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Crazy Dave
8th April 2016, 08:57 AM
I do not really care about what David Cameron's father did or didn't do, Cameron senior is neither alive nor the Prime Minister. However, the release of the Panama Papers did reveal a huge difference in the treatment of clients by avaricious bankers.

Our granddaughter is off on a working 6 month trip to Italy and needed a new account that didn't charge an arm and a leg for foreign purchases and cash withdrawals. So, we went with her to a new bank that seemed to tick the boxes, she was armed with passport, proof of address, etc, etc. Except, a copy of a recent statement from her existing bank, she does everything on-line. So a frantic trip to Nat West and she returned clutching a stamped copy.

Sorry, that won't do, your other ID shows that you live at 36H xxxxxx xxxxxxx and your copy statement shows that you live at 36 xxxxxx xxxxxx. Another frantic trip to Nat West and finally, but finally it was sorted. 'A' has a miniscule overdraft but was treated to the full weight of the Money Laundering regulations. Unlike rich clients who seemingly are actively encouraged to bend the rules and sponge off the rest of us for infrastructure, defence and all the other necessaries of modern life. Unfortunately, there are too few like the bod in charge of the Co-op who has just requested a 0.5 million pay cut because his job just got easier.

There, another gripe over. I blame this forum for agitating me.

David

Wee man
8th April 2016, 10:56 AM
Not surprised my own bank asked me to produce the paperwork for ID when I opened a second account with them! Hope all goes well with the trip away.

Naughty Nigel
8th April 2016, 03:39 PM
I run a small business, and I am well aware of the difficulties of opening accounts and so forth.

I have also received literature from HMRC making it clear that we should not be accepting large amounts of any currency in return for goods or services. This I understand although I do wonder how some of the very large, chrome clad caravans that one sees towed behind flat bed Transit vans are purchased? Presumably their owners can claim ethnic minority status when handing over wads of used bank notes? :rolleyes:

However, there are two things that really puzzle me:

Firstly, we opened a Euro business account with our well known British 'high street bank' a few years ago; primarily to accept payments in Euros from foreign clients, but also to make Euro payments to overseas suppliers without incurring currency charges.

To all intents and purposes this account was invisible. We only received paper statements once per year; we were unable to access the account online; and our local branch couldn't even find the account on their systems, let alone check the balance or accept payments into the account.

Any payments out of the account had to be made via telephone having answered a dozen or so security questions. Indeed, it seemed the only person who know about the account was me, and if I had wanted to hide a few million nobody would have been any the wiser.

I can now access the account online via my desktop, but it is still invisible on my iPad and Android apps, and seems likely to remain so.

How is a high street bank able to operate currency accounts that even the account owners cannot access? :confused:

Secondly, a family member was involved in a commercial fraud in which the fraudsters claimed to be from one of the bank's offices.

The fraudsters were able to call using the bank's telephone number (which showed up in the caller ID system), and persuade their victim that they needed to go through some transactions with them to resolve some actual technical issues that they were having.

How the fraudsters knew this is a mystery, but the end result was that a sum in excess of 1.2 million was debited from the account within an hour in a series of transactions.

The victim quickly realised that something was going seriously wrong, and contacted the bank to have the account frozen before any further funds were withdrawn.

It was abundantly clear that this was a fraud on a fairly large scale. The bank knew exactly where the funds had gone, but were unable to disclose this information or refund the moneys owing to 'Data Protection'. This information was only released when the police obtained a Court Order, by which time the money had long gone.

So, give the difficulty of opening accounts today, how can fraudsters open multiple accounts so easily to dispose of seven figure sums?

And just who is the Data Protection Act protecting? :confused:

Crazy Dave
8th April 2016, 04:56 PM
Nigel, your experience is really strange. I worked in the travel industry and the company needed to pay hoteliers, car hire companies, villa owners in Euros. We had a very active euro account and others currencies like US and Canadian dollars. Everything was visible on-line, statements were sent monthly and I could buy currency spot and forward on-line. I could view our Spanish company's accounts by logging on.

I would describe the company as medium-sized but the facilities offered by RBS were excellent as was their payroll bureau system which cost about 60 a month for 30 or so employees with all the year-end reports. My successor thought that expensive and bought a Sage system for 250. But spent hours getting it wrong and correcting a process that took me an average of an hour a month.

Of course none of the above may be appropriate for your business.

Regards

David

Naughty Nigel
11th April 2016, 09:57 AM
Nigel, your experience is really strange. I worked in the travel industry and the company needed to pay hoteliers, car hire companies, villa owners in Euros. We had a very active euro account and others currencies like US and Canadian dollars. Everything was visible on-line, statements were sent monthly and I could buy currency spot and forward on-line. I could view our Spanish company's accounts by logging on.

I would describe the company as medium-sized but the facilities offered by RBS were excellent as was their payroll bureau system which cost about 60 a month for 30 or so employees with all the year-end reports. My successor thought that expensive and bought a Sage system for 250. But spent hours getting it wrong and correcting a process that took me an average of an hour a month.

Of course none of the above may be appropriate for your business.

Regards

David

Interesting. We bank with Barclays.

Their currency accounts are much better serviced now, but I suspect the supporting systems were not properly developed before the accounts were made available to small and medium sized businesses.

However, on the subject of money laundering and taxes I would be very interested to see the Pitney Bowes organisation investigated.

In addition to supplying franking machines to businesses (another rip off), Pitney Bowes operate a "Global Shipping Programme" through eBay, which is supposed to cover import duties and VAT (but not shipping as such).

As an example, an item sold on eBay for $250 USD (176 GBP) would incur Pitney Bowes 'customs charges' of around $75.00 USD (52.82 GBP).

By contrast, Parcel Force would charge 35.20 GBP VAT and an 8 Clearance Fee (43.20 GBP total) on the same import.

The difference is only 9.60 GBP, which on the face of it is not a lot of money.

However, VAT on imports can be reclaimed by VAT registered businesses, (import duties can not). Pitney Bowes refuse to provide any breakdown of VAT and duties paid, so it is impossible for these to be reclaimed. I have written to Pitney Bowes on several occasions to ask for clarification but have yet to receive any reply. However, on reading the fine print in their T's & C's they state that their "Global Shipping Programme" is not a business service and must not be used for business services; yet eBay routinely sells business equipment using this service.

So, I wonder how the import duties and VAT are accounted for, and how much tax is actually paid to the UK Exchequer? :confused:

pandora
11th April 2016, 01:42 PM
Not surprised my own bank asked me to produce the paperwork for ID when I opened a second account with them! Hope all goes well with the trip away.

Because they saw you have a split personality, Ed. :D

Harold Gough
11th April 2016, 06:13 PM
By contrast, Parcel Force would charge 35.20 GBP VAT and an 8 Clearance Fee (43.20 GBP total) on the same import.

The difference is only 9.60 GBP, which on the face of it is not a lot of money.

Many sellers insist on UPS who charge 15.

Harold

Naughty Nigel
11th April 2016, 07:39 PM
Many sellers insist on UPS who charge 15.

Harold

Agreed; but at least the VAT can be reclaimed, which is certainly not the case with Pitney Bowes.

Furthermore, UPS only charge non-account holders the Customs Clearance Fee as it takes more effort to reclaim it from the addressee.