Olga Campbell-Thomson is relieved to be back in the money after her bank in Scotland closed her account while she was overseas, leaving her with no access to cash.
The freelance university researcher found herself in the stressful situation when she stopped off in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus last month for a break while on her way back to Glasgow from a posting in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“I had just completed a teaching contract in the UAE and had been transferring my salary and savings to my TSB account in Scotland,” said Olga. “I was shocked to receive an email from the TSB while I was in Northern Cyprus informing me my account had been closed.
“This happened a few days after I had transferred all money from the UAE account to the TSB. I was unable to access any funds. I was unable to purchase a ticket to fly to the UK, or even cover the basics in Cyprus.”
Olga, 58, who is originally from Russia but is married to a Scot, said she started taking jobs abroad after her husband Don, 75, took ill with cancer and had a stroke.
“I am a British national and we had been in Clydebank since 2014 but when Don could no longer work I started taking contracts overseas,” said Olga. “We decided to meet up in Northern Cyprus as I had worked there before and we thought the climate would be good for him.”
The couple rented a room in the town of Lefke but Olga was stunned when she received an email informing her that her bank account had been closed. “When I called the TSB account closure unit in the UK, I was told that they had every right to review my account and to close it as they wished,” said Olga. “I had bills to pay in Scotland and direct debits that wouldn’t be paid. I didn’t know what to do. It was very stressful.”
At the end of her tether, Olga emailed an SOS to Raw Deal from Lefke. We contacted the TSB and the bank moved swiftly to resolve the situation.
The couple now have access to their funds again, which have been transferred in full into Don’s account. The TSB said: “Like any other UK bank, we are required to meet stringent regulatory requirements about the identity of our customers – and this may necessitate re-confirming details with them.
“We made every attempt to contact the customer in question, before finally sending a cheque to their last known address with the balance of the account.
“When the customer later contacted us, it became clear they had not updated their address – either in-branch or online – after another move. We acted promptly to ensure the funds reached them as soon as the relevant information was provided.”
Olga thanked Raw Deal for helping resolve the situation. The couple plan to stay on in Cyprus while Olga works on a book. She said: “I can now go back to my original intention – to use my three-month stay in green, Covid-free Lefke as a research retreat.
“And then, when quarantine regulations and lockdown restrictions are eased in Scotland, my husband and I can return.”
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