‘I almost didn’t make it home for my dad’s funeral, and Ulster Bank have offered me £20 compensation’

A LOCAL woman who was left struggling to make her way home after the sudden death of her father while she was on holiday in Egypt this summer during the Ulster Bank crisis has called their compensation plans “disgusting”.

Wednesday, 5th September 2012, 2:58 pm

Joanne Topping said she was left distraught when, on hearing of the unexpected death of her 55-year-old dad Edwin Weir in July, she could not access the money in her Ulster Bank account to make arrangements to get home.

The 33-year-old mother-of-one said she, her husband and their son (8) were all distressed when they couldn’t get home to their family at such a tragic time.

Joanne’s family was one of a number of victims left in the lurch when the bank experienced problems following a software upgrade on June 19.

Ulster Bank was the last of the Royal Bank of Scotland to resolve the issue, leaving thousands of customers angry.

The bank has now said it will give each affected customer a one-off £20 payment, and refund all charges and fees.

They said they will also look at applications to reimburse “reasonable out of pocket expenses”.

Joanne said she wanted to wait to see what compensation was offered before telling her story.

“I think it’s disgusting that they’re offering £20 after what my family has been through,” said Joanne who works as manager of Aldo Shoes in Newry.

“At a time like that we just wanted to be with our family. The whole thing was so distressing.”

Joanne had been paid as normal but could not access the money so the family used the last of the spending money they had after the first week of their holiday.

If it hadn’t been for family and friends organising transport and accommodation they never would have been able to make it home in time for Edwin’s funeral, Joanne said.

“My family and friends were brilliant - they booked flights and accommodation when we had to stay in London on the way home. I couldn’t top up my mobile so we ran up a £200 phone bill calling home to make arrangements.

“We were so lucky to have family and friends that were able to help us out like that, without them we would have been stranded.”

Joanne said her local branch were of little assistance because “they didn’t really know themselves what was going on”.

Now Joanne is keen to get an apology and acknowledgement from Ulster Bank of the situation she and her family were left in.

“A letter of apology would be appreciated,” she said. I think the customers have just been left to deal with it. If I don’t get a good outcome I just might leave the bank altogether.”