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'My own bank refused to help me because I'm deaf' says Hucclecote woman

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 25, 2013

frustrated:  Gill Freeman.

Frustrated: Gill Freeman

Comments (14)

SHOCKED Gill Freeman was denied access to her own bank because she is deaf.

The 57-year-old, from Hucclecote, phoned Halifax with the help of her interpreter but was left upset when the operator refused to help her.

Despite being able to answer the security questions, she wasn't allowed to carry out her banking transactions after the worker cited the Data Protection Act.

Even a supervisor wouldn't acknowledge Gill, who is a Gloucestershire County Council support worker for other deaf people.

"I was so frustrated," she said.

"She couldn't understand that as a deaf person, I am perfectly entitled to make a phone call through a registered qualified interpreter."

Jenny Hopkins, chief executive of the Gloucestershire Deaf Association, said: "More and more organisations are moving to a remote style of customer service, through call centres and websites.

"I fear that access for deaf and hard of hearing people is getting worse."

The Information Commission Office says that operators should deal with queries if the security questions can be answered – regardless of it being through an interpreter.

A spokeswoman for Halifax said: "We would like to apologise for any distress and inconvenience that Mrs Freeman has experienced.

"We are looking into the details of her complaint.

"We work hard to understand the challenges faced by our disabled customers and are always looking to find new ways to make their lives easier.

"We are extremely disappointed that Mrs Freeman's experience has not met the high standard of service we aim to provide."

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14 comments

  • MrGarnet  |  March 01 2013, 9:03PM

    tishwashFriday, March 01 2013, 7:11PM "it may have gone wrong this time but if she's that unhappy she could vote with her feet, people are far too quick to complain to papers now adays" You really are a first class ignorant git. Stick some cotton wool in your ears and see how long you get on sunshine. Give you less than an hour.

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  • MrGarnet  |  February 27 2013, 1:16PM

    tishwashTuesday, February 26 2013, 8:24PM "vote with your feet and leave then ?" Not that easy as you can cope well enough on day to day matters with internet etc it when something major needs sorting. Most companies will allow a named person to take details as long as you can come on phone as well. In this instance it went wrong.

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  • tishwash  |  February 26 2013, 8:24PM

    vote with your feet and leave then ?

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  • MrGarnet  |  February 25 2013, 6:58PM

    tishwashMonday, February 25 2013, 5:53PM "run to the papers! why not just talk to your sodding bank and if you don't like it, why not leave?" Not as easy as that. I started to lose my hearing in the army and have struggled on and done reasonably well for myself despite at times an "uphill struggle" You need to understand the issues a disablement like this creates. If the bank had said we cannot deal with you as you are black,brown or any other racial stereotype quite rightly they would be in deep do do! There are ways around it and some organizations are better than others but the majority are idiotic with the problem. I.E. email and tell them you struggle with the phone? Then you get a reply "We are hear to help just phone our "helpline" on 0000000000 etc!! Please have a bit of empathy it could well be you at some stage in your life.

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  • tishwash  |  February 25 2013, 5:53PM

    run to the papers! why not just talk to your sodding bank and if you don't like it, why not leave?

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  • PengiPete  |  February 25 2013, 5:25PM

    ..harrylydney You're barking up the wrong tree. The SECURITY QUESTIONS are not passwords - they are a check used in relation to personal identity to ensure DPA compliance and identity protection. They are not related to not do they provide access to the account itself or the funds in that account. You are thinking of PIN numbers which are used with credit and debit cards - those can not be shared under the standard terms and conditions.

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  • HarryInLydney  |  February 25 2013, 3:06PM

    PengiPete you're wrong. Protection of Data Act will limit what can be given out, however, the key point is you are forbidden to provide passwords to a third party (for reasons hopefully even you can get your head around). So, deaf or sore throat, you cannot get someone else to ring up and access your account. And rightly so, as it is a security measure and stops coercion. This isnt some great corporate scandal, simply the fact that a deaf lady, who has trouble using the phone, is trying to use a phone. Nothing more.

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  • Glawsterman  |  February 25 2013, 1:37PM

    For those of you who can't work out why an interpreter was used, if the lady was born deaf she may not be able to speak properly so her sign language would be interpretated into words. Simple really.

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  • Vertigo23  |  February 25 2013, 12:25PM

    I've got to say while I sympathise with the ladies plight, it is actually a good thing they wont accept password information from just anybody, I was lucky in somebody (somehow, I have no idea how) got hold of my password information, but luckily the halifax recognised something wasn't right and suspended all my accounts - no damage done. Maybe there should be a note on deaf peoples account (you tell the bank when you create the account you are hard of hearing and may speak through an interpreter) to stop this kind of thing happening as it must be incredibly frustrating. To be fair I think the banks are damned if they do, and damned if they dont in this situation

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  • geraint2010  |  February 25 2013, 11:27AM

    Thanks Lecorche, that'll teach me to read things properly rather than just scanning through won't it? The bank should have deaf-savvy staff available for rookie operators to transfer callers too. Meanwhile Mrs Freeman could always use Internet banking or good old fashioned "snail mail". For myself – all that phoning, multiple button pressing, and speaking with robots or some guy in Uttar Pradesh, who doesn't know me from Adam, p*sses me off !

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