Simoney Kyriakou  

The unrealistic expectation of good service

Simoney Kyriakou

Simoney Kyriakou

Thameslink, Southern, Northern Rail - these three are so deep in the doghouse they could end up losing their franchise.

For those lucky enough to have missed out on what's been happening - or not - the train companies pledged bright, shiny new timetables to come into force.

Except it has been an omnishambles of elephantine proportions.

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Trains cancelled, trains delayed, missing trains, trains that roll into stations with no information about them, missing drivers, drivers forced to do double shifts, drivers left confused about where they are going... the stock of problems keeps rolling on.

All the while the bosses are watching from the grass sidings and enjoying pay rise after pay rise while the service they deliver is barely equal to that name: service. 

There is some level of compensation for some late or cancelled trains - but it's a mere fraction of what was promised.

No proper apologies, no real sign of improvement months later, no acknowledgement of wrongdoing, no heads rolling, no promises of major recompense for two months' worth of fares for unhappy passengers.

On one (of many) occasions when I complained, I was told: 'This has been a massive operation, what do you expect?'

I expect service. The service I paid for. Something to deliver what it promises.

And now to financial services. Has 'service' also lost its positive meaning and become something people expect, but really shouldn't when it comes to platforms?

Every day I read letters and emails from advisers who have been stymied by the appalling and ongoing problems with providers' platforms. Supposed upgrades and integration roll-outs have turned what should have been a decent service improvement into a nightmare for advisers and clients.

Advisers have cited problems with processing adviser charges, switching funds, setting up income drawdown and facilitating Isa contributions.

Platforms have sent out erroneous alerts indicating huge value drops in client portfolios. Advisers have spent hours on hold to these providers, trying to get an answer.

Advisers have wasted their time - and only a few have, so far, received any form of compensation.

Will the senior managers' regime implementation mean the triumvirate of the Financial Conduct Authority, the Bank of England and the Prudential Regulation Authority start to take action against platform bosses?

After all, the rules in the SMCR state senior managers should take responsibility for creating back-up plans if their systems go down.

So far, I've not seen any crackdown on Paul Pester, chief executive of TSB, following the IT debacle where up to 1.9m people were locked out of their accounts and over a thousand of these were exposed to fraud. 

If regulators are supposed to protect the consumer, but so far have not taken any action, where does this leave the thousands of people using banking and platform services to manage their money?