion.  

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In this case you were converting €148,000. Barclays applied a charge of 1.3pc of the day’s mid-market rate.  

Further to my involvement, Barclays reviewed your case. A spokesman said: “We understand that Mr D made the payment into his Barclays account under the impression that it would be received in euros and not converted into sterling. 

“We are refunding £1,699.87 to the customer so that the conversion is processed at the mid-market rate and have credited £200 to his account for the level of service provided.”

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